POEM: A Wrench In The Machine

He was having one of those lives
Where he woke up
Only to find himself
A wrench in the machine
Threw and threw
Putting his whole into question
What kind of tool are you?

This poem was triggered by a recent conversation with my about a pending criminal mischief charge (for stickering poles downtown in the criminal district with stickers reading “ FOR DANNY BROWN .COM”). In this conversation, I used the metaphor of a wrench in the machine. There is a growing realization in my that jail is in my destiny. Eugene Debs, perhaps said it best in his statement to the judge prior to his sentencing for resistance, stating:

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a in , I am not free. [see full speech here]

Quite a few years ago, I had a . In this , there was an that has stuck with me: I was effortlessly amidst the huge, moving cogs and gears of a giant machine. I was unhurt and at peace, even joyful. This reminds me of the of being at peace in the dance with the machine. Of course, this does not include the pain and of being ground up in the machine, a every moment. I believe that the best meshing of these two realities is to practice disciplines cultivating joyful as we throw our whole beings into resistance of the machines of and into the reawakening of the deadened souls who find necessity in siding with .

requires . Our of this helps free us to choose to better align with the forces of than the forces of death. My unofficial motto is “Screw 'em,” as modeled by the character Col. William Ludlow, played by Anthony Hopkins, in the movie, Legends of the Fall. This may seem unduly negative, or even juvenile, to some; but, the impulse to withdraw from unjust is divine. While such may only be a first step, it is a necessary first step to confront the and to speak to . Either way, without , aka complicity, humans cannot multiply their worldly beyond their own, short, God-given reach. People do bad things, though having their reach limited to a relatively small human scale mitigates the worst of it. When living a human-scale existence we find our kin within grasp — a grasp of hands, minds and hearts. This is enough. To want more, is to trade our for mere stuff. Consent and complicity is required for technologies of death to persist, whether they be armaments or corporations. Let us examine our lives for where they are forged as tools, not as artisans and creators made in the image of God, but as artifacts to be bought and sold. Let us withdraw our consent to such dehumanization and create a joyful dance in which all can freely participate. May you be joyful in your resistance.

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