Living Down Stream
I acknowledge Frank Natale’s contribution to my writer’s journey that accelerated when I took his Results Course presenter training in 1986. Writing and publishing were among my first list of “chosen results” and all of those that followed.
The following piece was written as a poem in the early 90s that I performed at several venues while living in Los Angeles. Ironic that, over twenty years later, the themes of corruption and excess, freedom and self-reliance are even more relevant. Share as you will.
Living Down Stream
There will be no revolution as long as we are prisoners of ourselves. We’ve built our homes beneath floodgates and mortgaged our lives to the gatekeepers, to the bankers and lawyers and the home shopping networks.
We’re programmed for conspicuous consumption, believe we’re lacking something essential and that peace can only be found outside of ourselves. We believe the ultimate truth is a fashion statement, that perfect breasts attract true love and you can lose 50 pounds for only $19.95.
We are the slaves of credit card debts, Wall Street wizards and junk bond junkies. We are the slaves of apathy. The American Dream of upward mobility is dying on the smoldering compost pile of our disposable society.
We’ve lived long enough to see the truth unfold before us. Wealth is hereditary.
Wealth is stolen. Wealth is luck. Wealth is a job-related accident. The barriers to gaining ground are great. It takes money to make money, and we are broke.
We have lost our way. We’re afraid of asking for more, of losing our jobs, of getting sick, of our children being shot by other children. We are afraid to look the homeless in the eyes and afraid to look in the mirror at ourselves. We’re afraid of the men who live up stream, the men who control the floodgates, and the money and the politicians.
Yet, we don’t have to be afraid. We possess the freedom to stand up and speak out.
We don’t need more laws or lawyers. We need more citizens who are intolerant of deception, who speak with their neighbors – citizens who leak more stories to the press. Men and women willing to take back their power, who choose to live on higher ground and make the world safe for all of the children who live down stream.
We’ve reached the turning point. The moment of truth has arrived. It’s time for us to lead ourselves out of the darkness, to take back our birthright and to exercise our freedom. It’s time for courage. It’s time for change. It’s time for each of us to govern our selves.
Ralph Cissne, 1992