Insomniacs

We are the tentpoles that hold the night up
like the clerk says at the store under the
flickering lights, “Someone’s gotta do it.”
We scribble and scramble under the 12AM
clarion call, a division between dream’s
heroes and a dumb clock’s limitless zeroes.

We are the janitors of glittery whimsy,
circling the edge of horizons for all
tomorrow’s parties, all yesterday’s
shipwrecks, we sift through thoughts so
you can press one thank you for
optioning to possibly stay awake with us.

We are the scratch and dent products
who still manage to show up on time,
we know well the cadence of crickets
while your snoring just patented a
lifestyle product- we dutifully take
placebos as ZZZs do-si-do around the planet.

We are the sleepless but not without
rest, we have whimsy and carefree
colors that could give a wink about
another minute unaware of our teetering
trepid feet, there is thrill and thrall
in not sleeping at all, damned if I miss a beat.

Septembers

A sucker for your long golden light
somewhere about 7pm, interrupts my
thinking about chopsticks, how to
hold the rice better, or do my
hands just tremble slightly
with age? The year doesn’t.
Look at this light. How it
stills the clouds, and people
seem to walk slower as if we are
bathing in it. Why not? Two weeks
ago, I drove to a small town, French
and historic, in Missouri. It was the
Journey really, but it was all about
two minutes forty seconds of solar
bewilderment, a moondance, such
light as that- we just stopped
being adjectives, eclipsed.
Linger longer, you golden
kiss, do you know how
your protons make me
giddy? I get to
experience you
in a life, in
time, for
now I’m
suspended
in your amber
and for some reason
I always remember Septembers.

Just this

Theatres, when empty, do not create drama in its absence. Leave it to humans. Strive- as much as you can- for whatever gradients of emptiness you find fulfilling.

Sighting in the Wild

I’ve been seen in the urban landscape, making mouth sounds. Clicky, what the hell:

  1. Issues
  2. Hermit Kingdom
  3. Feels (edited version of 39 Feels, previously published)
  4. Man Enough

Let It Be That Kind Of Rain

Let it be that kind of rain
enough arrhythmic percussion to
make any of us that want our own
music to be heard to shut up and
listen to an expression older
than any feeling, any sound.
 
Let it be that kind of rain
that washes the window of the
hesitant dirt of amassed waiting
loosed for tonight the firm grit
of quivering endurance giving a
blue dawn effortless clarity.
 
Let it be that kind of rain
cedes from one water to another
tiny islets of dreams gone from maps
little floods will sometimes divulge
magic geographies just as closing
the umbrella soaks you, do this
just one more time if only in a
sweet slumber of unknowing
let it be that kind of rain.

Fer Crahn Awt Laud!

Goodness gracious, pipe down! Let’s address the facts as we know them:

  • I’ve not gone anywhere, just creating community, moving an entire residential program, an’ all that ye squabs!
  • #AVLWordfest begins this week! Certain entertainments I’ve offered here will be offered there, and you better pay up, it’s all for charity! Really!
  • Mean people still suck.
  • Yes, this is the language of the street. Anyone arriving here for the purposes of #HeavyVetting ought not to read posts made after 2am EDT (ahem, not speaking to an audience), rather they should contact either my coterie, subconscious, or cotillion for all the dish.

Regardless, the world as we know it ends on April 19th or 20th, as it does every year. Please carry on.

nothing_to_see_here_naked_gun

Cosmic Lab Rat

Every now and then, another physicist comes up with a cosmological model that either insinuates or plainly states that we’re living in some kind of simulation. Not some wingnuttery, but solid peer reviewed, Ivy League stuff. While it’s not my inclination, it makes me wonder- it’s so bizarre right now, our cultural climate and how we made choices, what lights up our brains, that I feel at times like some kind of cosmic lab rat. Throw a variation here, dial novelty up to 11 there. See what the rat does, those in his sphere, his other interconnected bubbles. It’d be fascinating to observe all of this madness from that vantage point. If I am indeed in the exceedingly rare chance a cosmic lab rat, I’d love to tell the experimenters to sod off.

The Sparrow, The Crumb, and a Certain Wednesday After

We really needed eggs, biscuits, and coffee.

It was a start on a morning that was, finally, chilly enough to feel right for November. Neither my friend Felicity nor I looked at our phones much. Nor did we say much. That is the hallmark of a great friendship- you can be quiet together, explosively sneeze without embarrassment, disagree here and there, and not give two shakes of a stick how we “look.” I’m lucky that I have several close friends like her. It was Wednesday, and we said “fuck.” A lot.

The food was good- great even. Yet it wasn’t… elevating. The sky was a penetratingly blue azure- yet I couldn’t marvel. The music was melodic enough, but I wasn’t there. I wondered if this was what it felt like coming out of a coma, or if there was a glitch in the system that the Harvard kids say is the computer simulation we call life. Perhaps I got off at the wrong multiverse. Something just wasn’t right with the world I knew a day ago. It wasn’t a jump to the left or a step to the right*, but something had warped. For true.

Reports were already coming in after the unpopular election of the least qualified and most demagogic person ever selected President. Muslims intimidated. Women and African Americans stalked, children afraid to go to school. Swastikas in graffiti. A former President once spoke of “Morning in America,” as an inspirational invitation to unite- here we were, about 11am- despite all appearances, it was Midnight. On the sunlit streets marched lynch mobs disguised as everyday people, and the violent rampages on the town square of yore took place in the palms of hands aglow, feverish thumbs on keypads. Nooses and pitchforks are all around us, next to us in the grocery store, so discreet, neat, 2.0.

“The bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio…” **

I don’t want to talk about politics, or what we must “do.” I don’t want to rehash the vitriol that has already attacked our emotional immune system, toxins that are going to be long to clear. I hold space for everyone protesting, for Standing Rock, for Black Lives, for immigrants, for everyone who’s been identity assaulted, for gender violence, for it all, for it all, for it all, over and over again. We know this- we are coated in it like tar, and live in fear of the feathers plucked from the peace doves to be thrown on us as we await our inevitable day of confrontation. I just can’t.

I want to talk about a little sparrow.

We ate, perhaps sloppily, and coffee did the best it could to rouse my synaptic gaps where nary a thunderhead of productive thought could manifest. Something caught Felicity’s attention. Hopping along the enclosed porch of the breakfast place was a little sparrow, who’d just found a morsel of dropped biscuit. Suddenly, joy. Out came Felicity’s camera- the colors, the lighting- and the joy- were all perfectly in frame. I dropped a bit of biscuit. Over scuttled the seemingly chipper sparrow. One crumb fell through the floorboard, and the bird’s head was cocked quizzically- as if to say “that didn’t go right, did it?” I dropped another, and up the beak it went.

It’s as if all that tar melted right off, and that blue sky and the music- all of it- regained the beauty it’s always ever had. That sparrow did not sit in judgment of those crumbs- or our appearance. As far as we know, that day was neither a good nor bad day for the sparrow- it was just “day.” If shots were fired, the sparrow flies away- it does not tell us who was right or wrong. It flies, and comes back. It does not know why we shoot each other. It does not know what makes us cry, it just sees us pass above and below, doing the people things. The sparrow does the sparrow things. There are things to eat, nests, eggs, songs, death, nestlings. There may be so much more to it. Yet that’s as far as we can see. Not forgetting crumbs.

How can I be more like the sparrow?

If only my brain could shrink to pea-size, which I’m certain it is on its way to doing. Of course, if only I had wings. But truly- if only I could live outside of time, names, and beyond emotion. If I could live without the eternal hall of mirrors that is the concept of control. If I… the litany of wishes between the self and the bird. In its graceful sparrow-ing, what peace, what a lesson of serendipity as we stepped back out into the bright morning that was sharply traced in angles of what I am told to believe are truths, yet within the soul I resoundingly proclaim allegiance to are the circles and arcs of maybes, mysteries, and who-knows-whats.

It’s as close as I can get to being the bird brain I dream of. I wrote later that day of claiming the right to be angry, yet acting from a place of justice. Sparrows, and their ilk, from my observation only ever appear to get mildly perturbed- and that’s an interpretation through human lensing. The anger thing didn’t go down well, because this is Asheville, and hashtag All You Need Is Love. While I generally agree, it’s another frequency of on the3 open dial of being. It’s humans that call this a higher vibration. The sparrow wasn’t sporting an “I voted” sticker, nor clinging to a chakra-cleaning shamanically sourced love crystal, it was in the only moment it could possibly know- as far as I know. I love our capacity to complexify, as it continually facets the ever-infinite diamond of perception. Yet the other side of complexity is simplicity. Just being. Sometimes a sparrow scouting for breakfast precipitation is nothing more than that. Is the same applicable to our propensity to make crazy out of bales of sane? Jumping Jehosephat yes. I wanted the sparrow to mean something- to me- and “poof!” it did. I got what I needed, and the meal- certainly the company- were balms in a weary land.

We most certainly are stronger when we love. We are also acknowledging the reality of our animal-hood when we are angry, or are afraid. It’s all okay. If I’m to sit in judgment before a sparrow, I’m most certainly, okay, and you are too. The worst and the best of us all are okay, especially if we drop just a tiny crumb. Isn’t that something we’re all looking for? Just waiting for a tiny crumb to fall from the sky, feed us, give a moment and our lives some purposefulness? Then we can skitter off to the next place, complete our cycle.

Do what we need to do. If it were that easy… I know. I’ve been poured into a human mold and my role is to do the human things and feel the human way. Whenever possible, in my own way, my role is to transcend those bounds and offer comfort and selfless support to those who are in any way immobilized. That’s the hat I was born with, and while the haberdasher has many styles to choose from, I know this is the hat that I’ll die with. I accept it. It’s not an easy look- I make do with what I got. While we all move through this process, feel what we need to feel, let’s test our bounds and see what life’s like outside the bounds. Maybe we’ll find unexpected breadcrumbs falling from the least likely of tables. Or it could just be like many of the mountains around me this Saturday that the world will be on fire. Let peace find a perch in not knowing yet.

Fly where you must, and find grace in small moments. It’s still there. So are you.


* “Time Warp,” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” w/m (c) 1975 Richard O’Brien
** “Boy in the Bubble” from “Graceland,” w/m (c) 1986 Paul Simon

Better Angels

Our better angels don’t operate- as it always has been- on the timespan we’re used to. We talk about the “long arc of history.” We’re in it. We just have no reasonable understanding of where that takes us now. People ask: “What do we do now?” Do what you need to do for today. Walk. Cry. Write. Yell. Feel this. Or not. Think about moving abroad. Or dig your heels deeper in and get ready. There are no rights ways, no wrongs… yet there are no wrongs greater than the ones we in our heart of hearts stand against as injustices. Find your sore spot. Lean into it. Think of everyone else who is more sore today, more wounded today, more disenfranchised today. There is a foundation to build from. Will we know what it will be right away? Probably not. But the better angels begin by being good to one another- even in our thrashing pain and anger. Both can occupy the same space- both came from the one same point of origin that creeps ever back up on us.

You woke up breathing- that’s a start and a very rare, tenuous thing in a Universe as huge as ours.

Dear America…

photo-3-kateI guess we all go about life thinking we did the best we thought we could. I mean, no one wants to bow out carving into stone they only did it half way. Frankie, ol’ blue eyes, told us he did it his way and I guess that was a point in the history books that we had our get up and go. Those were the days, and no matter that the old films tell you, life was in living color, all the way. Black and white was another fixation.

his letter, to whomever in the future reads it, may not even know and identify with the word “American.” They (our you, to be more intimate) may find this old note (how old, really???) to be a trope, self indulgent, last-minute exhibition of a one human’s want of memory to be preserved amid the rubble of a culture you will comb through in hope for understanding.

Listen, it all comes down to this. President Trump, and after his historically brief tenure President Pence, threw this country into a turmoil that brought a much slobbered after end of days to their “holy land” of franchised and outsourced “freedoms.” It was holy hell. “Forgive them,” that weakened god-being cried out from his mythical nailed-to perch, “for they know knot what they are doing.” What a horny bullshit dream. Everyone knew damn well what they were doing, and they only did it because they wanted “change”. As the outgoing Vice President was caught saying on a hot mic just prior to the 2017 inauguration of Trump, “This isn’t a fucking Red Lobster for Crissakes, it’s a country.” Those were our sentiments exactly, Joe. Change is a double-edged sword.

I’m just writing to say I’m sorry. The election, if you can call it that, of 2016 was not a result of populist outrage, it was the greatest reflex of ignorance and opportunity even seen of such a scale. It emboldened the shit shysters around the world to act- without benefit of countermeasure- to prod with their conscience-free peckers and penetrate the systems that protect our semblance of democracy and replace it with sheer vapid entertainment. Yes, the election of 2016 was the most dangerous reality show in history. It ended history. The worries everyone had about Trump having the nuclear football were a great distraction from the risk of Pence having it. Trump sealed his fate with the most unfortunately remembered phrase in history, “grab them by the pussy,” which emboldened a generation of disgusting men, and the compromise that he’d quit once elected and swap offices once the pitchforks and torches cornered him. An even more dangerous man took the Oval Office.

Hiroshima. Nagasaki. The old war. The litany of the new one? The war against women, with the executive order that made abortion in most cases illegal and punishable. The mass annulment of gay marriages. The “bunkering” of high crime impoverished inner city areas. Then the clouds of death abroad came closer to home. Raqqa. The torpedoing of the Kennedy. Vladivostok. Then San Diego. The short lived truce allowed for scientists to run screaming from their universities as fallout’s real aftermath- no longer a hypothetical- spewed across North America and Asia. But it was too late. Anchorage. Seoul. Pyongyang. That’s when I stopped counting, and most of the world began losing the Internet. Martial Law. I lost track of the news as I lost track of my people. We were moved across the country to “strategically populate” non-targets. Famine, disorder… what else?

Do I really blame it all on two politicians? No, not at all. I indict ignorance and every single motherfucker that only indulged in the gratification of their egos when the world was burning long before either of these men allowed the Four Horsemen into the State Fair. I indict a culture that always looked for messiahs in other people or historical ghosts rather than finding any strength in themselves. But my indictment means nothing- this trainwreck has been in the making for decades, the train’s been out of the station for longer than anyone can remember. We all did this- we all made this. We all gave our tacit permission for this whenever we said “I don’t care,” or “whatever.” And how long has apathy been the balm to the world’s pains? Fuck if I know. But it’s had our frontal cortexes by the pineal the moment our dopamine decided to fire every time we saw someone worse off than us, and we patted our wallet, checked our watch, and mistook a mass illusion of control for a world.

America, shed some grace of yourself. God obviously has more cosmic matters to attend to. While my time is over, maybe whatever historian that finds this can take a moment to appreciate the day and the bigger damn picture. I hope the skies are blue. I hope the birds have come back. I hope your food grows out of the ground, not from plastic. I hope you are in charge of your own life, and whenever you make a decision, you know a million different decisions ripple outward. For whatever reason, I’m about to get a bullet in my chest.

Yeah, decisions, decisions. Good night and good luck.

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