Common Ground

Check your assumptions at the door
of this Place. If you want them back,
Think twice before you enter.

A young Enrolled Blackfeet, six foot four
Wisdom behind his easy manner. His features,
Asiatic, I would not have guessed
save for his words.

We traded stories, walking through the twilight
of an Upper Midwest town
Life on “the Rez” for him; for me, growing up
in a former Spanish/U.S. colony
in Southeast Asia.

Lalo’s passion, rooted in Mexico
and South Texas
It crosses many borders; in its wide embrace
are children from Central America
following the Death Train’s tracks
Indigenous people in this Upper Midwest town
hearts yet bound to the Land
of which they were once a part.

All are Family, blood-ties or no. All are

Suddenly, today,
In deep soul-stretching waters
An epiphany struck me like a wave:
I knew the answer
to a 30-year old question!

In a country spanning the spectrum
from milk white
to brown
to Aboriginal black
I, a lighter-skinned Mestiza, the object of stares.

Was it aspiration in their eyes?
Or, worse yet — servility?
I still can’t quite describe
the looks, the unspoken conclusions
I so resented
But now I know Why.

What will you do with your assumptions
when we depart this Place?
I plan to leave a few behind
and travel home lighter.

© 2017 Dorothy Long Parma


The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

One thought on “Common Ground

  1. Interesting write. I like how the title ties it all together, and that the word ‘ground’ in that sense can be physical land as well as mental/emotional. There is a good lesson within your words. Would that we could all find such common ground and leave our assumptions behind! Thank you for sharing with us this month. 🙂


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