What Charlie Chaplin Was Saying 80 Years Ago Rings True Today

When we look upon the world today, we are thrust into the pits of technology. It is an infantry of robots and real time communication showering the airwaves of communication.

We are struggling for power and greed and an identity in a world that has lost its own. We have lost site of a great many things. The most important being the compassion for others and inclusion of diversity. We are letting technology giants and real time trends and analysis think for us instead of relying on intellect and emotion. As you read and listen to Charlie Chaplin’s monologue at the conclusion of The Great Dictator, listen closely. That five minutes of cinema 80 years ago, rides as true today as it did then. Don’t let artificial intelligence replace your mind.

Final Speech: The Great Dictator (1940)

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate;
has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in:
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little:
More than machinery we need humanity;
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish.

Soldiers: don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written:
“The kingdom of God is within man”
Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men; in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!

. . .

Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.

The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow, into the light of hope, into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up.

May I Have This Dance? – Original Poem

dance2If I approached you, would you ask me to dance?
If held out my arms, would you cry by my side?

That’s all I ask of you

If I laid in bed a little too long, would you rest your head on my chest?
If I breathed the words of sadness, would you heal them with your light?

I ask you now, illuminated by the witness in the sky, will you join me for this ride?
As I wait, fixated on the reflection in your eye, I see the glow excite

Will you be the one I dreamed for all time?
Will you paint my future and fly it on a kite for all the world to see?
And celebrate with a toast as the light of my life

This clumsy fool weakened at the knees stands before you seeing fantasy meet reality

Matchmaker, matchmaker sing us a tune
Shower it with destiny from the delicate ivory of Gershwin
The words of “How Do I Love Thee” ringing from the resting soul of Browning
A harmony so lovely
A tune so familiar, played in my dreams for so long

Matchmaker, matchmaker, escort us to the dance floor
Release us to the unknown on a path of rainbow delight

As I sweep you off of this gravitational pull and thrust you to the sky, will you always be my special one until my last breath should subside?


You’re Not the Only One – Original Poem

lost1You’re not the only one that feels alone at night
Without direction, without a fight
Trapped in your own desires
Frightened by the thought of another person’s fire
Numb to the piercings of poisoned rain

Loneliness dwindles
The light of a new day rekindles

You’re not the only one who thinks to leap without faith
Who cries without feeling the pain
Digging a grave for a funeral never to be attended

You’re not the only one because you have me
Vulnerable and humble; blessed at the gift before me

You inspire color
Give meaning to this fantasy
My words I give to you
My life I invite to share

You’re not the only one out there minimized by space; corrupted by the hurt; pained by the future

hands1Never more will you be lost
Dump the weight of that back pack of past lies
Feel the burden lifted as you take my hand
Feel the energy of the sun penetrate the surface of your pores as you feel alive once again

Run with me baby; run with the gazelles
Let’s take our direction to new heights
Together in love

September 11 – A Day We Will Never Forget – My Personal Journey

It was sometime after seven when my phone rang. I was groggy and half awake but somehow felt the need to answer my phone. Kim was the on the other end frantically telling me to turn my television on. Without hesitation or knowledge of why, I did. She then began to tell me the cryptic pieces of information surrounding a plane going into the World Trade Center. It was moments later when I witnessed the second plane make a permanent impression in my mind. I soon hung up and continued to stare at the screen as my eyes got lost far beyond the scenes I was seeing on the television screen.

I sat silently and still on the floor, watching, absorbing, and reflecting as the news trying to make sense of this madness. Memories of my days on Wall Street came back quickly and I could remember my footsteps from the PATH train to Broad Street. Now that path is covered in rubble and smoke and the familiar sounds of taxis are now filled with screams.

After several hours, without knowing what to do or who to call, I played nine holes of golf. Upon completion, as I walked the final path to the clubhouse, my phone rang. I don’t know why, but had a feeling the news was not good. I had no reason to believe that the call from my parent’s home phone was good or bad news, but I knew. Maybe it was the day playing in the back of my mind or perhaps the knowledge that my parents rarely ever called me during the day. With a brief hesitation, I answered to hear my father on the other end confirming my notion. I received the news that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mid afternoon on September 11 as the world reacted, lived and digested what would become the most memorable day of our lives, I stood alone hearing the word you never want to hear in relation to a family member, friend or yourself.

Much of the next several hours were a bit of a blur. Sometime in between the hours of 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM I leaned on a rock just outside my apartment and looked up at the sky. My first thought was of the deafening silence filling the sky with only the view of stars shining. No planes, no helicopters, no sound resonating. Of course this being in the middle of a remote part of Oklahoma would not have shocked anyone but living seven miles from an international airport meant something else. How can complete silence send shivers down one’s spine? I don’t know, but the empty sound was the spark that drove me into a period of weakness and sorrow. I shed a tear as an entire day of devastation ran circles in my mind. Over and over I remember the calls, the videos, the commentary and through all that, it was the silence that sent me over the edge.

That was September 11, 2001.

One year and six days later, we lost her.

Fifteen years have passed, ten years older and more mature. The world as you and I know it changed that day, not in a temporary mode but a permanent way of life. It awakened us to the notion that we are all vulnerable. How often to we go to a movie and watch a blockbuster about an apocalyptic event and sit in awe at the wonder of Hollywood magic? Yet, to witness the unimaginable happen before our eyes wondering and praying that our friends and loved ones were not part of this madness is something not many of us would pay the price of admission for. I grew up in New Jersey, raised by two home bread New York parents. Spent some time on Wall Street living the American dream. Never in the midst of the madness known as New York City could I imagine an event so catastrophic ever happening in my backyard.

If asked what emotions went through my system that day, I would have to say shock, fear, heartbreak, concern, confusion and hope. I am sure you are thinking why “hope” in that list of negative emotions. Well, without hope, we have nothing. Everyday we live with the risk of tragedy whether it affects one person or thousands, yet each day we wake up to a new sunrise with the hope of a day filled with happiness and love.

September 11 was tragic for me in so many ways, mostly personal. I needed to feel hope that as a family we would be by my mother’s side supporting her, comforting her and knowing together we could beat this disease. As we come closer to the 10th anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever, I will be thinking about my mother and the struggles she had to endure so that we could have the blessing of having her in our lives.

My greatest tragedy of that day was not the events over lower Manhattan. It was that I was not there to hug and hold my mother when she received the news of the unwelcome visitor in her body. I’m sorry Mom.

I Need A Place to Hide Away – Original Poem

hide1I need a place to hide away
A solitary escape to call my own

Through the desert heat, rising waves and the highest mountain peaks
Battling the demons laughing along the way

I need a place to hide away, but I should first explain

I offered my heart in hopes you would find happiness

We are born into a world flawed by an ideology of innocence
An apple tainted by the first breath

Still I fought for redemption
To complete a great unknown and find a happiness never clarified in the handbook of life

I struggled, swatting away the gifts raining upon me not realizing the happiness I wanted for you was all in a single touch
The power of a shared journey was right before my eyes

The legacy is not in a trophy case or a plaque, but the memories that carry on

I pushed forward and now I know, I should have just shared in the blessing of the moments with you

escapeNow I need a place to hide away

To reflect; to seek a rebirth
In this place I will build a womb, nurture my wounded soul and cleanse my mind to the point where I first got lost

Now I have explained
Now I need a place to hide away

Truth – Original Poem

hand1Truth has no cost
No oppressors; no accusers
It is not bound by law nor governed by principles of acceptance
It is free of judgement

Truth: a wicked play on words
Often misunderstood and feared
It lives to be free, but hides from most

I have found truth
I have been hypnotized by love
I have experienced the idealism of a life complete

Caged by societies book of notions, rules and behaviors
Words twisted into law
Freedoms handcuffed to the fence of resistance

I have found truth
It shines in the stars
Echoes at the speed of light in moments of wonder

In the moments that touch us with the vigor of a rolling train
They move mountains; silence screams
In these moments time stops long enough for us to reflect on the importance

pic2Truth is in the education of nature
The emotional strain of mistakes made
Adorned by the gift of a heartbeat
Why do we wait for it to seize?

I have found truth
For all others, I am sorry

We Should Have Done This A Long Time Ago – Original Poem

Roys-Motel-Route-66We should have done this a long time ago

This road trip
This journey together of discovery

Without the shackles of life and only the stars and the wind as our guide

We should have gone barefoot on the sand letting the ocean current caress our ankles

The voices of leaders will show us the path
From King, to Buckley to Twain, their spirits; their vision lives on

Together we will laugh and cry without limit

Free to dance alone with the sunflowers
Sing on Beale Street
Bathe in the Mississippi
Scream from the tip of the arch
Revel in Route 66
Echo in the Canyon so grand
Salute the Presidents looking on with pride

We should have done this a long time ago

You and I
Kindred spirits who found a way to get lost along the way

In the darkness, we found light
imagesWith breath held under the depths of black sea bottom we survived to witness another sunrise

Now I see the endless highway and all the roads that will tempt us along the way

Start the ignition, leave the map behind and trust ourselves
It’s our time now
Just you and I and the melody of exploration