Friday, July 31, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Don't sit down. Stand up. You got thoughts in your head! Get 'em out! Let everyone know what kind of person you are; that shit makes things easier for us. Us being the rest of us, the not-yous. The not yous have a stake in all this shit, too. It's not just you, standing on the top of a mountain, shouting truths into the sky. Peep this: there are so many people; they all believe different things; they value different things. You can't speak for all of them.

Speak for yourself, so we can start dividing into camps. 

And maybe it ain't about one camp fighting another. Maybe it's more like: yo, we don't want people like this in our camp. It's just like family reunions. Uncle Jeb keeps getting wasted and hitting on the cousin's? We stop inviting that fool.

My camp is really simple. In my camp, you cannot put your pleasure, motivations, or anything else above the well-being of others. If it doesn't hurt anybody, then you do whatever you want. No one cares. If it hurts someone? We're running you out of the town on a rail.

And hurt comes in fists and words. It comes in missed job opportunities, failed promotions, mortgages that don't happen, cops that can't see past their ignorance and hate, rapes and harassment. 

Yeah, honestly, Capitalism isn't going to work in my camp.

In my camp, we're going to try to help each other because when we're all doing well, the camp will be an awesome place to lay down your head. It will be a place where no one goes hungry unless everyone is starving. It will be a place where we use our own individual skills to better the community. I can write stories, songs, and teach your kids to read and write. 

I need people who can cook, clean, build, inspire, soothe, listen, talk and more.

I need you in my camp. Is what I'm saying. 

But you're going to have to stop the divisions. We don't call is Socialism. Communism.

We call it human decency. 


  1. Replies
    1. Sounds like a good camp to me! Maggie says we'll be moving in.

  2. Margie doesn’t think of herself as old. That’s the trouble. Inside she feels like a young girl, tugging up her socks as she chases after the neighborhood boys for a chance to play ball. And then she’ll glance at her gnarled hands or pass a mirror and wonder who that friggin’ old lady is and why she’s back again to terrorize her day. But Margie’s body…well, there are changes that can’t be denied. She doesn’t bounce back as fast, be it a bout with illness or a joint that wasn’t happy with what it was asked to do. She’s slower in the morning, sometimes an ache in a place she didn’t expect but then remembered her mother complaining about the same malady. “Och,” she’d say, collapsing into her Edith Bunker armchair. The Archie version untouched since her father’s death. “Gettin’ old ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, kiddo.”

    She again catches a glimpse of her own hands, as she sits on the curved wooden bench in the park. It’s a nice park, with a walkway along a calm tributary of the mighty river that cuts through their valley. In better days vendors abounded. Flowers and coffee and gelato. Not that she spent much on those. She never had much use for flowers, they died so fast. Waste of money, she’d tell Dan, although she couldn’t get him to stop. Back then. Now, maybe she’d spring for a fancy coffee every couple of weeks, but otherwise her disposable income was stretched so thin you could see sunlight through the threads. The activity, though. That’s what she was missing. It would be nice for atmosphere, and she could imagine being on the banks of the Seine. People walking little dogs. Children flying kites. And all the old women, with their string shopping bags and elegance. Old women aren’t so scorned in France, aren’t so invisible.

    Not that she would know; it was just something she’d been told once upon a time.

    Oh, how weary she was of those once upon a times. She wished she’d gone to France. Hell, she wished she’d had the gelato when she’d had the chance. Would that small amount of change have really mattered? What had it purchased, back then? Cotton balls or magazines or some other thing that she would not have missed doing without that week?

    Useless thoughts, she scolds herself. She breathes in the damp, muddy air, watches an egret sail by, pulls herself up a little taller, trying to be elegant. Thinking of string bags and cheese and long loaves of French bread.

    He’d laugh at her attempts, that man who’d brought her the soon-to-be dying flowers, and she conjures up his face, and laughs right back. “Yeah, yeah,” she mutters at him, shaking her head, sinking back into her usual slouch. “I’ll get the damn gelato.”

    1. Ah, how beautiful, how poignant, how bittersweet. I think I love Margie.

  3. The ready room was comfortable, more like a spa than what I had expected. There were several well-padded chairs, a wet bar in one corner and a variety of paintings on the walls. I had expected that there would be a plethora of view-screens or other electronic media plastered everywhere, but these were all old-school, created by hand, using the implements and materials masters like Rembrandt and Constable would have used.

    “You’re very punctual.” The hostess smiled, looking up at the clock on the wall. “So many people arrive way too early and have to wait. Most people are impatient and overly excitable. I prefer it when they’re more reserved and appreciative.”

    I wasn’t impatient or overly excitable, but I wasn’t a typical client either. I was looking for a way in, wanting to work in the park. I might be greeting newcomers myself in a few months if my clearances were all green.

    “Punctuality’s a virtue, my mother used to say. I always listened to what she said. She was a formidable woman, a force to be reckoned with.” I didn’t mention anything more about the other things she’d told me. She had told me to never make a fuss or to do anything to make myself stand out. A person’s exceptionalism was better kept under wraps, most of the time.

    “And do you always do what your Momma said?” The hostess’s smile widened, displaying a formidable set of veneers. She wasn’t one to hide her own talents, that was for sure. “Okay,” she went on, suddenly all business. “You said you’ve never worked in a park or even used one. Is that the truth?

    I nodded, preferring to remain mysterious. “I’ve seen the adverts,” I said. “I even tried a little limb-hacking, back when it was in fashion. But the technology’s come on a lot since then, I understand. I’m intrigued to see by how much and how comprehensive it's become.”
    The hostess’s jaw dropped, revealing the sides of her teeth. She had an enviable display with embedded embellishments, with a couple of dozen gemstones now showing. I wondered if they were all fake; there was little else here that was genuine.

    I was going to fit in here well, I thought.

    “It was just a thing we all did,” I explained. “I knew a guy who knew another. He had an investment in a start-up company. It was all very crude at the time, little more than a virtual glove which could be hooked up to the internet. It was quite primitive and base but that was what was popular then.”

    “Well, yes. I can imagine." She sounded frostier now, her vowels more clipped and lower in pitch. "But you'll find we’re more wholesome here. We provide curated entertainment for the whole family, within prescribed guidelines. We have a variety of attractions, catering for either singletons or groups of all sizes. The only limits are what can be imagined. You’ve seen the adverts; they’re incredibly impressive. But they can only hint at what it'll be like to experience it for the first time. It’s going to be such a rush for you. Totally euphoric.”
    And so, I gave myself up to her, letting her demonstrate the technology. I had thought that I would be impressed but I was wrong.

    I was amazed.

    1. Brilliant concept, brilliantly executed... and of course they'd be called "parks." Well done!

    2. Intriguing...and what Leland said.

  4. Lorena
    Lorena changes her nail color with the same alacrity and frequency as she changes cars. It would be gauche to choose one’s nail color based on the color of the vehicle, so instead, she chose a nail color, and then found a car to match.

    Usually, the car was attached to a man. And so she changed men often, too. This was no great loss to Lorena, as she found most men to be unchallenging. Find and feed their vanity and they were hers for as long as she wanted them.

    So it was that she came to be driving a Lamborghini Aventador AVJ in the color “Verde Scandal,” which once belonged to her late husband, on the famed Overseas Highway, on her way south from Florida City.

    This husband was different. It was rather disappointing, his dying of his own volition. It seemed unnatural, a break with tradition. But the gods were chaotic, and would do their will as they would.

    She wondered at the lack of southbound traffic, but took full advantage of it and the vehicle’s power. She felt part of the drivetrain, the wind parting for her. It was almost like flying over the waters below.

    On the passenger seat was the black veil and pillbox hat she wore to the funeral to accent her skinny black jeans and black silk blouse.

    Lorena was anything but conventional, and she couldn’t wait to get to Key West.

  5. Planets

    Is this our awakening,
    This fanciful take-off
    To a new planet we invented
    While the toast burned
    And the news reel jammed?

    We hearken back to youth,
    But it doesn’t hold our truth
    Any more. We stack up pages,
    Lived, unlived and cancelled out.

    The things we loved we list,
    The others whimper in the dark.
    Suits step up bodies to succeed,
    Not glancing back like Oedipus.
    We regard their steady march
    For they know not where they go.

    Our breakout blasts in colours,
    Ripping this red firework sky.
    It’s our token totem to the earth,
    Awaiting our return.

    Patience holds while we learn
    And echo our lessons hereafter,
    Floating out on tepid waters,
    Our anchors raised, sails mastered.

    1. I love the language in this one... hearken... sails mastered. And the colors and the sounds. And of course, you had me at burned toast and jam[med].

    2. Thanks, Leland! I kind of like burned toast lol

  6. The hermit

    The hermit cuts silk pearls in his garden,
    Trims back the seaweed conspiring to wander
    Into its own retreat, starlit, starstruck.

    He stems the waters seeking to slide out.
    Life suspended never knocks him offside.
    Patience is the thing sustaining him these days.

    He can wait. The waiting always waits for him.
    In his mind he’s trudging untravelled roads,
    Living experiences he’s only dreamed of.

    His house curves like a crab’s hard shell,
    All these doors stand ajar, never closed,
    So the air can breathe and run on through.

    He never questions why life is on pause,
    Only endures it in a way it becomes endurable.
    Like a bird he waits in his nest for spring.

    1. This is beautiful, and not just because I am a hermit.

    2. Thanks, Leland. hee hee hermit! It's about us all in lockdown. Doing mundane things and imagining we're somewhere else or those places are floating into our reality.


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