Broken Hearts’ Club Dance

Once upon a time, I had a crush on Raymond Podany.

Two seventh graders at Holy Family School, we danced our first dance in the school auditorium. I remember the first kiss, in the bleachers sitting in his lap.

Collegiate and cool, he was also awkward and shy.

Brainy and bold, I was anything but.

We went steady.

It didn’t work out.
Our 13 year old hearts broken,

we broke up.

Never to kiss  in the bleachers again.

Once upon a time, 

I asked the high school boy next door to the Queen of Hearts Dance, a Valentine’s Day affair at my all girls school.

He accepted.

We went to the movies.

We went steady.

We got married.

Had three children.

Twenty-eight years later, we broke each others’ hearts.

In the end, we got divorced.

It didn’t work out.

Hardly ever to see the other in person again.

Once upon a time, 

I fell in love with a knight.
He shimmered in his armor,

chivalrous and polite.

Once in a blue moon, riding his white horse,

he would charge into my life.

Camelot, Camelot, we would pretend for an hour or two,

Or maybe a day, if I was lucky.

Then the knight on his stallion

would disappear into the mist,

with no promise of return.

Dysfuntionally ever loyal,

to his helpless damsel in distress,

the man was never really mine.

Hearts broken, it didn’t work out.

And now, I have learned to dance backwards and alone,

for a very long time.

Once upon a time,

I fell in love with my country,

in my pajamas,

watching Apollo moon shots VII through XI,

on my parents’ Trinitron TV. 

My universe expanded. It seemed even the stars posed no limit to what Americans could do.

And so at seventeen, not old enough to vote, I worked on my very first campaign: McGovern & Shriver, 1972. The Democrats went down in a landslide. My patriotic fervor was badly bruised and damaged but far from  destroyed.

May Day, I marched on the Mall, for Private First Class Michael St. Onge, my friend’s twenty-year old brother who died in Vietnam.

Michael died for our country, as have too many men and women to number, since 1776. They died for the liberty we take for granted, defending the integrity of the ballot, defending a fragile, free and just democracy.

And since The Bicentennial of 1976, I have not missed going to the polls on a single election (well maybe a primary in 2005😔). My candidates have won and my candidates have lost. And regardless of who won,  on Inauguration Day, that gentleman (Sad, that this has not changed.😔) whoever that might be has has been my president.

But with Donald Trump’s election, my heart breaks for my country — the country I love and thought I knew. The United States of America, united and defined as Thomas Jefferson wrote, at our founding in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, 

that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed by their Creator,

with certain unalienable rights,

that among these are Life,


and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Emphasis on ALL MEN, in the universal sense of the words as our founding fathers and mothers intended. 

Yes, my heart is broken. But I will never break up with the country I love.

So January 21st, 2017, I am going dancing and marching on The Mall once again. Dancing with my brothers and sisters of every description in The Women’s March on Washington.

Inauguration Day, Donald Trump, as much as I hate to say it will be the president. That I cannot change.

And I know that some people I know and care about voted for the man. I will never understand that but I care for them still.

But Trumpism’s appeal to and normalization of our basest instincts, I will endeavor my best not ever to abide.

Bigotry, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia, White supremacy and nationalism are antithetical to the American way.

January 21st Donald Trump, president-elect will swear on the Holy Bible to protect, defend  and uphold the Constitution of these United States.

And with a broken heart, for the country I love,

daily, emphatically, fervently,

I will vow to do the same.

How about you?

Singularly yours,

The Rev: Joani

%d bloggers like this: