GARLAND, TX – DECEMBER 28: A tattered U.S. flag that had been attached to a tree waves over the debris at the Landmark at Lake Village North Apartments as the recovery process begins following tornadoes which hit the area late Saturday night December 28, 2015 in Garland, Texas. A meteorological assault of tornadoes, blizzards and heavy rain have left dozens dead and a large path of property damage in the Central, U.S. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images)
Eyes open wide,
Waiting for rain…
Waiting for death?
Waiting for pain?
Promise of destruction,
climate of change, Why do we yearn for terrible things? Are we wicked? Are we strange?
And why? Because all that is, is not enough. Comfort is boring and absent of stuff. Stuff that motivates and expands our brains And manufactures synthetics to nature’s things.
Eyes open wide, Ready for change… To get the human race to focus again Eyes open wide for an end to this end. My hope, I reveal, is not to pretend:
To be as one as one can be To love the purity of the sea
To love all that crawls and flies To love all that terrifies and delights To love and protect all. That is right.
By right, I mean all that is in sight… Beyond my terrible wicked mind. To love all of nature and its kind.
In life, I am a coward. On land, I must be a steward, To govern all with deep respect. My life is short, but I must confess…
That I, in my soul do feel: that our lives are all too real,
We must fight for all with zeal, that there is no God in heaven. We must be the ones to reveal, that WE must stop oblivion.
Tigers, narwhals, Bodhi trees, horses, snow leopards, the smell of the desert after a storm, Super moons, tribal tattoos, banged up skateboards, the origins of everything, old bras with the elastic showing, autumn, the color of crimson, orange blossoms in October, Chernobyl after people, Victorian buildings still standing, storm drains that run clear, pristine snow, dew on grass, black birds, white bones, trees in winter, old books, trails that lead to the edge of somewhere, old wine, sunken tombstones, and the rush of the wind.
100 years from my death, I hope:
It will rain in the desert,
Water will be plentiful enough to drain to the ocean,
Compassion will override commerce,
All little girls will feel safe in the world,
The beat of native drums will be heard once again,
Punk Rock will no longer be necessary,
Coyotes will howl in packs,
Old books will be loved,
Sunken tombstones will be remembered,
Solar will render nuclear obsolete,
Children will know tigers, narwhals, horses, and snow leopards,
And the fire within the earth will remain burning…
I was at home. The pregnancy test was positive and all I could think about was my father. He told me he’d disown me if I ever got pregnant, as if somehow he knew about my nightly excursions. The boy I was with; we played in the garden of earthly delights, forbidden fruit we consumed, each ravaging the other – exploring all that can be done between two people of the opposite sex.
“Ecstasy” by Maxfield Parrish
We sailed oceans of great feeling and played like children in our secret garden, where adults only dream: in closets and backrooms, at the airport in my car, in the clear waters of a swimming pool, the tennis courts at midnight and swing sets in playgrounds with blushing stars. Our torrential sex flooded into haunted lands and forbidden spaces; and only when the sun came up, did we really see the sobering reality, a thing we hated because the fantasy was over.
Was it love? My young mind couldn’t describe it; how does one know what love is with all the feelings that conflict and collide?
Ours lives were a vast chasm, a generation of desire and hopelessness born of previous generations. We embodied the 13th generation in our reckless lovemaking. A trepid anger of the ages crept into our cells and frenzied us into heat – he, high on meth and I, high on sex. I couldn’t be apart from him. I held onto the feeling like a ghost in fall when the leaves trickle down to the damp forest floor, and the bounty of sacred, fertile things take over memory… and I in my youth, sexually erect and potent and empty. I cried out and raked my nails into his skin like a rabid animal.
The world around us was terrifying, rotten and void: void of beauty, void of life… and in this existence, we held on to one another in rapture, a kind of appalling sustained ecstasy. Nothing else mattered…
He snuck me into his house at midnight and no one was around. They were asleep. His sisters, four of them under 14 and he laid me down on the floor in the family room, my head by the couch. Caribbean Blue was playing in the tape deck. We dripped hot wax on our bodies to burn the pain away, our naked forms created heat on the carpet. He took me into his room and we stayed inside for hours until I had no water in me.
We slept until his sisters went to school and his parents left for work and then, he handcuffed me to his closet and penetrated me from behind and I moaned and we persisted until our bodies relented.
We let hot water pour over us in his parent’s shower. His body, wet and soapy and mine, the same, we washed each other and time disappeared down the drain. And then I drove him to work and I was alone.
Those days are a blur of highways and signals and strange thoughts that soar like floating clouds that disappear into the sun. Speeding cars, sex at midnight, blurs of life and endless dreams of escape.
April 1 – April Fools – God, I wish… I was pregnant and Mom had cancer and Los Angeles was about to burn. Mom told me to forget, to forget her, that I didn’t have a mother anymore, that she was dead.
I was late. I was supposed to start a week ago. I bought a pregnancy test. The test was positive. I knew what I had to do. There was no way I could have a child in my time. There is no future.
Growing up, I was under the illusion that my father was good with money and was conscientious about his investments and what he chose to buy. I learned later on that my father’s motivation was entirely based on my mother’s hormones. He would do anything to assure that she stayed with him, even moving our family when we were better off, financially speaking, to stay and pay off the home we lived in. All of this was hidden from my view; yet, I continued to think that he was making sound choices all along.
As I began attending college, I had to take out student loans, like the majority of other middle class students who were lucky enough to attend college. My primary motivation was that I had to pick something that would land me a job. Survival and independence was the ultimate goal. I often wondered why society calls it education, when the reality is to get a job and serve a life prison of work for pay to consume.
I first majored in Business. Like many young people, I was swayed by the idea that knowing business will be a guarantee to get a job and thus achieve success. As I spent the first year of college in business courses, a great anxiety slithered along the edges of my perception like worms in moist earth.
I didn’t like what I was doing or learning. The language was empty, calculating, devoid of the natural world. Dressing up, making appearances, walking the walk, talking the talk, my soul plunged into the void. Oxygen escaped through my pores every time I opened the doors of the creaking building.
The light disappeared into the polished floors of the hall; every classroom was filled with the templates of PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and cut and paste Word memos with cheesy clipart I had seen on thousands of student flyers stapled onto billboards. Being ‘creative’ was equated with changing the color scheme and typography on your spreadsheet.
Everyone dressed in smart suits and shiny, black shoes clicking as they walked, like the sound of register tape pounding out numbers and dollar signs. Some days, I would stroll down those halls, feeling sick, observing my fellow students regurgitate business principles and economic trends mimicking their pale faced heroes on the trading floor of Wall Street, going blind staring at an endless stream of financial tickers.
About this time, I saw the film, The Matrix. There was no color to this world, no life in it. After taking a marketing class, I realized that my DNA was fundamentally opposed to everything I was being taught. A storm passed over me, a kind of existential crisis. I tried desperately to study for tests. I was a poor test-taker to begin with. Give me an essay question and I can explain everything. Our tests consisted of multiple choice and true or false questions, just like all of the CTBS tests I took in grade school with many rows of dots on Scantrons.
I was never any good at them. I overthought my answers and had difficulty with the process of elimination. Elimination is waste and in my world, everything must be considered before being discarded. My Business Law professor told me I think too much. I was completely depressed. What can I do in this world that has meaning and real satisfaction? I can’t buck up to make this work without going absolutely mad or becoming a sociopathic asshole.
My roommate, Tracy, was also a Business major. I came home to our apartment in tears. After several cigarettes and a few beers, she pulled out the course catalog and showed me a major I had never heard of.
“I was thinking… you are really creative. Why don’t you see about getting into the Graphic Design program?” she said. “It’s still business oriented because you work in marketing and advertising, but you design logos and other stuff.”
I took one look at the catalog and knew that’s what I wanted to learn. I needed creativity. I needed more than black numbers on white paper. I needed color and hues and tints; I yearned for new ideas, research, strange juxtapositions and conceptual exploration.
Three years later, I was in my junior year in Graphic Arts taking a class on Ethics in Design. Once again, I found myself in a panic, questioning how I would make a living in this field and I began to worry. Even though I reclaimed my soul in the creative element, would I be chained to the whims of business interests, would the color of my world dissolve into oblivion with the incessant needs of my clients to sell things I didn’t believe in?
After all, I would have to engage clients whose bottom lines were engrained in their business plans and the bottom line is all anyone can focus on. Was I willing to sacrifice my creative energy to see it produce another useless consumer product, more waste, more of the same? Was I willing to use my design skills to manipulate the public in ways that inherently were wrong and completely unsustainable?
The answer was – No.
After graduation, I took a retail job as a temporary solution with the hope of planning my next career step. After a year, I signed up for a 401(k) and contributed more than was recommended, having educated myself on money and trying to save more than I spend, once again knowing the future was uncertain and I had to pay my student loans. I subscribed to Money magazine and drew up a spreadsheet, keeping track of my expenses and re-balancing my portfolio every year. I did this for five years, careful to plan everything out, how much I would save and keeping my interest income figures low, just in case. That all changed…
I was clearly the wrong demographic for Money magazine, so I let the subscription lapse. Money magazine was for people who had $5,000 to invest, a mortgage, a kid or two in college, and a nest egg of at least $100,000. Nothing in the articles represented anything I was going through.
Four years later and an economic upheaval in 2008, I began to focus less on money, and yet, I saved it because I needed to sustain myself even though I knew the system was absolutely screwed. I began to downsize my living to the bare essentials. I stopped servicing my car and driving only when I absolutely needed to. I became more reliant on my computer for communication than my phone.
Now, my lifestyle is still at bare minimum. I have enough money for my creature comforts; coffee, cheap wine and $1 books at the library bookstore. I pay for a phone I hardly use and pay off my credit card each month. Debt is my enemy; a prison cell and I’d rather just go without, not see my friends, not drive anywhere. I write every day, I read every day and I hope every day for a revolution of consciousness.
Hope is a precious thing, like a delicate snowflake melting on a rotting corpse.
Hope is part of the imagination, part of the mind that belongs to primal instinct. It’s part of human survival. Our brains tell us something is possible regardless of the most desperate of circumstances. We hold onto hope because within this small space of unknowing, our primal minds deny the potential reality.
I believe in the power of the human mind. Our potential is limitless, however, our abilities must be tempered with discipline and respect for the power we have. Without this, we will destroy ourselves.
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