This is a test. A query. A thought to be pondered (not a yawn to be conquered). I’m so dead, you’d think I was a reckless driver. I’m so feathered, you’d think I was a symbol of a brave new country. These are times that test a man’s feathers and make them drive reckless. These are times that make morticians grow beards and wear fancy clothing. The more a watch sparkles the higher it’s price. The longer it lasts, the greater the value. Now look here, don’t leave me. Don’t turn your back on me. I just don’t think my barbed-wire heart could take it. Look into your homes. Reach into your pockets. Find yourself some affection for me. I’m no feathered freak. I’m no danger to your freeway.
If you want to make it in this world without getting parking tickets, you need to read between the signs, Roll with the friendship, sink when they tell you to, and, for the sake of freedom, leave your gavels in the car. You came here determined to fix me, now I’m smiling. You told me to lay on my side, sleep with the light on, and chew well before swallowing – and, Lady, I haven’t gotten a parking ticket since. You told me to roll around in the dirt and wash my clothes with baking soda. And when I paint, you said, wash your brushes quickly. I did as you said – and I haven't gotten a parking tickets since. You told me not to hide, pay my taxes on time, keep my grocery bags under the sink – and neighbor, I haven’t gotten a parking ticket since. Now what does money have to do with improper parking? Why should I pay cash for mistakes? I take out my trash, I buy my oranges with cash, I read about spiritual things, and, I guess, I haven’t gotten a parking ticket since.
From the Liberty Bell to the Urban Revival Festival, they find you. They teach you lessons. They introduce you their masters. I’m, like, getting sick of these urgent requests. I’m, like, totally getting fed-up with your perpetual catastrophies. Come back to me when your waters ease. I never knew your grandfather and I never heard a single story about your childhood vacations. You drop these comments like they’re free. You curse and bitch like words have no consequences; like, as if, you’re soul is separated from the words you utter. Pull your soul out of the gutter, then get back to me. I'll be over here looking at the Liberty Bell, because I'm so damn proud of our American noise making mechanisms.
When all is said that's dumb, and when we finally cease our streams of whiny bickering, and when the well of our complaints runs dry, I feel I can be genuinely thankful, if for nothing else, that when the mighty earth, in it's big, stupid orbit, and with its rapid, yet seemingly slow, doltish spin... It is here that I can be thankful: that the spinning earth does not have some kind of high-pitched Squeak. I mean, how annoying would that be? A mighty "Earth Squeak!" How could anybody sleep? We would need research teams to identify the sources. Then pour tons of oil (or butter) into the suspect cavity or crevice. And who knows how long the noises would be halted? The world only has so much oil. But I suppose we could encourage the breeding of cows for an endless supply of butter. Maybe a tax-break for anybody who breeds cows. How about that, huh? Alright!
The timer has begun - yes, it has always been going. You know there is nothing in this universe that is immune to the timer. It is immortal. It doesn’t matter how much coffee you consume, you can not catch it. It doesn’t matter how empty your mind becomes from meditation, you can not escape it. It doesn’t even matter what you had for breakfast. If there is a day left in your life, then that is it. That is your day. Construction problems, coordination dilemmas, inappropriate hairstyles... It all comes apart in the nexus of the Immortal Timer. It all shimmers in transparent submission. It wobbles in obese inadequacy and is devoured. Oh how young the children are. How fresh are their perspectives. How mighty are there opinions. They are Thanksgiving Turkeys in March, all groomed and nurtured and roaming free. Their time will come, though. They will be sacrificed to the Immortal Timer.
I am standing in the hall, my brain is in the closet trying to construct a new and surprising thought. The door swings open and my brain says: "Sinners love to sled." I yell at my brain “Get back in there and don’t come out until you have something better than this! What kind of non-sense is this?” The door creeks open moments later and my brain emerges with a grin: “Pencils pulverizing pensive dictators.” I stomp my foot: “If I wanted alliteration I would have went to a grade-school, now get back in there.” My brain closes the door with a frown. And when He comes out, he looks humble. He says: “Even if I could grasp a planet and spin it on my finger, you will always want something better. I could put hair brushes on the feet of donkeys and teach them to brush the teeth of whales, and you would not be impressed.” My shoulders droop. I open my arms and embrace my brain in a comforting hug. “Oooh, there, there. You know I love you little guy. Hey, you’re my little buddy. Now get back in there and try again.”
If I shake this place up with my sarcasm, how much more will I shake up the dens of sinners? I am a sarcastic, metaphorical wrecking ball, drunk on divinely appointed missions of reconciliation. I am the deconstruction minister. There are candy-bar wrappers blowing around a bed of flowers. I want them picked up right now or I will start spouting sarcastic observations about all of your futility. There are smoke stacks seeping with toxic darkness. I want them torn down now or I will start jamming smokestacks through your disenchanted, erotic billboards. Listen to me, church-goers. Listen to me, homeowners. Listen to me all you who are pre-qualified for a loan. I’ve got something that needs to be in your ear, and I want you to pull your head out of the internet for just one moment to listen. You think I bought this megaphone for nothing?
The pushing cart and the pushing cart woman in a storm of fleece and mayberry’s. And quills of springtime below her wounded feet. She is the driver of the pushing cart with - all sorts of mysteries inside: Gifts for kids. Todays newspaper from a year ago, just to see the contrast. And what about that funny hat. Wow. We all laughed when we saw it, I mean, let’s face it, it looks ridiculous. But now, we all want to wear it. But with her hair it’s tied to her head so the wind won’t blow it away. And, oh how the wind would like to wear that funny hat. It would wear it on a gusty breeze, wear it over all the seven seas, and let it fall in Indonesia on a plumber who has just lost his job and is sadder than he’s ever been before. He smiles when that funny little hat falls on his head. And the woman, on another continent pushes her cart, not knowing the gift she could have given in the wind had her funny hat not been sewed to her head.
There are verses and lines, and there are old lovers who animate them. There are poems and there are longings, and there are old religions that keep them from becoming too sentimental. People will say anything to keep from being hurt. People will tell you what you want to hear to keep you from rejecting them. Poetry is scientific. Lovers can’t come back. Religion is scientific. Music can not save your soul. From ambulance drivers to hopeless romantics, from concrete workers to a professor’s semantics, love is a beautiful thing. It is pounding on our windows. It is tapping on our mailboxes. It is clutching our eye-lids and holding them open to the light.
Your problem is that you cannot distinguish the puzzle on the table from the picture on the box. That’s your problem. You just stand there dipping your toes in a river with fools, wishing success was as easy as breathing. Wishing struggle was a problem only for evil people. Meanwhile a storm is brewing, and nobody knows how bad the weather will become. But here’s the reason for hope: Nobody can make you do anything. You are your own puzzle-boggled toe-dipper. Look at you there now. You do whatever you want. You weather the storm. You weather the weather. But whether you weather the weather or not, you still must complete this puzzle, or else put it back in it's box.
Shafts of light squiggle around the barstools. Beer kegs roll across the dance floor. Sirens blare around the watertower. And I am speaking into your receptacle. Your earlobe. Your brilliant soundwave notepad. You are jotting things down deep within the Neverlands of your frontal lobe. You’ve got organisms that are sorting my words according to their importance. According to some neuro-chemical relevance criteria. The waitress looks concerned. The guy coming in from the parking lot looks disgruntled. Snow weighs down the autumn leaves. The first snowy day feels the coldest. You’ve got spark-plugs behind your eyes that stimulate the most hypnotizing gazes. You’ve got bread crumbs behind your cheekbones, and birds are flapping their wings to get in. You’ve got those shafts of light around your spinning barstool.
All my secrets turn to mush in the mirrors and magic medicine halls that I wander, when I wander (if I wander at all). There are powers in the minds of men. There are secret powers in the thoughts of children (powers that inspire). There is power in the air that degenerates us. A gravity beyond gravity, so it seems. A secret gravity that somehow worms its way into the secret power-centers of people, and holds down their secret powers. DEFY, children! DEFY GRAVITY! DEFY! Rise up out of your gravity and conquer all that pulls and presses. I have become lost and wandered into these mysterious medicine halls. But I will not die here... I promise you that right now.
Believe me, I’ve considered your syntax. I’ve analyzed your prose and it’s intentional flow. I see where your coming from. I see you there through beams of light. You speak in syntactical prose and I discern it. You have packaged this in a certain way, and I have uncovered it. You speak of love and nostalgia, but do so with carefully chosen words so as to not forget about death. You write with pride. Your words are bold. Your candle is wax. Your scrolls are old. Your flame is dim. You speak of love. Your syntax is revealed. You speak of love. Your prose are flowing like melted wax down a table post. Your flow is pro. It’s syntactical. It’s analyzed. Well done.
People are approachable, but you have to approach them in the right way. You can’t just jump at them from behind the flag pole, or spring up at them from out of their hose-box. You have to move smoothly and casually, like “it ain’t nothing.” You can’t bring up sad stories or spew forth the drama of your past, and they just do not care about your idiotic fathers and your unsatisfiable mothers. All they care about is their own wish lists and their own to-do lists. Approach them with a helping hand, and they will invite you to dinner. Approach them with a task and they will darken the tone of their voice. Approach them with intoxicated slur and they will awkwardly back away. Sober up then. Wash yourself and prepare for your approach. Come in smoothly and offer a helping hand.
My journey is always bogged down by “the others.” I’m surrounded by other people who get in my way. Look at them all! They are “sign-readers.” Vote-casters. They are "anti-vagabonds" who scrape and wander and go far below the speed limit and I can’t seem to get around them. I signal and blink. I cuss and shake my head. Yet I need people. I am a social animal. I was designed for community. “These signs were made by people,” I shout. I am built to love and incomplete without a friend. “These stoplights are here to serve us! We are not their servants!” But I am surrounded by sign readers and people who conceal their cheats. My car is a turbo charged sedan, but there is never enough room to really let that turbo blow. I am a social animal. Leave me alone.