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  2007 Paula Baker

Stepping in Dogma

I don't remember the first time I stepped in a pile of dogma
but I know it was as a child
that's the best time to snatch the minds of the unsuspecting,
kids make such obedient soldiers, especially when they're 18

back then, who was I to question religion, politics, history,
after all, dogma looked at in the mirror spells 'am god'

so, as a good little girl I got all the shots,
tried to blend in at school,
sang the words to the star spangled banner
even the part about bombs bursting in air,
ate what was put on the plate
without asking what pork was
or what hot dogs were made of,  

never really wondering how holidays came to be,
who wrote the history books
or why war was normal

As I grew, I stepped in an even deeper pile,
of questions

the box of reality was expanding,
but I was still decades away from knowing that the word belief
contained the word 'lie' right in the middle of it

the first conscious wondering 
was why black people had to live on their own hill
separate from white people, even poor white people,
why they never went to school or church with us,
why when I did see them at the post office or grocery store
they always looked down and  never made eye contact, 
why was there such unspoken tension,

I also wondered (silently, of course) why the pastor read the same stories
over and over every sunday and why I couldn't relate to them

in the many boxes of reality inhabited since childhood
I followed the roots of curiosity, wondering about lots of things,
especially my ever-growing collection of beliefs

during the expansion, I started to wonder:

who am I

who lives on other stars

who was the first person 
to look at a  pig/cow/chicken and think
to kill and eat it,

why is that man sleeping on a grate in the snow

do other people think like me

my biggest questions turned out to be:
why don't we question,
and why is man so desensitized to homelessness,
starvation, injustice, and the perils of nature  

why are we comfortable talking about war but not peace

why are peacemakers and activists for political, environmental and social change
considered troublemakers  

why is there still a holiday named after someone who 'discovered'
a continent already inhabited by millions of people

why are vegetarians considered weird

how did an actor become president of the united states
(I eventually came to see that it's one of the most important skills for the job)

why do people who don't question seem so content

I am on the path of conscious (r)evolution

in the winter of my life,
I have only a palm full of wisdom:
that thoughts, choices, and perceptions create my reality
that truth and lies chose the same hiding place,
in plain site

that all cultures share the same dream
to be loved and to be heard

that the tangled ball of yarn called life
is one long thread, woven into a web of diversity 

that we are multidimensional beings
taking short-cuts through time and space,
fireflies in a midnight sky

and that to know anything more
I will have to unshackle and empty the mind, once again
and step naked into the deepest pile of all,

by Sharon Pacione
October 14, 2011
Yahoo poetry group