Friday, March 24, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

To tell you the truth, I don't really know that much about it. What I do know, I have tucked away into the folds of my mind, like a mended sock. The one that never leaves the sock drawer. Maybe it's waiting to be made into a puppet. Maybe this is how I see myself. Maybe I'm a stooge. Maybe a conquerer. More likely, just another confused bag of blood and bones. 

Everyone is an expert now, I know. We're all so well informed. We're all so woke and empathetic. Or we're fighting that pansy bullshit with god. Sorry, God. Wouldn't want to lowercase your sky savior - I'm sure with everything going on, that would be the thing that ruined his day. Her day? It's day?

Everything has to fall blue or red, and I think that's stupid when we got a bunch of purple people walking around. Different shades, but purple all the same. Ain't no purple storming capitals. Ain't no purple hunting drag queens. The purple are shaking their head and thinking, what the fuck happened to y'all? Who hurt you? Was it a drag queen? They've only ever made me laugh and be happy to be a part of the unique tapestry that is humanity. 

Doesn't make sense to me. It's like saying you hate people who have blonde hair. I don't know, maybe you hate them, too. Sure seems like there is enough hate to go around lately, and then some. 

I'm a very blue purple, like a blueberry. I don't expect anyone to agree with me. But I won't stand by while you sling hate at people. No matter what color shirt you wear. I'll pull your card. I'm just stupid enough to still do that. Today, at least. I can't speak to tomorrow. 

It gets harder and harder, though. Every day. Everything around us is so binary, and humans are so not

Friday, March 17, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

The wood of the fence was rough, sharp through the boy's thin, worn-out t-shirt. It was so old you could barely see the ghost of The Incredible Hulk still proudly on the chest. Inside the shirt, the boy's heart was pounding. Sweat ran down his back, down his face, into his eyes. They burned. They were burning already, but the sweat didn't help matters. From the back of the house, he could hear the old man yelling. 

The boy took a deep breath and vaulted the fence. Hit the ground running. This was not his first escape, and he knew the flavors of it well. This part was terror. On the other side of the woods, there would be caution and mild victory. By the time he reached the railroad tracks, he would be a man, laughing at the whole situation. Taking slow pulls from the bottle he had hidden in a bush. It was the only thing he had ever stolen. He would have paid for it if they would have let him buy it. There was money saved from yard work in his room. The old man never touched the money. He had to give him that at least. 

The whiskey was cool from the shade of its hiding place. The sun was high in the sky. He had a few hours, max. That would be enough time to drink fast, feel drunk, and still be home relatively sober by dark. He didn't worry about smell. The old man breathed whiskey. Everything in their life smelled like it. 

He pulled a bent cigarette out of his pocket, too. These, he did take from the old man. He didn't consider this stealing much like he didn't consider it stealing to eat food out of the fridge. The old man let him eat enough. He had to give him that, too. 

The cigarette made him feel a little spacey, and he was already feeling warm from the whiskey. The whiskey got the boy thinking. 

The Old Man was grieving. The boy knew that. The loss had hurt both of them, but it had broken the old man's heart. He started drinking. He got mad. He cried. He yelled. Hell, maybe he had that right. The old man never did cheat him, or beat him, or starve him. In a lot of ways the old man treated him pretty well. 

The boy took another sip of whiskey and it brought a flash image of the future. Be careful. The words were spoken in his mind. He didn't even recognize the voice. He put the bottle down and stared at it. He was slightly tipsy, but he figured he might as well go home. See what the old man was up to. Might be he'd want to go fishing. 

And maybe someday, they would be able to look at a puppy without bawling. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

The rain falls in sheets, then drips and drops, plodding steadily toward flood. You can see the fear in the eyes of the lowland folk. Those on the hill look at it as a kind of carnival. A chance to stay inside and catch up on being human. A chance to put on their sympathy masks and feel good about their moral benevolence. 

Homeless people will die. The folks on the hill aren't concerned about this. They're concerned about the essential workers. The small business owners. The good ones who fit nicely into the mold that was created to shape them after their birth. 

Some of the hill folk consider the rain a cleansing. After all, the homeless people were part of the dirt. 

The folks on the hill know that they will never flood, but the smart ones are concerned about a real danger. An ever-present danger. They are worried about the day when the serfs will have had enough and decide to climb the hill. 

The flood will be red on that day, and it will be a cleansing that was a long time coming. 

Friday, March 3, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

My subconscious rages like dog-eared pages, hanging bent and mostly spent. My confidence is a misplaced comma, a run-on sentence. My eyes are adequate interpreters of their environment, but there is much they don’t see. You look at a crowd of people, and you see faces. Different sizes, different races. Me? I see misery. Anxiety. Corruption. Users. 

The world is full of abusers. 

The world is also full of allies; there are more of them than you realize. We focus on the ugliness, but there is beauty, too. We focus on fucking up ourselves when we should be fucking you. The ones who hide and dart out for the sick and injured. The alone. They’re the ones to fuck, so be nicer to yourself. 

My mind is so alone, tossing pebbles like stones. Woe is me, the poster child of sad epiphanies. Look, man, you do what you can. Cut yourself some slack, some you can’t take back. Look in the mirror, no fear, you need to look past the surface like a seer. Cause, yeah, you’re ugly, we all are. It’s a question of intention, this dimension, oh, and by the way, did I mention…

Fuck you!

Friday, February 24, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

What can you do if your father was a big man? You can try to be a bigger man, or you can fail. I chose to fail. It was the easier of the two options. So, I thought. Back then. Now, I know that I would have done better having tried and missed the mark. 

You learn so much in hindsight. 

My old man had a loud voice, one of those loud, barking laughs that makes other people step their laughing up. He was physically big, too. Tall and wide. Broad forearms crossed with thick veins, like they were used to convey milkshake from his heart to his extremities. He had broad shoulders, too. He made every chair he sat in look small and apt to break. 

I disappeared into chairs, folding my body in on itself. Making myself small. My mother was so tiny you could hardly see her, sweater clutched at her neck against the chill of his all-encompassing shadow. We were gnats. We were grains of sand. 

We were invisible. 

Thing was, he seemed super visible. Overly visible. We didn't understand how much he kept hidden until it was too late. Until he had started a disappearing act that no one saw coming. 

Now, I wrestle at night. My brain versus my heart. I try to figure out where he stopped and my idea of him began. It's a battle I'll always fight. 

Maybe it's the birthright of every son, this tension. This heartbreak.

This love. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

The blood falls from the sky like rain. They say this because they have read the old, paper books; they have never seen real rain. Much like they have never seen the ocean blue. Some of them doubt that the ocean was ever blue. That animals lived in it. Great, giant fish and things called lobsters which looked like giant bugs. Crazy creatures only a sci-fi writer would create. The others believe. They call it faith. They are branded as simpletons, but they are right. 

So it goes (this is a phrase from one of the strangest books). It has become my mantra. 

There are books that tell of a being that lives in space and controls everything. There are pictures in some of the books. Weird creatures, more plants that you can imagine. I don't care what anyone believes. I know it is true. The books are a reflection of our selfishness. The books are our legacy. 

But fewer people read them all the time. 

I told a fellow at the wake-up station that the oceans used to be blue. Not acidic and filled with micro-plastic. He laughed in my face. He was a plastic miner. He knew more than me because it was his livelihood. He laughed at me. But I am right. 

So it goes. 

I believe it all. I believe there were once animals that flew in the sky. I believe that there was once a moon that lit up the night. I believe that there used to be food, not just capsules. I believe it all. It's the only thing keeping me from going to the dead-er like they want me to. 

They are talking now of burning the old books. And they may. I will be there if they do. I will jump on the fire and burn to death with my faith. With my truth. It won't change anything. But I will die with the words that kept me afloat. 

So it goes. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

That girl don't care. She's headed for ruin or pregnancy or both. She's gonna get labeled, but she don't give a fuck. At least not while anyone is watching. 

The boy is filled with hate. Filled to the brim with it. He feels it growing in his muscle fibers, poses in front of the mirror and imagines himself ferocious.

The cops don't care that much. They don't like dark-skinned girls to begin with. They think, of course she's headed down a bad path. She started out on one, didn't she?

The holier-than-thou church going women don't even like to see her. She exposes their hypocrisy. You're supposed to turn the other cheek, not a blind eye. 

The men at the bar watch her with wolf-eyes. They are pragmatic in their misery and depression - they are looking for low hanging fruit. 

The kids in the neighborhood. They are the only ones who speak to her with kindness. They see that she needs it. She is skittish and afraid. The kids don't understand the reason, but they feel it. 

When she snaps, the kids are the only one's she'll spare. The boy will go first, crying like a baby. Then, she'll hit the church and the bar. She'll save the police 'til last. It will be her last stand. Literally

She will spare the children.

Friday, February 3, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

You can feel it in your bones. Deep inside you, they are forming groups, building strength - you can feel their numbers growing. You can hear the grind of teeth and chatter. Grab a knife, try to carve it out. They are too fast for you. They hide so easily.

If you don't do something soon, they will control you. You will be a puppet, and you won't even know the difference. Feel them scrambling, claws scraping against bone, severing tendons bit by bit. You will soon fall apart, but not if you poison them. Look under the sink. Grab anything. The worse it tastes, the better. 

Starving them won't work. They don't feed on flesh, they feed on panic. Your terror energizes them. Your disgust gives them purpose. You can't drink it away. You can't smoke it up. 

It's a little like drowning. Your thoughts will escalate. Your heart will pound, you will feel it in your ears. You will try to channel the fear and fail. Drowning is easy. It just means giving up. 

You will give up. No doubt. No one can live like this for long. You'll burn them, slash them, try to sleep them away, but they are always waiting, hungry. 

When you die, they will leave you. Corpses don't feel fear. Don't fret. Now you know how the planet feels, stolidly waiting for its own demise. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

There are things we know. How to make good guacamole. How to build a bonfire on the beach. How to ignore that the entire state smells like weed. How to wear flip-flops, even if you call them thongs. And there are things we don't know. Cold is one of those things. It's a bay area morning when you see someone wearing a ski suit next to someone in a baby doll dress waiting for BART. And they both look cold. 

People get mad at the cold. Like the cold is, personally, a dick to them. They take offense. 

The cold don't care. 

Most of us don't know enough not to go outside with wet hair. I get lucky in that regard. 

Cold is whatever, man. I'm just glad we're not having wildfires. Earthquakes. Shootings. 

Oh my!

Wrap your fingers around a warm mug. Heat your socks up in front of the heating vent. Hang your towel over the radiator if you have one. But don't be mad about it. The warmth will return. And I will be waiting for it like drought land, ready to be flooded. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

The rain is steady, a monotony, washing away the sins of the city, sweeping them out to sea. Inside, dockers pants and nice skirts bitch about the weather, the flooding, the fact that the ground won't absorb the water. Well, who's fucking fault is that, California? How about the rest of the guys like fresh produce? Our land has been raped to provide it. Fertile soil turned to hard pack clay. Strip farming, but we don't call it that. 

Leave that to the miners. 

We're in a predicament. These rains are necessary. They will also birth disasters. Roads collapsing. Homes washing away. Wildfires next fall. I can't even go fishing without worrying about red tide and refuse. My daughters have never seen a full splay of stars. 

Maybe they never will. 

It's a failing. My failing, your failing. 

Everybody is failing, flailing. 

I'll just sit by the window, watch the rain, think about the changes that I have seen in 45 years. There have been a lot when you really think about it. Insect populations down. Rising tides. Hotter temps. Fewer birds in the sky. 

I saw a murmuration of starlings the other day. Maybe a couple hundred. Made me wonder what it looked like back when birds could turn the sky black. 

Go ahead, though. Keep recycling. Use paper straws. I'm sure it's the hundreds of straws I've used in my life and not the egregious appetites of corporate oil, Dupont, chemical plants. I'm sure that the poison runoff has everything to do with the aluminum can I put in the trash. 

I'm not trying to absolve myself. I suck, too. 

Just ask the fish.