Dangerous Compassions


This bees poem on my fridge has pleased me for such a long time.  By my poet friend Amanda Laughtland.

bees poem

I’ve read it a hundred times.  Some bees were hanging out a lot, by the spigot, in the cat courtyard.  It was hard for Ming to turn on the water to use the hose.  Not quite despair, but struggle.

I like bees.  I was thinking their sting is like the thorn of a rose.  Or community–the people you choose to be close to can hurt you the most.  Like family–it’s supposed to be safe to grow.  But that’s the most dangerous place for kids, right?  Home.

Sometimes I feel like giving up–when my friends with the biggest hearts are most under-cared for, under supported, overworked, and vulnerable.  Weird how we made a culture where a lot of the time, you can only get help if you’re about to die.  Or the rent assistance that only kicks in if you’re evicted.  Having to prove so much, for a piddly social security income.

We can do better!  We can do better!!!!  Let’s do it.


Yeah, that’s on my mind this morning.  Yesterday I wrote a “please dismiss my friend’s charges” letter.  It’s sad how this is supposed to be justice–my friend had a mental health crisis, did some unwanted behaviors, and the person who initially was seeking punishment doesn’t even want charges pressed anymore.

Who is justice being served for?  The systems that failed my friend should be strengthened.  My friend should not be punished, that they didn’t get any help when they most needed it.  The cause and effect is all wrong.  If we look at why my friend did the unwanted behaviors, it’s not like they thought the behaviors would be fun.  They felt cornered.  I know about that despair–I’ve been there, unfortunately.

The punishment side to intentionally harm someone–that’s just weird.  Harm for harm.  Yuck.  I would much rather work on the strengthening side, to increase support, financial stability, material resources, emotional resources.


I was crying because we stopped by a friend’s place to drop off some magnesium glycinate, spicy eggplant, chips, zines, old jewelry I thought I already gave her a year ago.  Where she lives, some people rent campsites and live in tents.  But it was 108F degrees outside.  That’s 42.2C.  So these old men were sitting in camping chairs, in tree shade, suffering like dogs.  One step from homeless.

My heart broke for Las Vegas homeless people, and despair for these nearly homeless old guys.  I wanted to give them cold water, hunks of ice, slurpees, delicious cold salads.  What would I yell out the car window?  “Can I get you anything?”

Of course, I could get them a functional culture where their needs are met.  What do they need?  Maybe they’d say a million dollars.  A loving partner, family who cares, a mansion with central air, a less disabled body.  What they really need is their needs met.  Needs met back through time, to the day they were born.  Or before they were born, so their mom was supported through her pregnancy.  Or the mom supported from the day she was born, to grow up to be a happy, kind person who could parent them skillfully.

I’m sorry culture failed you.  It’s illegal to keep dogs out in this heat.  But a human in this heat, why is that not an emergency?  These are not livable conditions for a dog.

This is our world.  We made it–we can make a different one.  I’m trying, but it’s hard work.

failed systems

I hear armchair assness, wry pithy commentary on how what I do with radical mental health or feeding people or peace work doesn’t matter.  Or I hear good wishes with no action.  Some money donations to orgs that may or may not help.

I see people who can, plugging into failed systems to be a cog and get some income.  Cops, psychiatrists, test site workers, military people, Rapid Response people who destroy encampments and throw away the possessions of those who have almost nothing.  They shake each other’s hands, that they’re helping.  But making money off the suffering of people whose needs weren’t met, doing violence of asserting your vision on people who don’t fit into that vision–not sure that’s helping.

The fireworks boom outside, but the cicadas haven’t started yet.  I think they start around the fourth of July.  Maybe tomorrow.  Thanks for hearing my complaints.  Let me tell you some gratitude.

what I’m grateful for right now
  1. When I turned on the water at the sink, water came out.  Much better than air, skittles, tic-tacs, or poison.
  2. I have a lot of ideas of art I want to make, zines I’m in the middle of.  Postal mail to send friends, in various states of completion.  Sometimes being scattered can be hard, but I’m grateful that the desire to create is very strong in me.  Not everyone feels that.
  3. I struggle with health stuff, but most of my problems are small or medium.  We’ve worked really hard to increase my health as possible.  I’m grateful for Ming’s help.
  4. A friend who read the postcard post of yesterday said that Ming and I walk around our neighborhood in a state of wonder.  I never thought of it that way.  I’m grateful that he pointed that out to me, so I can be happy Ming and I are doing well.  Praise Mother God for wonder.
  5. Two letters I sent to a friend in prison were returned because he’s out.  The handwriting on the envelopes saying “not here!  OUT!” shows me sweet happiness.
thank you

Thank you for hearing my voice, peeping in the desert, persistent peeps to my peeps.  Even in despair, I love you.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

7 replies on “despair”

Despair is understandable, and the only logical outlook on western civilization, but please never give up. I’ve only just discovered your blog, and I’m sending socially-distanced hugs for both of you.

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