I CRY ON SUNDAYS

Photography By Stony River/AU

Photography by Stony River/AU

I CRY ON SUNDAYS

I can hear the clickity-clack of the many
perfectly-heeled miniature leather shoes,

the swishing of multi-tiered dresses, the carrying
of tiny pocketbooks.  Young men swim in suits,

wear pressed ties from a sealed storage bin.

They are perfectly coiffed as they enter into
the house of reason, malfeasance or treason.

There, where the bell tolls, widows clutch their
pocketbooks, careful of ordained pickpockets.

I watch indifferently, with red puffy eyes

I remember my own personal losses:
losses without funerals.  I cry on Sundays.

Post-congregation parties gather at their local eateries,
in their Sunday’s best.  There, they down syrup-laden
pancakes in hedonistic abandonment.

Bellies are filled to the brim in this ritual,
this careless mocking of starving masses.

I watch with a soul-sadness so deep
that it cannot be named.  I could let out a howl,

but my Maker already understands.  Tears of
flesh-eating rain pour like rivers when

I cry on Sundays.

 

Alice Parris, Nashville, Tennessee

*First published in the Ann Arbor Review

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THE NEW REPUBLICAN PARTY

Photography by Stony River/AU

Photography by Stony River/AU

About two decade ago, I watched a Jerry Springer show
(before ongoing sexual content of programming) where
White Supremacists talked about a ‘race war’ coming
to our nation. I sat in prophetic churches and from the
pulpit I heard Pastors assert that Lord Jesus was taking
dominion over politics & every level of power in America.

Christian Evangelicals, the Tea Party and hate groups have
jumped into bed with one another. The realization that whites
are becoming the minority in the United States is behind the
plethera of anti-abortion, anti-birth control measures. The
whites only crowd know that without white babies being born,
they will have a Democratic reign without end.  The thinking
is that Alternative Lifestyles ‘threaten’ procreation hence
they are also declared a ‘threat’ to heterosexual marriages.

The North wind brought contagious hatred in the form of Sarah
Palin. With her, the Republican Party has given way to the Tea
Party. The Tea Party has no problem being anti-immigrant and
overtly racist. The Tea Party absorbed a myriad of white power
groups. They are collective. They are rabid in their hatred for
 anyone without white skin. Attacks on individuals of non-white
 minorities are emboldened.  Right Talk venues promote paranoia.

I suggest to you that the shootings in Wisconsin have Michelle
Bachmann’s fingerprints all over it, with her allegations of the
Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘infiltration’ within high level politics.
 This horrible paranoia of  brown skin has sent the Tea Party
and White Supremists groups to initiate all sorts of legislation
on local & state levels seeking to hamstring majority/minorities
voters; making voting difficult for those who take public
transportation or are too old to have birth certificates. Some
shorten early voter registration on the weekend before the
election vote in which entire black congregations have routinely
voted. College students can no longer present their student IDs.

This multi-headed hydra is what is now The New Republican Party.
Strange brew and strange bedfellows working with one goal: to
retain white superiority in the face of changing statistics against
this in America as well as worldwide. No, these players have not
lost their minds. Rather, they are advancing a unified racist plan.

Alice Parris

GOP: HIDING BEHIND GOD

Photography by Stony River/AU

Photography by Stony River/AU

In truth, for all of the GOP’s religious posturing, they do not believe the Word of God. Their politics and policies are the antithesis of Christian doctrine. Since when have the Catholics been the sole driving force of God’s wisdom and the depository of knowledge? A very limited theological understanding is on display from alleged “Catholics” in the Congress, Senate, Fox news and Right wing talk shows. It is an abomination to despise the poor, afflicted, sick, elderly and the least among us. It shows an flagrant lack of charity. The apostle Paul states that the greatest virtue is charity. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Ist Corintihians 13:1   “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”  This is because God is love.

What is on display is “another gospel” being preached. It has no value or virtue. It is devoid of power. It shall not be allowed to prevail. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 The sowing of fraud in the name of God shall not go unpunished. Do these deceivers think that God is sleeping?  “Behold He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” Psalm 121:4  The very thing to which the GOP have committed themselves will turn upon them and devour them. 

Their money shall not buy them the White House, for their purpose is power for the sake of power and not for the good of the people they claim to represent. They do not offer a vision of justice or unity. The have no vision.  “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind and naked:…” Revelations 3:17  Misrepresenting God is an offense for the which judgement must be administered.   Do not be angry or dismissive of the true Word of God you claim your policies are based upon.  Obey the Word of God and turn from the propagation of a false gospel or stop hiding behind God while you violate His Word. The choice and the judgement that follows is yours.

 Alice Parris

GOP DIABOLICS IN PLAY

Photography by Stony River/AU

Photography by Stony River/AU


The GOP fueled by the erratic Tea Party rose to power in 2010 based on
repetitious lies. The promises that they said were their priorities were fictitious.
They swept in countless GOP governors to do the work of taking away rights, services
& sustenance to the families over the which they exerted control in a plethera of states.

In a bizarre campaign promise contradiction, they led with their social agenda. Trying
to destroy unions, women’s rights & college education. All of this done in the name of
Christian values. They are false Christians, not having understood the Beatitudes.

They are so full of hate for President Obama that they have sold their souls in the hating.
It is written, “But he that hateth his brother, is in darkness, and walketh in darkness and
knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness has blinded his eyes.” I John 1:11

Imagine denying a woman the right to choose, forcing her to have a baby, then denying
her the assistance she may need to feed and provide for her child. This will happen if GOP
governors are given “block medicaid funds.” Corrupt governors will just give the money to
their rich donors. How will these children of “rape & incest’ be fed?

Imagine the super rich fortified in their mansions with an arsenal of weapons to shoot any
hungry, roaming masses that have become their victims. Shall we see massive death in
America? Shall we see the middle class homeless? Shall we witness snipers in the ivory
towers of the rich shooting down hungry protesting people? The GOP/Tea Party future
for America is sick and dark.

How long shall the blinded stay blind? How long shall the racist hate, voting against his
own interest? What baby boomer does not have elderly parents on medicare, in assisted
living or nursing homes? These middle-agers will have to pay for the medical care of their
parents who have paid into the social security system their whole lives & got cheated
on medicare to give tax breaks to the rich.

Be afraid. Be very afraid if the GOP have their way. Children, women of reproductive age,
college students, baby boomers & the elderly have to let go of their “fear of a black man”
and begin to see the alternative for what it is: guaranted increase in income for the rich and
for the politicians that make it possible. Heaven help us all, for despair & death is on the
doorstep in America.

Alice Parris

THE FAR RIGHT NEFARIOUS AGENDA

Photography by Stony River/AU

Photography by Stony River/AU

Just what have the newly minted Tea Party/Republicans been up to since they were sworn in? Well, one glaring thing is their desire to “take over” a women’s uterus. Do they wish to see all women return to the state of being barefoot and pregnant? What is this absurdity of trying to redefine “rape” or “incest?” What is this attempt to deny a woman, dying from a pregnancy gone wrong, medical care..to have her turned out into the streets? Have these people gone stark raving mad? This seems like a self-fufilling prophecy. Just this summer, the Tea Party bemoaned “Sharia law in America.” THEY are the one’s re-branding it and taking it as their own. They do want religious rule in America, only you’ve got to be a Christian or there is no place at the table. The only people that they want to see have equal rights appear to be heterosexual white males.

I suggest to you that Caucasians in America took a look around and saw that they were not reproducing at the same rates as “minorities.” Then (with a black man in the White House) a fevered push on immigration, guns flying off the shelves, a rise in racist militias, talk of succession & a waxing nostalgic about the Southern Confederacy & the Civil War. (replete with a big ole Scarlett O’Hara bash)

I further suggest to you that the flagrant disrespect towards the POTUS, especially the carrying of open fire arms at an event where he was speaking & the Arizona shooting all stem from the same irrational fear. The fear is of a “colored planet.” We all know that only liberals can tolerate justice and equality for all. Since the President of the United States is obliged to help shape the world, they just have got to get a Republican white man back in there or our country is going straight to perdition! Little matter if Republicans ruined the world’s economy. Now, somehow, Obama did it! No, what he did was win the Presidency fair and square!

It does not matter what President Obama says or does. They have got to take the power back come hell or high water. It doesn’t matter if pregnant women die in the streets, it does not matter how many Hispanics they have to push into the sea, it does not matter how many sick people die, it doesn’t matter how many homeless freeze to death, it doesn’t matter who risks life & limb fighting in wars. It does not matter who gets hurt in this tug of war for power. The only thing that matters is who wins- it is certainly not about fiscal discipline.

Last time that I checked, the Republicans in the Congress couldn’t count the votes prior to taking a vote on the Patriot Act. By the way, the Patriot Act will help protect from foreign & domestic terrorists. Which one of you will be the next to volunteer to be gunned down because nobody knew that a POCKET OF EVIL was fomenting nearby? Tea Party/GOP/bipolar conservative movements, kiss my ass!

Alice Parris

MY CAREER AS A PSYCHIATRIC NURSE IN ARIZONA

Alice Parris-Arizona State Hospital

Alice Parris-Arizona State Hospital

I spent sixteen years of my twenty-five year nursing career as a Psychiatric
Nurse. In Arizona, they call it Behavioral Health. I worked in private facilities
for adolescents, where they had a private chef, to registry work with adults-
also in private Behavioral Health facilities, to the Arizona State Hospital where
I worked on all of its Forensic Units. I spent more time in Geriatric Forensic and
Adolescent Forensic than I spent with adults. Any call-offs by scheduled Registered
Nurses could mean that any nurse could be floated to any unit at anytime.

When I first went to the State Hospital, as a registry nurse, I admit that I
was terrified by the looks in the eyes of the patients. We would describe it
as “looking off.” I spent my first day grateful to be in the medication room
preparing medications and not on the floor being terrified. Patients would cue
up to receive scheduled medications at a door at the med room which had a top
that could open, while the bottom of the door was locked. This was to prevent the
possibility of a newly admitted patient from charging at the medication nurse.
A staff member stood beside the patient to help identify them, many or most had
removed their admission wrist bands.

I cannot describe the first few minutes of that first day, starting with the
sound of doors being locked behind me. Fear welled up inside of me. By the end
of the first day, I had been chased around the unit by a new patient (who had
been in and out of physical restraints all day.) New patients were not stabilized
on their medications and staff did not know their “cuing behaviors.” Cuing behaviors
are predictable movements within certain patients that would proceed an attack on
other patients or staff member-such as pacing, increased verbal assaults, facial
expressions. As a medication nurse, the faster a nurse could draw up IM medications,
the safer the staff would be. Staff would dislike a “slow nurse” who put them at risk.

Chaos could break out at any time, over anything. When one patient “blew” it was
like the popping of popcorn; others would follow suit. Soon a “riot” would have
broken out on a unit. One of the jobs of the floor staff was to monitor for cuing
behavior and when observed, notify the charge nurse or med nurse so an oral liquid
form of the medication could be offered to the patient. If the patient refused, it
would more than likely lead to a “show-down” and sadly, physicians orders for a
Seclusion and Restraint would be issued for the patient, so that they could receive
their medications IM. Seclusions and Restraints follow strict safety guidelines for
the patients: continuous monitoring of vital signs, bathroom needs and a re-assessment
for compliance every two hours. Remember at a state facility, if compliant per
verbal agreement, the patients were allowed back into the general population. Many
of these patients had already had a brush with the law or community and were determined
to be a danger to themselves or to others. Some were petitioned and some were court
ordered until “competency” could be established (if facing legal charges.) Some patients
could not understand the charges against them and had to be prepared to go before a judge
by virtue of role-play undertaken by professionals.

Malingerers, who had broken the law, but were there to avoid “real jail” were easily
weeded out by behaviors. Occassionally, a patient had become so “institutionalized,”
that they were terrified of leaving a “step-down” unit and going into a monitored
living environment outside of the high metal fences and barbed wire. Such a patient
could easily try to “cheek” their medication as to allow the fullness of their mental
illness to resurface. By “cheeking” I mean not swallowing their medication-hiding them
in the mouth, until they could “stock-pile” it.( which in itself is dangerous should
the patient decide to try an attempt at suicide.) Not taking medication would lead to
the de-stabilization of the patient. Erratic behavior and violence were not far behind.
There was a protocol to ensure that patients could not “cheek” their meds. Every now and
again, a patient would “outfox” the staff, anyway. Every shift that a mental health
professional stepped onto the floor of a Forensic Unit was an act of courage and bravery.

It is needful to make a distinction between “non seriously mentally ill” and “seriously
mentally ill.” Also, to make a distinction between someone with suicidal ideation versus
homicidal ideation. “Non seriously mentally ill” could be cyclothymic, bipolar along with
personality disorders. Also, poor impulse control, poor insight in various combinations.
Seriously mentally ill, could cover the gamut: sociopaths (antisocial personality disorders)
with homicidal ideation, Paranoid Schizophrenia; a combination of diagnosises rendering them
incapable of holding down a job. I believe that many homeless in Arizona are mentally
ill. They fell through the “criteria-cracks.” They were too ill to get out of the relentless sun in the summer where dozens yearly would die from heat stroke. The summer before I left Arizona, the good citizens went around to the homeless passing out bottles of water. I often wondered why emergency lodging was not provided for these people, for the water would run out. They looked too shabby or scary to hang out in the air-conditioned mall. They would more than likely be chased away by mall security for frightening the shoppers and ruining their spending day.

While the conversation ensues about guns and the mentally ill, it is my belief that people who display poor impulse control, who hate & fear are just as dangerous as the seriously mentally ill, in a “perfect storm. It is my concern that people who are not knowledgeable about the differing degrees of mental illness do not put everybody into one lump. There are “Patient’s Rights” to consider. The mentally ill have these rights, as well they should. In Arizona, there is petitioning process available. I suspect that those who observed Jared’s behavior were afraid of him. They would be afraid to petition him, even his parents were probably justifiably afraid of him. They would not want the repercussions of having petitioned him not knowing what he might do when he came out. Most of the community probably recognized the possibility that he had “homicidal ideation.” Police can be called in to pick up and take to an assessment facility those who need mental health services but are not willing to seek them on their own.The criteria in Arizona is “danger to self or danger to others.” Someone could have called the police anonymously to ask them to monitor a person behaving strangely within their neighborhood or community.

It is my hope that this blog will help America not to further stigmatize people who have already been stigmatized. Americans always seem to need a new underdog to kick-about. I hear the words, “nuts” and “crazies” bandied about. It is NOT OKAY! Rather use the terms “disturbed” or “seriously mentally ill.” Talk about “suicidal or homocidal ideation.” I pray that the people who are seeking a solution, find an effective, compassionate way to deal with mental illness as it relates to gun ownership. We do not need any more cruelty in our minds or our conversations. We do not need those in need of our help to
be hiding fearfully in the shadows. We do not need the seriously mentally ill to feel paranoid about being discussed in a perceived “threatening” way. This might prove counterproductive. All of the seriously mentally ill are not in “the system.” Our civility in this specific matter, itself, could save lives.

Alice Parris

DANCING HEARTS ARE STILL REMEMBERED

Photography by Stony River/AU

Photography by Stony River/AU


Lavender-turquoise-salmon sea shells
jangling from cherry-red hip scarves.
Yellow, red, orange & brown crisp leaves

blowing on a near-frost morn, circling
around sensible shoes for painful arches.

Dancing feet are still remembered.

Gone are the tinkling sound of anklets
above Aboriginal feet. Pages slowly yellow.
Turkey oven mitts replace youthful hands.

Hippie graveyards are filling quickly this season.
Blood medicated to move through more efficiently,
even though aging bodies move like a sea of slugs.

Mescaline revelations are a vague notion, now.
Desert moons whispered their neon-wisdoms.
Now, the rumble announces a newly deafening ear.

Dancing minds are still remembered.

Love for humanity was poured out like LSD
upon this generation of seekers. Quietly, they
have been taken away; one by one. The world
is the poorer for it; with its fierce anal pincers.

Dancing hearts are still remembered.

Alice Parris

*Plucked from my poetry archive