Lately it has crystallized that the "Good ol' Days", when 'Merica was great, was not so great for everyone equitably. Paper or Plastic?, VHS or COVID?, Red or White?, Ass or Crotch?, The Blue Pill or the Red Pill?, Fight or Flight?... The simplest decisions seem to rot up in my brain for several seconds now, as passers-by stare at the 'Blank-me', masked, emotionless. Like a deactivated dickhead robot, hands outstretched whilst burning sanitizer dries in the summer heat. I've frozen in place, stalled in my tracks trying to recall just what the fuck I was last doing or planning before I drew the white "Blank-Card", then the white-noise sets in upon my temples like a plush-bunny suffocating in a soft B.F. Skinner waterfall... And so today, right now I blankly stare at the cashier in front of me. I mumble (spital behind my face-mask,) a curt reply un-polite, as if the simple question took me to Mars as I gather my wits, ..."Of-fucking-course, I want a Paper bag, pfffft..!" 'who does he think prefers plastic, besides dog owners?' -- the "other me" thinks aloud; 'Do I look like I'm buying Dog Food?' ...I don't know, maybe I would if all the dogs weren't taken in April. My brain fizzles into the background with that soft hissing sound again, like static on the radio. I am almost always lost in this static.
...Then, I collect my thoughts, and my things, leaving my maligned misgivings & dignity at the register -- I parade away in a numb and collected manner to the sanitizer pump, which is either empty (of-course), or so ungodly caustic, that I imagine it is about as toxic as my mood before I zombie-walk out of the grocery waving my filthy hands in front of me like the monster I've become.
It's June., or or is it July? It has been June for a while and I can only know that because a few days ago, some people who say they knew me, sang me the brutal birthday song, and we ate cake together, until we passed out drunk, (again). This, I vaguely recall. I am so in touch with being a newly minted monster, that I am not really sure if this is all real, But I cannot focus on them, work, life, love, superfluous rants... and I can certainly no longer afford the intellectual energy to read; in particular the news. I now have the attention span of my neighbors shitty chihuahua dosed on adderall.
I seem to still be cogent enough to put underpants 'under', and slacks 'over', but Beyond that... I wonder when my faculties may return. Rallies, Protests, Racists, Riots, Looting, Shooting, Vigils, Range Practice, Antebellum Robert E Lee vs Aunt Jemima, all bathed in sanitizer. All of these ghosts have come like a chain-saw to liberate me from my former world. I have been cut down, weeded, detached from the earth like a bad haircut, and now I am floating above the sphere looking down at my shitty self -- I am without roots, free-spun random as cotton candy, and just as vile... I am without a reference. I say dumb shit, give bad advice, read questionable news coverage, and crave only potato chips. I'd best learn to navigate this new swamp and clean up my person before I land again... lest I become unrecognizable to myself, and my parts no longer fit together when I crash land.
So today I looked up how to use a compass, and for one thing, it turns out that I still mis-pronounce the word "Compass", as though it had a "U" like "Dumb-piss". I'm a dumb-ass, and so I know not what I do. But even before COVID, and far before Trump killed the universe, I thought I had a solid handle on the American English lexicon. Nope! It's "Com" pass, (Not like "some" or "come"), but "com" -(like comical) piss. I only want one so I can navigate my way to Canada for asylum on some upstate waterway.
But a "Moral Compass" may also be a good idea right about now.
Here I've found that what I thought I knew about navigation and dead-reckoning was wholly incorrect. I thought I was master of my domain until I got the new zombie virus. The Novel "Alone'a-Virus", which makes us all insane, and incapable of reading a map -- But it also causes us to spring a leak, and our senses begin to hiss out. If you have not yet seen your edges crack a bit, you are either lucky, or blind. As the leaks set into your imperfect hull, you may wish to learn to use a Compass too, before you become un-moored, and drown in this filthy pool with your soggy bag of crisps.
And so we float on, Those of us who are honest and know enough to call it shit. We drift from one empty street, to another shuddered business, covered in Plywood painted with "BLM", and as "Already Looted" graffiti, replaces vibrant commerce, Once hip edgy streets with cool shops, (our former way-points), are all completely shuddered. And so we float without bearing. We are adrift amidst the boarded up North Face, and Lululemon, (ok fine so what) but self-tagged and monogrammed, brands sport R.I.P. G.F... Corporate posers carrying condescending Woke-Signs and Rainbows like Disney actors carry skate-boards for street relevance.
Tonight iTunes would like to offer you "12 Years a Slave" "Blood Diamond" or Something Purple with Oprah in it, at a very special rate and something else by the Wayon Brothers, or Eddie Murphy for .99 cents, In case you were feeling strong empathy. You can watch them at a reduced rate this week only while discontents are lighting your trash cans ablaze. Or you can watch white trash for $5.99... or, are you too appalled?
Amazon and Netflix still feed me blond Chinese soft-core lesbian bank robber films... but are NOT concerned with my ethical re-education. Please everyone jump on this woke bandwagon at once, and let's see if we can sink it. VHS won't save this hissing raft of horrors.
I have thought about this so much lately that I can now say as a monk, or Shaolin master may teach me, That I have arrived on the other side of this chasm completely unenlightened. "We are sorry", they will tell me, before bowing me goodbye, "We cannot help you". Enlightenment seems to be for those who study, but what we weak eager ones have been doing lately is an awkward immersion therapy in idiocy, liquor and re-runs. Breathe in and you may absorb more than a virus -- Hold your breath, and you may succumb to madness. Neither action will let you up for air. My detached cranium held down, submerged by a big harry cop's arm, as I thrash in a chocolate brown river of shit. Then I snap out of my daydream and find myself crossing a street far too slowly for traffic.
We are all immersed in this fiction, and as always have been lost in "The Big Game". Being drowned in shit, stuff, and junk food won't crystalize your thoughts into a clear blue picture. The only way to manage these murky rapids is to not struggle. Go smoothly with the current. Drink it in... I am Augustus Gloop eager for the chocolate river to swallow me, I now see the error of my lily-white ways, as I drown a white linen seer-sucker in dark cacao. I am a balding Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán soiling my linen in the next episode of Fantasy Island. 'Make yourself small like a ball, like a pill, hold your breath, and hope to be spat out', (he thinks).
We do need The Big Cleanse you understand. We need to rinse ourselves of the filth of our forebears, and unpack our suitcase of racist, materialist complicity. We need to get clean of being terrible humans; Of fights, disparities, and bickering. There is no moral compass-heading to adhere to here, no spirit guide for white glibness gleaned from a discounted docudrama. Accumulated shit just sits there in your home to remind us that none of it helps. Stuff won't change you, and religion won't change you... So far this month, shootings in Chicago, Philadelphia, and NY have nearly doubled. The areas with the most gun crime, suffer from endemic racism, & built-in societal disadvantages. When we add to that Covid19, food insecurity, housing insecurity, job loss, police violence, we plateau with stratospherically high crime rates, and low case closure resolution. There is no mystery why lawlessness grows. There is also a complete lack of any leadership from the top-down.
Some have said, that, "...If they don't kill us, and 'it' doesn't get us, then we will likely kill each other". Socially we are isolated, and divided, while the perfect storm brews, the broken trifecta seems to be:
1. Citizens become scared to call 911 from fear of police,
2. Officers become reticent to rush-in, facing heavy scrutiny & unresolved procedures,
3. It's damn hot inside and out and cool beaches, cooling centers, and parks remain closed.
Violence skyrockets, and as an organism we are all complicit, watching it burn. Leadership blows on the embers exhaling more venom threats and gun violence.
What will change you?
There is no lesson, taken in pill form as seen on TV. There is no lesson written here. The lesson is everywhere. We So-called 'Americans' are in need of a revolution, and this revolution will be televised.
(Gill Scott Heron R.I.P.)
So last night as things settled a bit, we sat outside sipping a glass of wine in the stifling heat, watching strollers & bicycles silently drift by. Far off music played through a cheap speaker, and the heavy humidity blanketing the rest of the darkness in a hush. The street lights halo'd from heavy humid still air. Where were we? ...We were discussing my friends recent bike crash, and beside the abrasions which seemed to be healing well... The deep set aches which follow a bad tumble at speed were barely anesthetized by wine. He hadn't yet seen a doctor, or got an X-ray, but we surmised he'd be OK, once the aches subsided. I tried to imagine what my last crash felt like, and what my next one would look like. We all shuddered at the thought.
Our chilled Chenin Blanc reverie ended abruptly when an aggressive driver intentionally swiped a trio of cyclists in front of us, knocking two down in the street, and then stopping to get out, the driver and passenger (a woman), pounced upon the downed riders' and beat them with their fists. They then stood up, got back in their car and sped away, shouting expletives into the hot still darkness. There was nothing anyone could do. Just a rogue wave of lunacy, perfectly aligned with the times. Staggering to stand back up, the light changed again, and traffic and onlookers froze. Everyone survived this attack, and as the burst of intensity ratcheted down to stillness, we discussed the many possible outcomes, as if their story was in need of our fictional ending... One suggestion was that the cops chase them. Nah! Another ending reminded me of the Scene from Unforgiven, when the bad-guy tells his Barber that what America needs is a King. Someone like a king would not be as likely to be assassinated as Lincoln... Because people love and fear their king. "If one of the cyclists had a gun... then the outcome would have been different..." someone conjectured... but that more violent remedy would not have changed this evening much.
We talked about some joggers and cyclists who carry pepper spray. We seemed to relish in an ending where the bad guys get sprayed in the face... and they register that bad experience within their lizard brain -- But alas that too would only tip them farther towards the dark-side.
Revenge he said, (the anonymous phrase), "Revenge is a dish best served cold." became the next hypothetical ending, but this being the most remote of chances; If anyone even got the plate number, the likelihood of retribution was close to nil. Still it is sweet to plot and plan to get ones revenge in a cooler moment when the adversary is "off-guard". Not to give blanket forgiveness to the idiotic act of rage carried out tonight, but this toxicity is a scourge, and it comes from the top down. We the People are under siege from a shitty torrent of spite, rage, plague and fear, whilst the White House plays golf.
Today we still have to choose from only two pills. These same two prescriptions have long been offered. The Blue Pill (the cooler one) prevails and we rise above the occasion painfully swallowing our pride, and pressing-on to form a more perfect union. The Red Pill (the Hot mess) simmers in our prefrontal lobe igniting a vengeance that never seems to extinguish. What does change look like? As for the bully on the playground... There will always be one, how you handle them is a rough dialectic, and you can't even have a dinner guest for discourse now.
Revenge and Revolution are not the same thing.
We really aught to swallow the Blue pill, (even if only for the time being) because almost none of us have the nerve to see this "vengeance thing" through to it's ultimate end, do we? I'm struggling with this. And...As I've already admitted I'm struggling with things as small as potato chips, so I am certainly not the sage advice you seek. We can watch politically correct Netflix shows, but only the good ones take those morals to heart. You can rent all the films you like, but if you are already on this side of the fence -- then here is where you belong. If you peer over that fence, you will find Judge Judy, and perhaps Ted Nugent. What is clear through this milky lens however, is that we have one hell of a toxic cultural dialog today, and as with a bad bully in school, no one is safe from his white hot pathogen. So a jump in the dark river seems soothing. We may be fortunate that we don't have a King or Queen, as I can definitely say that my hand may shake a bit, but that won't last.
'Nobody would shoot the king', "There is a dignity to royalty, a majesty which precludes the likelihood of assassination..." as your hands begin to shake in the presence of that royalty, The bully, the autocrat... for that revenge, you would lose your nerve... right? But would you? It is a temporary solution to a sustaining issue. We are fundamentally un-equal, and We The People, the disenfranchised, and the unheard cannot stay silent forever.
"When they kick at your front door, How you gonna come? With your hands on your head Or on the trigger of your gun? When the law break in How you gonna go? Shot down on the pavement Or waiting on death row?"
"Guns of Brixton" -The Clash
As you find the will to steel yourself, catch your breath -- Steady your hand, as you get up from the ground, if you fight back, (whether it's pepper spray or protest) -- As you flip the safety off, remember that revenge and revolution are both better served cold.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.