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Monday, September 20, 2010


by David Chorlton

Dear Dr. Dyer, Each time fund raising season comes
to our public TV station, you are there offering assurance
that changing the way we look at things changes the things we see
but as often as I’ve heard you say this
I’m still troubled. I’ve been staring for years at the wall
at the end of our street; the one Mapquest
doesn’t know about. Drivers are told to drive
straight through the wall. I listened to you and tried
to believe that, like any obstacle, the wall
isn’t really there so I tried to run through it three times this week
and it hurt. There isn’t a disaster
you don’t turn into a miracle. There isn’t a problem
you can’t wrap up in a catchy phrase
and mail to oblivion. Watching those attentive people
leaning forward in their seats
to listen to you, I don’t see anybody who looks
homeless and therefore in real need of changing the way
they look at things. Life appears different from behind
a shopping cart. Then you list the reasons
people claim get in the way of doing
what they really want and insist they can all be overcome
as if a man who keeps his worldly goods in plastic bags
and begs for a quarter could ever return
to what you call Source when he can’t even think
beyond fishing the fast food leftovers
somebody threw away out of a trash bin. Still, you’ve built
an impressive mix of references from Lao Tsu
to Jesus and the Buddha, all calculated for broad appeal
except in the case of somebody like me who’d like
perhaps some Machiavelli thrown in.
Do you sell many books in Afghanistan? Myanmar?
Haiti? Does everybody in a country have to change
before its government will? If losing a job
is only God’s way of offering a new opportunity
is an earthquake his way of creating the chance to rebuild?
Would you tell a rainforest that’s been cut down
this is its chance to be a field?
Perhaps I’m not ready for the steps you illustrate with that wooden stairway
you have with you onstage. Excuses, you say,
must be banished. When you insist that
not being able to afford to do something is no obstacle,
I wonder which currency you’re thinking in. It must be
the dollar, not the peso, because if you ever took
a tour group to Juarez, you’d have to ask them
to think of the gunshots as fireworks.

David Chorlton has lived in Arizona for more than thirty years and loves the landscape, but laments that the state legislature has more thorns than the cactus.