I am in the fiery hole. I am in the raging river. I am in the frigid nil. Whale hunters seek me out. Politicians lobby for my vote. Ancient buildings draw great crowds, who catch a glimpse of how crowds were controlled by walls long ago. Help comes with many different types of sirens, and coffee comes with many different types of bitterness. I am in the smoldering hole, sick of the masses. I am in the trickling stream, immune to all your passing beauty. Ancient thinkers impress me, still, with their great writing. Starving immigrants plead with me to buy a souvenir object. I'm looking for a coffee shop to offer me the right kind of coffee product and connect me with the world outside my ancient hole.
The people are getting nervous, aren’t they? They are biting their nails and stumbling out of their sleeping quarters at all hours of the night. We can’t heap blame onto their plates, though. Why? Because there are crop circles in our corn fields. There are toe-tapping atheists clapping their hands at our crumbling churches. There are butt-fucking viruses mocking all our pesticides. The people are worried. They rest their hand on their stomach and pass squeaky gas out their overweight asses. But we can’t jump on their blame button. There are governments passing out drastic taxes. There are indoctrinated psychiatrists prescribing laughless capsules. We wash our medicines down with lactose-free milk. Yes, even our cows are altered from their inner-most neurons to their outermost cow-ness. If you want real milk these days, then get down on your knees and pray that NASA will find cows on Mars, and that you can somehow get to that organic cow-tit before corporate America does. Hurry.
The falling branch, the startled child. The tumble-step down the mountain side. with a whip and a whirl the storm turns the girl. Tossed and undone, in the air, on the ground. and hurled into the tree-trunk cove, where she recovers in the moist safety of the ancient growth. Thunder rumbles are muted by the thickness of the aged tree. There is peace. There is calm. There are little creatures crawling along. The storm, to them, is in another dimension. It is out past the monster of bark. Out in the wind. Inflating the dark. The girl grabs a nodule and pulls her self to her knees. She touches a finger where she hurts and confirms where she bleeds. The storm is still pompous and intrusive. But she steps out to face it, none the less.
Nobody was listening when the tale began, but all ears were on the sharp-tongued stranger when he mentioned the apocalypse. Everyone set their drinks down when he mentioned the rising tide of powerlessness that was rushing through their little leisure-suit worlds. He pointed out that it is “all connected,” and sprayed his hands into the air like lightless fireworks. He explained it all. From the rising price of oil, to the falling value of the dollar, to the growing stupidity of children. It was a profound and wonderfully complex force that we kept feeding and feeding with our unmitigated selfishness. It was a beast with jagged teeth, and we crammed its mouth with heaping spoonfuls of self-centeredness. And now we were as selfish as a people could get. And now we had no more selfishness to feed. And now the beast has a taste for blood. And now our time is almost done. “What do we do?” asked a person on the brink.
The closer you are to freedom the more tentacles encroach into your scenes. The closer you are to touching that tit of mercy the more angst-cream seeps into your machine. I was born of a naive woman and a small-minded man, in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a bitter winter. I was the bringer of fear, a stumbling block with blonde hair. When I fell over I would laugh. When I was left alone I would draw. I was the introspective one. The task-finder. I run my fingers against the paper. Smudge the lead to buff the pencil marks and mold the gray into shade. The closer you are to escaping your origin the dizzier you become. You walk into walls and lean against the sinks. The tables and ottomams seem to swing around you and you try, in vain, to keep them in place. You try to smudge the gray into shade.
Winter sneezed before it died.
It was the middle of April,
And the naive, carbon, side-
Ways walking people cried.
Summer dreams creep sneak attacks.
Aging specters swallow moldy pills.
Sideways dreamers stack the racks
On top of smelly candy packs.
Meandering egos talk on mobile phones.
They seek our special thinkers.
They seek out energetic clones
To carry their burdens and move their stones.
I shuffle through the screens and barricades long established to protect me from your scrutiny shards. You crack your criticism whip and it hurts. But you can't whip crack my sparkle glow. I float along with my super strut and my ambition pose. You reach back for another silly observation like you are some enlightened judge. Your perfume puffs through the atmosphere like industrial pollution - birds die and fall from the sky all around you. You flex your hatred, but nobody notices but me and your mother and God. I've seen you in the mirror. I've seen you in your flutter-blouse. I've seen you standing in line at the city offices filing documents for your judgment permits. But the government will protect me. They will surround me with aqueducts and drawbridges, power lines and tennis courts.
It's not too late. The bakers scrape. The bearded man of the hour. The baker's hat is filled with hate. The windy street is hard and black. We pierce through the fog in baker's grace. We shake up our thoughts to oxygenate the plates. We visit strangers tall and wide. We end the song with baker's descent. Strangers shake the place tonight. Baker's tap the strange delights. Bakers scream out songs on high. It's not too late to live or die. The artist posts an image for eyes. The baker stares confused and slight. The artist fights the frigid nil. The baker fights the artist's nihilism. The cookies burn. The buns are fried. It's not too late for living sights. The bus stop patrons step to the street. The baker and artist stand up to greet. It's not too late for coherent thoughts.
It's voting day again, and that means hand-wringing candidates will be monitoring their numbers, while misanthropic housewives will be seducing younger plumbers. Carnival employees will be polishing their dazzle-sticks, while carnivores will be licking off their meat forks. It's voting day again, so I will be pressing my Tuesday shirt and polishing my Tuesday shoes. The dog is staring at his food dish. The neighbor is taking a walk around the block. Neighbors with angry signs shout at me across the street. They have an argument they want me to hear. My vote counts, I guess. And they want me to vote for something to help ease their anger. What is it? What is your anger button? Who? Which hand-wringing candidate will bring you the relief you are looking for? Do you really think it will help?
I reap the neon fire brigade. Tick-tock scraping on the pavement streets. Street-sweeper whispers sweet nothings to the garbage truck and the parking meter. Meter maids tap their calculators and generate great profits for political parties and empire budget committees. You won't make enough to pay for your mountain of fines and river of woe. The toxicity of freedom. The sideways glances of the woe-brigade. Here come the marching band mechanics. Here come the stand-still propagandists. Whispering street-sweepers remove the debris. Neon fire brigades scream through the swept streets just in time to save the day. Crouching realtors consider all of our foundations. Together we burn Together we leave debris on our streets. We leave our doors open and hang our coats in the most convenient places we can find.
There is a discomfort inside us that has always been there. We see the broken world and the destructive messes people make, like disturbed artists. We point the finger inside. Deep inside, to that discomfort. It is anxiety. But where does it come from? Is it our death? Can't we abnegate ourselves to the inevitability of death? Can't we ever diminish the angst? Somehow we feel this inner static. Static emitted from our materiality and our spirit rubbing against each other. The inevitability of death merely amplifies the charge. Like a dehumidifier in our souls. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is to ignore. But the static is always there whether we acknowledge it or not. Always there slowly tearing us apart.
The whole platform is tottering and the patrons cringe and contract into a forced embrace. They know they are not dreaming now. The whole tottering platform is shifting on its pillar, and the tour guide is pissing his pants. One man is mumbling prayers to a god whom he seems to have special favor with. But me? I'm just standing there with my cigarette dangling from my lip, eyes half open, mouth agape. I've endured such extremes before, and even worse. If the platform falls, some of us will be hurt. Some of us may be killed. Some of us will regret how much time we spent caring for our lawn. Some of us will wish we would have fought for solutions to problems, instead of arguing with our friends and families about why our candidate is right. The platform is tottering. I light my cigarette.
These people with their pulpits and concordances. They thump a fist at climactic moments of their messages and rev their engines to blow the sin from your essences. The steer their pulpit presentations with great skill and manipulate the strings to draw out just the right emotive responses from the clueless pewstresses leaning forwards evermore. These pulpit surfers brandish their grand authority and wield their silly powers. These same people come from a lineage of judgment and violence, torturing and burning victims who fail to agree on inane points and unprovable tenets. These pulpit props hold their theology together in a tight bundle and exert their emotions in loose tangents, with spittle and sweat - on their brow and in their rubbing crevices.
This ain't the Wizard of Oz, and I don't ever want to go back to Kansas again. The only thing they have there that intrigues me is whiskey barbeque sauce and other unhealthy condiments. This aint the Wizard of Oz, and I ain't ever going to take the advice of hollow people again. And I ain't ever going to ask the advice of anyone whose only job is to scare away lesser creatures. And I ain't ever going to let myself get inspired by the roar of perplexed beings. This ain't the Wizard of Oz, and I ain't seen no Yellow Brick Road. There's just chaos and congestion, and every munchkin drives an SUV. Every wicked witch dominates her lane and is unwilling to yield to fellow drivers. This ain't the Wizard of Oz and I can't wait to get out of Kansas.
If you are striving for certainty, and trying to build your faith on some sort of intellectual confidence, you will end up with neither faith nor intellectual confidence. Even the smartest seeker is just a child in the context of eternal logic. We are twigs in the stream. We pound our drums and giggle when we make it loud noise. We sleep to rest our minds so we can laugh. We laugh to diffuse the pressure that builds up from the intersection of effort and absurdity. If we didn't laugh, we'd cry; then we'd burst into flames. Instead we find ways to diffuse, recycle, reuse. We let it out, then pull it back in. We want certainty like a drug. We are intoxicated by its ether. We are children in the wind. Our toys are our tools. Our tools diffuse. We sleep to laugh. We laugh when we make a funny noise.