Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Welcome to Love Week!

This piece I'm posting is unusual enough that it requires a little bit of history. When I first started writing poetry in high school, it developed out of a love of the sound of rythm and rhyhme, and I found inspiration not through other poems but rather through music - especially elements of freestyle rap. I know...kind of unexpected coming from me, but there it is. I found a lot of Eminem's raps, especially, to be very powerful and to communicate tone and tension very well. Because of this, my own attempts at poetry were almost all written to an internal rap-rythm, and not to be read in one's head according to standard or traditional meter. It also helped that Eminem was pretty pissed off, and so was I. So my desire to communicate that same level of frustration obviously found an example in his own expressions.

When I arrived at Ave Maria, I was a very different person than I am today. Those who knew me then will probably silently agree with me when I say that I was a much more loving and much less selfish person than I am now. Frankly, I was on fire for Christ in a way that I have not been able to regain since then...though I'm working on it ;). Anyway, upon arriving I found myself very unhappy with the spirit of the place. Those who like to pretend that Old-Campus Ave was absolutely perfect are wrong. It could often be a very welcoming place, but it also manifested a very judgmental spirit. I was immediately conscious of this, and I immediately tried my very best to begin working against it. And, like most things for me, the first few attempts were utter failures, lol. The Kodiak, Benjamin, can attest to how frustrated I was becoming. This frustration peaked during the one and only Ave Maria Love Week.

Now, if you think Ave Maria is a gossipy place today, you would be struck by how incredibly nosy everyone was at the old campus. I'm talkin binocular-level nosy. Love Week, however, avoided addressing this issue at all. It encouraged a higher and deeper level of romance that, simply put, furthered the aura of nosiness because it made every interaction between a man and a woman into a romantic interaction.

Which is bullshit.

Now, there happened to be an open-mic night smack-dab in the middle of Love Week which the entire school attended (one of the truly great things about the old campus was that everyone did everything). And at this point I was so pissed that I wrote a rap-poem that I intended to deliver at said open-mic night. After finishing it, I showed it to Benjamin, who immediately became a whole friggin' cheerleader squad for me (I think he offered to beatbox, too?!). However, I made the mistake of showing it to a senior who discouraged me from presenting it, and who said that I could get kicked out for being this aggressive.

Which was bullshit.

Unfortunately, I bought it and did not present it. Looking back, I wish I had, but who knows: the path I took gave me some regrets but I am sure that there would have been other regrets had I chosen this one.

Anyway, I was looking back through my folders and found this and decided it was finally time for it to be shown to all. It serves as a reminder to me that I need to be all that I was and all that I am meant to be. I hope that it serves to remind you of those same things. And I hope you get a laugh imaging me delivering this in my loudest, angriest, meanest Monty tones. And don't take it too seriously...I was a freshman. 'Nuff said. Enjoy!




Welcome to Love Week

By D. Ledoux Montgomery


Welcome to Love Week!
Warning: Don’t turn around
And look at that guy or girl
That you’ve been thinking about;
Someone will notice,
And someone will talk –
And heaven forbid you ever go for a walk
With a member of the opposite sex
Without wanting or looking for a step to take next –
Friendship? What’s that? Between a guy and a girl?
Who ever heard such a thing? Who do you think that you are?
Courting and dating’s what we’re all about,
And if you want friendship, pack up and get out!
And while those people are leaving, why don’t the rest
Of those people who don’t know quite how to dress
And button up their shirts all the way
Take the walk out with them: there’s a lot of highway,
And it’s our way or the highway, of that there’s no doubt,
And just in case you haven’t figured it out,
This school is the epitome of what Jesus was talking about
When he used the example of a pin and a camel –
Be different and accepted? Never! We won’t dabble
In anything other than how we’ve been raised –
Sheltered is good! Let’s stand up in praise!
And this isn’t a bash on the homeschool community,
I’m just raving and ranting ‘bout the exclusivity
This school is fostering – one faith, one path,
one girl you can talk to, one way you can act,
and there’s only one way to make it through life –
What a joke! It’s funny how people can’t think
About how living this way is making everyone sink
Into judgmentalism, and a sense of superiority,
Which makes us all gossip – doesn’t anyone see?
We are so caught up in who’s looking at us
And what they think, and what happened on the bus ride,
And what did she say? What did he do? He meant it that way?
And we all have our groups, and it’s allllll good…
Except none of it’s Christian, and none of it’s right,
And maybe I’m just looking for a fight,
And maybe Monty’s just got some screws loose,
But I’ve taken a stand cause you have to choose
Between conforming to standards and rising above
Or maybe just being different, and just straight up love,
Without definition, without judgment or thought
Of how you would like them to be. Love is not
Just family and close friends, it’s dying to self,
And understanding others and accepting ourselves.
Being comfortable is overrated, and stretching is good –
Maybe it’s time that we all should
Turn around, and look at a stranger,
And wave, and say hi, and forget the danger
Of smiling at someone because of what they might say,
They will always say something, there won’t be a day
Where you go through life and everyone likes you,
Nor will there be a day where you like everyone, too.
We have to learn how to live in a world of diversity:
Class and belief and religion and ethnicity –
There are billions of people, and three hundred of you,
Are you gonna stay in your bubble? Is that what you’ll do?
Well, keep on keeping on, but please let me through.
There’s a big world out there. And now, in lieu
Of applause, I’ll just accept the stern faces and slack jaws
Because I stood up here and said what I felt,
And sometimes you have to say things, and they just can’t be helped.
Just remember, this week, as you talk about love,
And all the cliques click, maybe you could rise above,
Sit next to someone different in class,
And not with your friends, but an acquaintance at mass,
And ask for their phone number, and actually care,
That someone exists you didn’t really know was there.
Relax, and just chill, and know that God’s here,
And don’t worry about what people think, no fear!
No fear should be the motto of this whole school,
And Christians everywhere, and that means you
And your protestant brothers: I’m not going to get into that now
But next time you laugh at them, don’t think about
How they don’t like the pope and how they have made mistakes,
Be thankful, and grateful, and look into their face,
And realize that they are trying to follow Christ, too.
So I’m wrapping this up. I’m finished with you.
Here come the others: the pianos and sweet tunes
Will help you forget anything I’ve said, I’m just a raving lune.
Good night, adieu, adios, god bless,
And just let me know if you want to hear the rest.


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Colored Party Balloon

By D. Ledoux Montgomery


A colored party balloon, half deflated,
Wafts just above the myriad tiny white confetti
Scattered across the dark grained hardwood floor
And upon Father’s armchair;
Like She, beautiful, but only mildly elated,
Passed above the invitees and danced to Tom Petty
All the while anticipating the creak of the old oak door.
No one sat in Father’s armchair.


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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pope Approves Padded Pipes for Mugging

I'm sure all of you know about the Pope's recent comment on condom use; but just in case, here it is:

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Peter Seewald, interviewing B16: Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.


This has caused quite a firestorm amongst the news media, as the Catholic position is (or, in their minds, was) that condoms are never morally justified. I think quoting smarter people than I is the best way to go about expaining the truth of the matter; these guys are way more succint. Fr. Fessio on the Condom discussion:

Here’s an example of [the] distinction that parallels what the Pope said. Muggers are using steel pipes to attack people and the injuries are severe. Some muggers use padded pipes to reduce the injuries, while still disabling the victim enough for the mugging. The Pope says that the intention of reducing injury (in the act of mugging) could be a first step toward greater moral responsibility. This would not justify the following headlines: “Pope Approves Padded Pipes for Mugging,” “Pope Says Use of Padded Pipes Justified in Some Circumstances,” or "Pope Permits Use of Padded Pipes in Some Cases.”

Of course, one may morally use padded pipes in some circumstances, e.g., as insulated pipes so that hot water flowing through them doesn’t cool as fast. And one may use condoms morally in some cases, e.g. as water balloons. But that also would not justify the headline “Pope Approves Condom Use”, though in this case it could be true. But it would be intentionally misleading.


Fr. Fessio then continues in a later article:

But didn’t the Pope say that sex cum condom to prevent infection is a lesser evil? Well, the Pope didn’t say that, at least in his book...[b]ut the Pope could have said it, because in one sense it’s true. [The problem is that] many educated people no longer understand the ethics of the “lesser evil”. It’s not difficult to understand, though. The crucial distinction is: one may tolerate a lesser evil; one may never morally do something which is a lesser evil. In the case of condom usage, the good of protecting against infection cannot justify the immoral sexual act, even though performing that act with a condom may be a lesser evil than performing it without one.

Is the use of a condom in the intent to prevent death a lesser evil than ignoring the possibility of death completely? YES. Yes, yes, yes. Of course it is. And the Church can and (I think, in many cases) does "acknowledge" lesser evils in that they are happy to see any movement towards a life of virtue and morality. But the problem, as Fr. Fessio says, is that tricky second word, the word that follows 'lesser'...the word 'evil'. The Church is not interested in pointing out less evil options for the world to consider; it is interested in pointing out the good, the true, and the beautiful. As my humorous fictional title suggests, it would be ridiculous for the Pope to go around all the time encouraging people to be slightly less evil. "Pope Encourages Smaller, More Contained Genocides." "Pope Upholds Charity in Some Cases." "Occassionally Loving Others Might Be Wholesome, Says Pope." I mean, we could go on and on and on!! The point is, the ideal is always more important than the various shades and shadows of it. It is the duty of Christians to maintain the truth. Not the half-truths.

And the truth is that condom use is not the ideal, and it is not moral. The immediate response to this is that condoms provide the only protection from STDs, most specifically the deadly AIDS virus - and how can it be immoral to protect oneself and others from death?? Well, probably because it doesn't fully protect you even when used perfectly, and, as a whole, it is not used properly. Upholding condoms as an answer to the STD/AIDS epidemics in 3rd-world countries only aids the spread of AIDS. And this ain't even me talkin'. This is massive amounts of research on the subject talkin'. Yes, those are 4 hyperlinks to 4 different studies that all agree on these few points:

1. Used properly, effectively, and absolutely consistently (a.k.a., perfectly), condoms are 85% to 90% effective at preventing the transmission of most sexually transmitted diseases.

2. Condoms are generally not used perfectly; either they are not used properly, or their use is inconsistent, or the condom breaks or otherwise "malfunctions" - and each study notes that transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse.

3. Each study further notes that (and here I'm just going to quote the last study)"[t]he most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus, are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner."

4. Finally, these studies have consistently found that the real way to address HIV/AIDS epidemics is to break down the sexual networks through which the virus spreads. This breakdown occurs only through the abovementioned two strategies - no sex or sex with one partner. Otherwise the connections are so vast that entire communities are sexually connected to one another.

This is why Fr. Fessio says:

...[I]t has been shown (and it makes sense) that when there is widespread use of condoms, the sense of security against risk leads to greater promiscuity: more frequency; more partners. And this leads to overall greater risk of disease among the sexually active population. So, in this sense, condom usage is the greater evil. (Emphasis mine).

Unfortunately, the Hollywood hook-up culture has decided that 85 to 90% effective condoms which when (perfectly) used would result in 10 to 15% of the population being infected is acceptable. Which is horrific, when you actually think about it. Nobody would get on an airplane if they had those percentages of dying. No one would go swimming if they said there was a 10-15% chance of being attacked and slaughtered by sharks. So why are we willing to take THIS risk? Because we are unable, or unwilling, to live life according to reality. The last thing we want is someone criticizing our free-sex society, and the last thing we want to do is give in and say, "You know what? Maybe, when it's really, really important, we should be able to abstain from sex. Or maybe I'll just stick with one person. I guess. Maybe."

Which is such a stupid attitude to take, considering that monogomy is the secret to more than just halting the AIDS epidemics. It's the secret to child-rearing, too. Oh, and wealth.

But whatever...who wants to stop AIDS epidemics, raise a great family and be well off?

Much thanks go to Fr. Fessio, who did not authorize my post but who put his words out on the internet. Which means I feel no shame for using them. Unless I get a phone call from him about it. In which case I will indeed feel ashamed. So only tell him about it if you think he won't strike me down.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bride

By D. Ledoux Montgomery

Let me return to you, consort, and to our scampering progeny wild;
Let me catch them up in my arms and bring them like netted fish;
Let me tell you that this one looks scrumptious for frying
And that we’ll eat well tonight. Then
Let me drop the squealers in a squirming heap on the rug, and
Let me draw you close. You smell like happy motherhood, my matriarch.
Let me ignore our tugging brood, and your greased apron, and my exhaustion
And let me live in your eyes, through your breath, on your lips.
Your breasts against my chest and our hands in each other’s hair
And the children looking on – this they must learn. Let our deep kiss
Set off a round of groans, and let the children’s moans
Bring laughter as we slowly separate and settle back into serving.
Let me sit them at our table and see the antics begin;
Let me laugh at the high-chair’s messy denizen making faces;
Let me listen to your stories, your day-defeats and victories;
And let the little ones do their dish-chores.
Let me command you, queen, into your bubble bath;
Let me take the yawning masses to my lap and recite from Aesop;
Let me learn them their virtue, their vice. Then,
Tucked in, blessed, night-lighted and teddy-beared,
Their swift-scared senses lullabied to early bed
By soft song and steady hand caressing their small faces,
They now drift to the child’s dreamy places,
As I now drift to you, darling awaiting.
Let me come to your silky skin missing me;
Let me rest my tired body, bride, settling at your side, and
Let me share my sacred soul with yours.
Advise me, my wisdom, my wife;
Let me tell you my fears and my furious anger building;
Let me clench-fisted, burning-eyed, blazing-soul’d speak;
Let me meld with you and long delay our sleep;
And then pray me into peace, my lover and life-mate.
But before all this, before our scampering progeny wild,
Before we have yet to touch, to stare, to make a child,
I must meet you on some road, out in the world, so vast and wide.
Let me find you there, my love. You must become my only bride.


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