When Minds and Hearts Bare Teeth Together… Freedom Speaks

I chose to write about Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy”, narrated by Neil Gaiman, on a desperate whim. I saw that my friend Debra, She Who Seeks, had joined Speakeasy and Silver Screenings in their O Canada! Blogathon, and I decided to jump in too. North America is being torn apart from the inside… connecting with my Canadian neighbors, in any sort of celebration, felt right.

My first pick was Lullabies for Little Criminals, by Heather O’Neill, then I realized that the event celebrates films… not books. Bursting with embarrassment—I’m always complaining about how people never truly read on the web—I rushed to choose something else before anyone could get blinded by the horror flashing out of my blush.

I said to me, “Well, Magaly Love (yes, I call myself Love), you adore Neil Gaiman’s narration, Amanda Palmer is a piano goddess, your bones believe in democracy, and since you know very little about Leonard Cohen (shame on me) here is your opportunity to learn.”

I felt so clever, so proud of myself for having chosen “Democracy”. But right now, when I’m in tears and brokenhearted (after having watched a Mexican-born American reporter being told “Get out of my country” by another American, after learning that one of my friends might not be able to get back into the only home he has left, after listening to Leonard Cohen sing:

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate

I don’t feel very clever, just hurt and upset. Then I watched the short-animated film again, and welcomed the words of a Canadian soul—through the voice, music, painting, animation… of men and women from around the world. I let the bleeding cracks be soothed by Cohen’s words:

Democracy is coming to the USA
It’s coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin’

It’s coming through a crack in the wall

I can’t really tell you if (or how) Cohen’s words, his song turned film… shaped (or will shape) cinema and TV. But… today, the promise in his vision kept one soul from losing its shape. It reminded me that when minds and hearts bare teeth together… freedom speaks. It even sings.

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a wee note…

– This post is part of the O Canada! Blogathon 2017 hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy. Follow the link to see what everyone else is viewing. And speak freely.

borrowed from Neil Gaiman’s Journal

Cold Bones

Of the old-timers I visited once a month, Dulcie Marie was one of my favorites. There was something life giving that spread over her face every time her wrinkles stretched and brightened, to remind the world that a girl would forever live in her soul. The thought of her smile curved my lips. I was grinning like a lunatic when my feet crunched across her winter-kissed yard. I took off one glove, and knocked on the doorframe.

“Jack Frost has been having a royal blast on the glass of your front door,” I said, when Dulcie Marie invited me in. “Is your boiler working properly?”

“The heater’s fine,” she said, “just keeping it low. Last month’s power bill nearly killed me.”

“Your old bones can’t take this cold, Dulcie Marie. And I bet your lungs aren’t happy either.”

“Nonsense,” she said, “my bones are old, but my will is stubborn.”

I grabbed a small notepad and a pen out of my coat packet.

“Stop your scribbling,” she told me. “I don’t need that woman visiting more than she has to.”

“If your electric bill is too high,” I said, walking towards Dulcie Marie’s kitchen to make some tea, “that woman might be able to find a way to lower it.”

“Not without asking what color skivvies I wore last month first.” She had followed me to the kitchen, and was glaring at me. “Why can’t you be my social worker anymore?”

I sighed. “You know I’m too sick to do the work. Besides, if you were my client, we wouldn’t be allowed to spend entire afternoons trying to figure out if the truth is truly out there.”

When my attempt at X-Files humor didn’t lighten the mood, I started the kettle and walked back to the living room. “Want to restart the last episode?” I shouted at Dulcie Marie, who had remained in the kitchen. “We only watched fifteen minutes of the…” My voice trailed off. I had noticed the remote control sitting on top of the radiator. I picked it up. It was cold, so very cold. “Dulcie?”

She walked into the living room, leaning heavily on her walking stick. “I need to save my pennies. Times will get hard when they do away with Social Security.”

Her eyes got shiny, and my heart broke a little.

“Change that face,” she said. “The heat’s on at night. That’s enough.”

“It’s not enough,” I said.

“If that reckless man gets his way, then it will have to be. I might as well be ready for it.”

The kettle hissed. I walked back to the kitchen, teeth clenched, anger spilling out of my eyes.

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the wee notes…
– I borrowed the phrase “My bones are old, but my will is stubborn” from Lorianna Feenstra. The story was inspired by an old, old, old… (wonderfully bullheaded) friend.
– Skivvies: Marine Corps lingo for underwear.
– Linked to The Twiglet #5 (“a cold radiator”).

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