Smile My Heart,Smile~Louise c. Fryer

Smile My Heart Smile ©2012 Louise c. Fryer















Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Times of Peace ~Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip

Khan Yunis Refugee settlement destruction Zoriah

© zoriah/www.zoriah.com The owner holds all original copyright and licenses. Republishing rights for bloggers only, companies, organizations, NGO's and similar must first obtain permission before republishing. Contact www.zoriah.com/contact for more information or email info at zoriah dot com.

Damage from attacks on a Palestinian neighborhood in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip in March, 2006

At the moment, with journalists trapped in Israel and not able to enter the Gaza Strip to report, I will focus my attention on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. If people have contrary views to mine and believe different sides of these issues need to be covered, I encourage you to get out there and do it. My assumptions were affirmed by friends living in Gaza that the situation there is quite desperate. My focus continues to be the human side of conflict and not the political side and I hope the images I am posting from Gaza will show how bad the situation is there even during "times of peace." I also encourage comments and will pay special attention to those posted by people who have lived both in Gaza and in Israel and understand both sides of this situation in reality and not just in theory. ~Zoriah

Kindness
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness
.

~Excerpt Naomi Shihab Nye.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Marred, Lovely and Flawed

181683_153469208042026_100001368441584_283117_7258642_n©2011 Istvan Kerekes

Autumn Quince

How sad they are,
the promises we never return to.
They stay in our mouths,
roughen the tongue, lead lives of their own.
Houses built and unwittingly lived in;
a succession of milk bottles brought to the door
every morning and taken inside.

And which one is real?
The music in the composer's ear
or the lapsed piece the orchestra plays?
The world is a blurred version of itself --
marred, lovely, and flawed.
It is enough.

~ Jane Hirshfield ~

(Of Gravity & Angels)

Linked to A Virgin A Day on Recuerda mi Corazon

About the Photographer

Istvan Kerekes

In His Own Words

I have been a photographer since 2007. My favourite subject is The Man. I would like to show the souls behind the faces. Everyone has feelings, everybody loves and breathes. My subjects are usually ordinary people. My main aim is to show their personalities through my images. One of William Albert Allard’s thoughts on photos and photography is just like mine, I truly believe in it: “the good portrait is about the eye, the look, since the human soul is reflected in it the most purely.”When taking photos it is my heart that leads me. After I have tuned to the subject I act instinctively.

~Istvan Kerekes

Istvan’s website: http://www.kerekesistvan.hu/

*Copyrighted images are posted with kind permission of the photographer.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prayer in My Boot ~ Robert Larson Images



Prayer in my Boot
By Naomi Shihab Nye
For the wind no one expected
For the boy who does not know the answer
For the graceful handle I found in a field
attached to nothing
pray it is universally applicable
For our tracks which disappear
the moment we leave them
For the face peering through the cafe window
as we sip our soup
For cheerful American classrooms sparkling
with crisp colored alphabets
happy cat posters
the cage of the guinea pig
the dog with division flying out of his tail
and the classrooms of our cousins
on the other side of the earth

how solemn they are
how gray or green or plain
how there is nothing dangling
nothing striped or polka-dotted or cheery
no self-portraits or visions of cupids
and in these rooms the students raise their hands
and learn the stories of the world
For library books in alphabetical order
and family businesses that failed
and the house with the boarded windows

and the gap in the middle of a sentence
and the envelope we keep mailing ourselves
For every hopeful morning given and given,
and every future rough edge
and every afternoon
turning over in its sleep
~Naomi Shihab Nye

About The Photographer:
A Journey To Haiti
“When I walk, I walk”~Jeanmary Michel
In January of 2010, I met a 27-year-old man in Port-au-Prince named Jeanmary Michel. We were strangers walking down the street together. It had been a difficult trip, and up to that point the reaction that most strangers had to my presence was hostile. This man simply looked at me, smiled and said “Whatsup?” He then continued on his way as if he had no desire to receive a greeting in return. I said hello, and asked where he was going. He said, “When I walk, I walk”.
I had traveled to Haiti in the days after the earthquake to photograph a historic moment for the world. I was in over my head. This stranger sensed my frustration and offered to show me whatever I’d like to see and to make sure I was safe. I agreed, and we spent the next 5 hours walking through the city on foot or riding in the back of taxis. I experienced more with him in 5 hours than I had in the last three days. We agreed to meet up the next morning and do it all over again.
We stayed in touch after I returned home to Los Angeles. In February of 2011, I received a grant from the Gilhousen Family Foundation to travel back to Haiti for two weeks and continue my photography project. This project had now been named Waiting for Haiti. I called Jeanmary, and we made arrangements for me to stay with him at his house so that I could experience the day-to-day life of a Haitian family. We emailed back and forth; composing a list of places that I would like to photograph, and he made a list of things he wanted me to see to better understand his country. Over the course of that last trip, Jeanmary and I became best friends. We had opposite backgrounds and perspectives, and we saw Haiti through each other’s eyes.
The more I learned about Haiti and the stronger our friendship grew, the more clear it became that these pictures meant a lot to both of us. One place that we repeatedly visited was the morgue at the General Hospital, in Port-au-Prince. Seeing the same decomposing bodies in the same place year after year and how they are carelessly stacked and slowly putrefying in the inefficient freezers; we felt deeply compelled to understand why the country functions the way it does. Jeanmary bought a notebook and began asking questions of his fellow Haitians, starting with the staff at the morgue. There were many places I could not go without him as a guide and translator. At the same time, having a foreigner by his side and a new sense of confidence opened doors for him that have always remained shut to the general Haitian population. We collected as many images and notes as we could in the short amount of time that we had.
In 2012 I will return to Port-au-Prince with the resources to help Jeanmary and myself share our story, his story, and Haiti’s story. Together with a talented and passionate production team, we will film Haiti in the way that it is. We will show the reality of a beautiful and mysterious country that has been left by the wayside. Through Jeanmary’s eyes, the film will show what a large natural disaster and subsequent flooding of foreign aid money really mean to an undeveloped and highly corrupt country. Haiti has a complicated story; its history is full of mistakes that many promise to never repeat. This project is an ongoing study of the country's future through the life of a man who calls it home.
Robert’s Website for this Project: Waiting for Haiti
Robert’s Other websiterobertlarsonphotography

All Photographs in this post are ©2011 Robert Larson All Rights Reserved. They were posted here with the permission of the Photographer. Thank you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yet They Behold The World


x_GUR4627-04Simenfalva © 2011 Istvan Kerekes

My heart is so small
it's almost invisible.
How can You place
such big sorrows in it?
"Look," He answered,
"your eyes are even smaller,
yet they behold the world."
~ Rumi ~
 
About the Photographer
In His Own Words
I have been a photographer since 2007. My favourite subject is The Man. I would like to show the souls behind the faces. Everyone has feelings, everybody loves and breathes. My subjects are usually ordinary people. My main aim is to show their personalities through my images. One of William Albert Allard’s thoughts on photos and photography is just like mine, I truly believe in it: “the good portrait is about the eye, the look, since the human soul is reflected in it the most purely.”When taking photos it is my heart that leads me. After I have tuned to the subject I act instinctively.
Istvan’s website: http://www.kerekesistvan.hu/
*Copyrighted images are posted with kind permission of the photographer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Narcissus

6402520029_554990c15f_b
 St. Louis, Mo. Series ©2011 Thomas Hawk
"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else."—Georgia O'Keeffe

Narcissus – Poem by Jane Hirschfield


NARCISSUS:  Tel Aviv, Baghdad, San Francisco; February 1991
by Jane Hirschfield
And then the precise
opening everywhere of the flowers,
which live after all in their own time.
It seemed they were oblivious but they were not,
they included it all, the nameless explosions
and the oil fires in every cell, the white petals
like mirrors opening in a slow-motion coming-apart
and the stems, the stems rising like green-flaring missiles
like smoke, like the small sounds shaken
from those who were beaten—like dust from a carpet—
into the wind and the spring-scented rain.
They opened because it was time and they had no choice,
as the children were born in that time and that place
and became what they would without choice, or  with only
a little choice, perhaps, for the lucky, the foolish or brave.
But precise and in fact wholly peaceful the flowers opened,
and precise and peaceful the earth: opened because it was asked.
Again and again it was asked and earth opened—
flowered and fell—because what was falling had asked
and could not be refused, as the seabirds that ask the green surface
to open are not refused but are instantly welcomed,
that they may enter and eat—
As soon refuse, battered and soaking , the dark mahogany rain.
—Jane Hirschfield From  THE OCTOBER PALACE
Historical Context of Poem:  BBC On This Day
About the Photographer
Photo by Karen Hutton
Introduction
Sometimes I like to think of myself as a photography factory. I see my photographs mostly as raw material for projects that might be worked on at some point later on in life.
When I'm not taking or processing the pictures I'm mostly thinking about the pictures. I'm trying to publish a library of 1,000,000 finished, processed photographs before I die.
The absurdity of my obsessive compulsive view on photography is not lost on me. But it is the absurdity of life that I find most beautiful of all. Where Sisyphus had his stone I have my camera and a bag full of lenses.
Document, explore, lather, rinse, repeat. Photography for me then becomes a kind of hyperactivity, loosely arranged and presented. My work is less about individual images and instead more about the power of a massive amount of excessive and disjointed images where stories, characters and places sometimes stay and other times reappear or disappear entirely for no good reason at all.
Most of my images are Creative Commons licensed, non commercial with attribution.  If you'd like to use any CC licensed images for non commercial or personal purposes feel free.  If you'd like to use any of my images commercially, please contact me.
"Don't think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they're deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Your Life Bends Down and Kisses Your Life

Cream

Cream ~ St. Louis MO © 2011 Thomas Hawk Some Rights Reserved

It Was Like This: You Were Happy

It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seems you were silent -- what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness --
between you, there is nothing to forgive --
but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is now a thing only for others.

It doesn't matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

~ Jane Hirshfield ~

(After)

 

About the Photographer

Photo by Karen Hutton

Thomas Hawk

Introduction

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a photography factory. I see my photographs mostly as raw material for projects that might be worked on at some point later on in life.

When I'm not taking or processing the pictures I'm mostly thinking about the pictures. I'm trying to publish a library of 1,000,000 finished, processed photographs before I die.

The absurdity of my obsessive compulsive view on photography is not lost on me. But it is the absurdity of life that I find most beautiful of all. Where Sisyphus had his stone I have my camera and a bag full of lenses.

Document, explore, lather, rinse, repeat. Photography for me then becomes a kind of hyperactivity, loosely arranged and presented. My work is less about individual images and instead more about the power of a massive amount of excessive and disjointed images where stories, characters and places sometimes stay and other times reappear or disappear entirely for no good reason at all.

Most of my images are Creative Commons licensed, non commercial with attribution.  If you'd like to use any CC licensed images for non commercial or personal purposes feel free.  If you'd like to use any of my images commercially, please contact me.

"Don't think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they're deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

All the WineSomeone Saved My Life Tonight ©2011 Thomas Hawk (some rights reserved)

 

Sweet Freedom Whispered in My Ear

You’re a Butterfly

and Butterflies are Free to Fly

Fly Away, High Away, Bye Bye

Elton John; Bernie Taupin (excerpt)

~~~

About the Photographer

Photo by Karen Hutton

Thomas Hawk

Introduction

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a photography factory. I see my photographs mostly as raw material for projects that might be worked on at some point later on in life.

We all have but a short time on this earth. As slow as time can be it is also fast, swift, furious and mighty and then it’s over. Jack Kerouac is dead. Andy Warhol is dead. Garry Winogrand is dead. Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore and William Eggleston are not dead yet, but probably will be at some point. Charles Bukowski once said that endurance was more important than truth. Charles Bukowski's now dead.

When I'm not taking or processing the pictures I'm mostly thinking about the pictures. I'm trying to publish a library of 1,000,000 finished, processed photographs before I die.

The absurdity of my obsessive compulsive view on photography is not lost on me. But it is the absurdity of life that I find most beautiful of all. Where Sisyphus had his stone I have my camera and a bag full of lenses.

Document, explore, lather, rinse, repeat. Photography for me then becomes a kind of hyperactivity, loosely arranged and presented. My work is less about individual images and instead more about the power of a massive amount of excessive and disjointed images where stories, characters and places sometimes stay and other times reappear or disappear entirely for no good reason at all.

Most of my images are Creative Commons licensed, non commercial with attribution.  If you'd like to use any CC licensed images for non commercial or personal purposes feel free.  If you'd like to use any of my images commercially, please contact me.

Pinned to Jack Kerouac's wall to inspire his writing:  "Art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of this life." -Nietzsche

"Don't think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they're deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nurture

lollypopLollipop Shopper ~ Chinatown NYC ©2011 Blindman Shooting

Nurture

From a documentary on marsupials I learn

that a pillowcase makes a fine

substitute pouch for an orphaned kangaroo.

I am drawn to such dramas of animal rescue.

They are warm in the throat. I suffer, the critic proclaims,

from an overabundance of maternal genes.

Bring me your fallen fledgling, your bummer lamb,

lead the abused, the starvelings, into my barn.

Advise the hunted deer to leap into my corn.

And had there been a wild child—

filthy and fierce as a ferret, he is called

in one nineteenth-century account—

a wild child to love, it is safe to assume,

given my fireside inked with paw prints,

there would have been room.

Think of the language we two, same and not-same,

might have constructed from sign,

scratch, grimace, grunt, vowel:

Laughter our first noun, and our long verb, howl.

~© 1989 by Maxine Kumin, “Nurture” from Selected Poems 1960-1990.

 


About the Photographer:

Blindman shooting
I have come to realize that my art has diversity with powerful individual vision, that chronicles the life of individuals. People draw me into their lives to tell their story to anyone willing to listen and validate their reason for living. My attraction to story telling grew as my life developed behind a camera. I discovered that its not how a photographer looks at the world that is important, its their relationship with their fellow human beings and these moments of connectivity that are frozen in time for all to see.
last thought for the photographer, "Whatever you look to see outside, is waiting inside you".

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Way In ~ (Prayer For Amy)

cry out kerekesNyari Husito 1 © 2011 Istvan Kerekes

The Way In

Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body.
Sometimes the way in is a song.
But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding,
and beauty.
To enter stone, be water.
To rise through hard earth, be plant
desiring sunlight, believing in water.
To enter fire, be dry.
To enter life, be food.
~ Linda Hogan ~
(Rounding the Human Corners)

Linked to Postcards from Paradise at Rebecca’s Blog 

About the Photographer

Istvan Kerekes

In His Own Words

I have been a photographer since 2007. My favourite subject is The Man. I would like to show the souls behind the faces. Everyone has feelings, everybody loves and breathes. My subjects are usually ordinary people. My main aim is to show their personalities through my images. One of William Albert Allard’s thoughts on photos and photography is just like mine, I truly believe in it: “the good portrait is about the eye, the look, since the human soul is reflected in it the most purely.”When taking photos it is my heart that leads me. After I have tuned to the subject I act instinctively.

~Istvan Kerekes

Istvan’s website: http://www.kerekesistvan.hu/

*image posted with kind permission of Istvan Kerekes

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hands of Love

 

DSC_0158-01Osszetartozunk 2 ©2011 Istvan Kerekes

Hands are Here

to Reach Out in Love

DSC_0156-02Osszetartozunk 1 ©2011 Istvan Kerekes

To Take Hold ,

in Constant Friendship,

When Support is Needed

Friendship KerekesKep ©2011 Istvan Kerekes

To Faithfully Stand By and Wait,

Cherishing Each Moment,

Quietly Listening

Kerekes57Vigyazok Rad ©2011 Istvan Kerekes

To Remember

The Many Times

When They were Held

in Love and Protection

ImaIma © 2011 Istvan Kerekes

To Pray

to the One Who is Love and Compassion

Who Knows How Deeply All Our Hearts Need Healing

We Offer All that We Have

and All that We Are in Peace

for Our Friend Joe Spado (Spadoman).

Dove Kerekes©2011 Istvan Kerekes

And Carry Our Love To Him

On the Bright Wings of Hope

and Faithful Friendship.

 

~~

Linked to Recuerda Mi Corazon Circle of Love for Spadoman.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Transcendence

IMG_6704E1-2She Dreams In Color © 2011 Kelli Seeger

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body
 I would break
Into blossom.
~ James Wright ~

from “ A Blessing”

~~~

About The Photographer

Kelli Seeger Kim

Kelli loves working on her photography and has come to appreciate the time and hard work that goes into making a beautiful image. In her spare time she loves a good science fiction novel or a great film.

Kelli has two beautiful boys, who are featured in some of her images and a huge crush on her very sweet husband. More of Her Phenomenal images can be found on G+. All images in this post are the copyrighted property of Kelli Seeger Kim. They were posted here with her kind permission. Thank you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Broken Cord

image2011©Blindman Shooting

Remember

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
Remember.
~ Joy Harjo ~(from How we Become Human)

 

A Fight For Her Grandchildren Mirrors A Native Past

by NATHAN ROTT

October 25, 2011

Suzanne Crow, 58, has made and received a lot of bad telephone calls in her life, including the time she told her family that her 3-year-old son had died in a hospital because there wasn't a doctor on duty to care for him. Life in South Dakota as a displaced member of the Lakota and Dakota Sioux tribes can be tougher than most.

"It's affecting the tribes in more ways than just them being gone. It's affecting the genetic memory. Maybe those are our chiefs coming up and they're gone," she tells Michel during the interview.

But the phone call she received on a sunny May day in 2007, Crow says, is still one of the worst. A distant relative had just driven by her home in Sioux Falls, and Crow says what she heard instantly connected her past to her present, bringing the next several years of her life to a near stop.

"The cops are at Lena's house," Crow said the relative told her. "I think they're taking your grandchildren."

Brianna was 6-years-old. Her younger brother was 5.

Their mother had left a cousin in charge, but Lena was late coming home. Their father, who was an illegal immigrant, was caught and deported years earlier. So when police found the children in the front yard after their cousin left, there was nobody to take care of them.

The children, however, had a plan for situations like this. If they were ever left alone or if someone was drinking at home, they were always instructed to go across the street, to their grandma's. If she wasn't there, the back door would be left unlocked.

But on that May day, Crow wasn't home and the back door was bolted shut.

A Disproportionate Population

In South Dakota, where American Indians make up less than 15 percent of the state's child population, 60 percent of the state's foster care population is American Indian children.

Suzanne Crow's story is part of an NPR News investigation. Read more about the series here.

Derrin Yellow Robe, 3, stands in his great-grandparents' backyard on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. Along with his twin sister and two older sisters, he was taken off the reservation by South Dakota's Department of Social Services in July 2009 and spent a year and a half in foster care before being returned to his family.

Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

Nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their homes every year.

It's a number that Crow is familiar with and a number that always struck her as ironic.

For more than a century, a similar number of American Indian children were removed from their homes, families and cultures and placed in boarding schools. It was part of the U.S. government's assimilation policy. She had been sent away when she was 5-years-old. Her mother couldn't afford to provide for her or her sister. So, she enrolled them at Saint Paul's Indian Mission, an Indian boarding school on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in Marty, S.D., built in the 1920s during the middle of the U.S. government's assimilation policy years.

"There is a very strong history in this country of removing Indian kids from their homes," says Brenda Child, who chairs the University of Minnesota's American Indian Studies program. Her grandfather was a student at the first off-reservation boarding school, Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

But by 1958, when Crow started school there, "assimilation as a policy had ended," Child says. Yet its legacy remained and Crow's story, Child says, is one that's familiar.

American Indian parents who lost their children forgot how to be parents and their children were no longer being raised with parents to learn those skills from. Crow still remembers her first day, walking into a long room filled with white dresses. It was a little girl's dream, she says, until she turned around.

Her mom was gone. "I cried for three days," she says.

Rules To Be Followed

It took Crow just over two hours to return to Sioux Falls the day her grandchildren were removed from their home. But it was too late.

When Crow arrived home, her grandchildren had already been taken to Children's Inn, an emergency shelter and foster home in Sioux Falls. Crow drove straight there, she says, and asked to take her grandchildren home.

"It's not that easy," says Children's Inn's Director Amy Carter. Carter didn't tell Crow no herself, she's only been director for three years and wasn't familiar with Crow's case, but she's seen similar stories. "That situation is more common than you'd like to think," she says.

Because of that, there's a system of rules that has to be followed.

"It's a complex system, but it's made that way to ensure the safety of the children," Carter says.

By the time children reach her organization, they're already under the custody of the state and the state's Division of Child Protection Services (DCPS) calls the shots. Children's Inn is just the starting point to a long process.

"I can understand why people get frustrated with it," Carter says, "and I won't deny it can be frustrating. But that's the system we're working in."

Process Harkens Back To Boarding School Days

Life at Saint Paul's was full of processes. There were routines and rules that were strictly enforced, Crow recalls

American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many

The government-run boarding schools required students to talk and dress as mainstream Americans.

thumbnail

American Indian School a Far Cry from the Past

Much has changed since the days when off-reservation schools were used to expel Indian culture.

No speaking in the native Lakota language, no gathering in groups larger than two, no talking back.

"At one time they had 500 children here," says David Tickerhoof, a current pastor at Saint Paul's Church. "There had to be a pretty stringent discipline system."

The school is now tribally run and Tickerhoof has only been at the neighboring church for 14 years, so he can't speak to specifics of the school's past. But from talking with former teachers and students, he understands the history of the school and its surrounding community.

"It was like the inner-city in a rural setting," he says.

Crow said she recognizes some positive things about the school. Since her mother couldn't provide for her, at least at Saint Paul's, she was fed, sheltered and educated.

But there were bad parts: Haircuts, and punishments, Crow says, for speaking in her native Lakota tongue.

"The goal wasn't to make them non-Indian," Tickerhoof says, "The effort was to really help them stand as an equal in the job environment and to do that they had to be able to communicate in the dominant society."

He continues: "I'm not going to say negative things didn't happen here, that's idealistic and naive. But I think it was hard on everybody."

To cope, Crow says, they prayed.

"We'd get up and pray at our bed, then go to church and pray, then to breakfast and pray, then to school and pray, and then lunch and pray — always praying," Crow says. "I remember praying for John Kennedy when he was shot."

But most times she prayed for something else. She says she "prayed and prayed and prayed," for her grandmother to come and get her, to find her and take her away. For 12 years she prayed.

It never happened.

"Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed for something and then it never happened?" she asks. It still haunts her.

A Prayerful Fight

More than 50 years later, Crow began the battle to get her grandchildren back by praying.

Suzanne Crow looks through a family photo album at her home in Sioux Falls, S.D., and comes across an old newspaper clipping of Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota like herself.

John Poole/NPR

Suzanne Crow looks through a family photo album at her home in Sioux Falls, S.D., and comes across an old newspaper clipping of Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota like herself.

"I prayed for whatever judges were involved, whatever social service people are involved — whoever's in my path I wanted to pray for them too," she says. "So I did."

For the first months she prayed that the children would be returned to their mother. Crow offered her help, went to court proceedings and took notes, but the bulk of the work she left to her daughter, Lena.

"They tried to turn her into a professional hoop dancer, jumping through all their hoops." But the children were never released.

Within a week of being taken from their mother's, they were placed in a white foster home in Sioux Falls. After about six months, Lena gave up hope, Crow says. There were too many strikes against her, so Crow says Lena attempted suicide. That attempt, though failed, killed her chances of getting her children back, Crow says. She was no longer deemed psychologically competent to be a parent.

"So that's when I filed for adoption," Crow says, "they couldn't throw any of that guilt in my face."

Crow had a house, a salaried job as a seamstress at David's Bridal and no criminal history. The problem was, she had to convince the state of the same thing and that's hard for any grandparent to do, says B.J. Jones, an attorney and judge for various tribal justice systems in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

"The state court system is so hard for grandparents to crack and sometimes it's hard to really identify what the reasons are," Jones says.

The result, he says, is this: "We have the government being the grandparents and the government doesn't have a good track record of taking care of Indian kids. Historically that's been disastrous. It's been a nightmare."

The state's department of social services says it's not trying to usurp family ties.

"We come from a stance of safety," says Virgena Wiesler, the division's director. "That's our overarching goal with all children. If they can be returned to their parent or returned to a relative and that safety can be managed, then that's our goal."

In interviews with NPR, Wiesler and the state's DCPS said they would not speak about individual cases like Crow's.

All those years — those 12 years in boarding school — not once did I get to be who I was supposed to be. Not once did I get to speak Lakota and see my grandma. They took our genetic thinking and turned it inside out. And then who are you?

- Suzanne Crow

Jones wouldn't either, but he did say that in his opinion, the limited access and rights of extended family like grandparents is the biggest problem with current law.

"I've seen a lot of cases where the grandparents would be eligible," he says, "but they've got to background you, they've got to license you and this, this, this, and that, that, that."

That's what Crow experienced.

"They tried to turn me into a fancy dancer too," she says.

She went through the steps, met with case workers, registered for and completed foster parenting classes for both the state and the tribe. She became a licensed foster parent and still, the kids remained in foster care for three years.

They were being taken care of, she says, just like she was in boarding school, but she was worried about them being raised in another culture.

"All those years — those 12 years in boarding school," she says, "Not once did I get to be who I was supposed to be. Not once did I get to speak Lakota and see my grandma. They took our genetic thinking and turned it inside out. And then who are you?"

A Return To Family 

The state eventually released Crows's grandchildren, now ages 10 and 11, from foster care, giving custody to their stepfather, who also cares for two of Lena's other children in Pipestone, Minn.

Crow says she believes she should have custody of her grandchildren.

She sees them as often as she can. She talks to them on the phone and messages them on Facebook. Earlier this year, she saw her grandson play in a soccer tournament and braided Brianna's hair before a family member's high school graduation ceremony.

She talks to them in Lakota when they'll listen, trying to instill bits of their native culture whenever she can. It's her duty as a grandmother, she says, to help give them an identity — to fight for their future because of her past.

"I think their culture is what's going to save them," she says, "It's what saved me."

 

About the Photographer:

Blindman shooting

I have come to realize that my art has diversity with powerful individual vision, that chronicles the life of individuals. People draw me into their lives to tell their story to anyone willing to listen and validate their reason for living. My attraction to story telling grew as my life developed behind a camera. I discovered that its not how a photographer looks at the world that is important, its their relationship with their fellow human beings and these moments of connectivity that are frozen in time for all to see.
last thought for the photographer, "Whatever you look to see outside, is waiting inside you".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh Sweetest Song

Sapa Vietnam Alfred PleyerSapa, Vietnam © 2011 Alfred Pleyer

Song
How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws *one* voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

~ Rilke ~

 

Vietnamese Lullaby

About the Photographer:

Alfred Pleyer

Alfred loves to travel and photograph.

He hails from Austria.

You may find more of his amazing photographic captures on

http://500px.com/niklens

According to Alfred the following is true:

Citizen of the World

Living without a cat...

I Belong to group.as

I am involved in
Public Circles Project

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Working Man Udaipur Alfred Pleyer

Smiling Worker in Udaipur © 2011 Alfred Pleyer

WORKING TOGETHER

We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again.

20110317700_8067-Bearbeitet (2)Vegetable Seller in Kathmandu, Nepal © 2011 Alfred Pleyer

The visible
and the invisible

working together
in common cause,

to produce
the miraculous.

Heavy Load by Alfred PleyerHeavy Load © 2011 Alfred Pleyer  Taken in Kathmandu, Nepal

I am thinking of the way
the intangible air

passed at speed
round a shaped wing

easily
holds our weight.

A Leg Up by Alfred PleyerA Leg Up © 2011 Alfred Pleyer

So may we, in this life
trust

to those elements
we have yet to see

or imagine,

20110317700_8067-BearbeitetVegetable Seller in Kathmandu, Nepal (redux color) ©2011 Alfred Pleyer

and look for the true

shape of our own self
by forming it well

to the great
intangibles about us.

~David Whyte ~

© The House of Belonging

 

About the Photographer:

Alfred Pleyer

Alfred loves to travel and photograph.

He hails from Austria.

You may find more of his amazing photographic captures on

http://500px.com/niklens

According to Alfred the following is true:

Citizen of the World

Living without a cat...

I Belong to group.as

I am involved in
Public Circles Project

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yellow Glove


automat-by-edward-hopper (2)

Automat © 1927 Edward Hopper

Yellow Glove

BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE
What can a yellow glove mean in a world of motorcars and governments?
I was small, like everyone. Life was a string of precautions: Don’t kiss the squirrel before you bury him, don’t suck candy, pop balloons, drop watermelons, watch TV. When the new gloves appeared one Christmas, tucked in soft tissue, I heard it trailing me: Don’t lose the yellow gloves.
I was small, there was too much to remember. One day, waving at a stream—the ice had cracked, winter chipping down, soon we would sail boats and roll into ditches—I let a glove go. Into the stream, sucked under the street. Since when did streets have mouths? I walked home on a desperate road. Gloves cost money. We didn’t have much. I would tell no one. I would wear the yellow glove that was left and keep the other hand in a pocket. I knew my mother’s eyes had tears they had not cried yet, I didn’t want to be the one to make them flow. It was the prayer I spoke secretly, folding socks, lining up donkeys in windowsills. To be good, a promise made to the roaches who scouted my closet at night. If you don’t get in my bed, I will be good. And they listened. I had a lot to fulfill.
The months rolled down like towels out of a machine. I sang and drew and fattened the cat. Don’t scream, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t fight—you could hear it anywhere. A pebble could show you how to be smooth, tell the truth. A field could show how to sleep without walls. A stream could remember how to drift and change—next June I was stirring the stream like a soup, telling my brother dinner would be ready if he’d only hurry up with the bread, when I saw it. The yellow glove draped on a twig. A muddy survivor. A quiet flag.


Where had it been in the three gone months? I could wash it, fold it in my winter drawer with its sister, no one in that world would ever know. There were miracles on Harvey Street. Children walked home in yellow light. Trees were reborn and gloves traveled far, but returned. A thousand miles later, what can a yellow glove mean in a world of bankbooks and stereos?



Part of the difference between floating and going down
.
~~~
Naomi Shihab Nye, “Yellow Glove” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995)
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