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Afternoon Squall
It Has Been Awhile

It's Been Awhile by
Mike Hemmer

Been a while. Since I let the words flow. Since I sat quietly. Unstressed. Undistressed. Watching the world. Passing by. Slowly. Marking the day's passage. Grey and wet sun rise. Steamy and slow morning. Napping noon time. Tropical deluge of the afternoon. Sun stained sky of the eve. Yes indeed. Fingers on keysŠ. Been awhile.

Since a really good nightıs sleep. Since a really energized morning. Spend most nights awake too long. Talking. Debating. Working it all over. The ProblemsŠ Social. Economic. Physical. All clamoring for attention. Jumping. Biting at our heels. Nagging in slow, painful ways. A year since the world changed. Turned upside down. Yes, itıs been awhile.

Actually seems a lot longer than a yearŠ That strange June morning. Woke to find the radio station silent. Thought is was a mechanical error. Heard rumours of an armed coup in the capitol. Laughed them off. Listened to the noon announcements by the leader of the "militants". No laughing then. As our world changed.

Itıs been a while. Since I thought the sight of an M16 as unusual. Since I was relaxed enough to walk unarmed. Since I felt good about my teenage kids out for the night. Seems like ages. Eons. This peaceful backwater of a country. So friendly. Where time stood still. Sure hasŠ been awhile. As time sweeps us along. At a terrific pace. Acting the moderator. The mediator. The voice of reason. Out of character. For me. The meetings. Liaison: Irate young jerks. Elected officials. Frightened businessmen. More meetings. More headaches. More late nights. 6AM comes too damn early. The day too short. No time to play. Been awhile.

This past month has been very hectic. Too much. Coming to a head. Bullshit taking place. Too much. Lying and deceit. Too many. Frightened. Cowed. Individuals. Turning a blind eye. A small handful. Shaking the tree. Kicking the hornetsı nest. My buddy, Ashley. In the forefront. Articulate. Patient. Doing whatıs best. Dragging me along.

Public meetings. Forums of discussion and education. My roots as an adult educator. Woken by the words. The emotion. The passion. The confusion. Working with groups. Discussing issues. Refining ideas. Concepts. Questions. Writing the refined articulation of the idea down. Sharing it. Agreeing on what is being said. Going to the media. The public will. Yes, it sure has been a while. Roots in the 60s. Public will. Something new. Discovered. For the first time. Again. It made sense then. Take to the streets. Shout your words. Be heard. A crowd. A mass, seething and shouting. It did some good. Canıt be ignored.

Yes. Made sense then. And does now. Itıs been a long, long while. Organizing a march. Concerned citizens. No longer young. Unfettered by commitment. Concerned about ideals. Concepts yet to be experienced. Paid lip service. No, we were looking for a party. Now: weıre all older. Concerned about our kids. Our businesses. Way of life. A communal conscience of self serving origins.

And thatıs OK too. To meet. Discuss. Motivated by a desire to keep my community undisrupted. Selfish but benign. Communally selfish in that I disagree that school kids be exposed to automatic gunfire. That public officials be extorted threatened. That Law and order dies. No. I have a social conscience. Potentially selfish. But thatıs OK.

We march tomorrow. Petition in hand. The authorities of the day. Notified. Waiting. The town will march. Form. One voice. Of outrage. Of anger. Weıre all tired. Tired to death. The guns. The bullying. The threats. The decaying economy. Yes. Itıs time for some quiet. Some law and orderŠ yes, it sure has been awhile.