meet you up there

9 Oct

We gotta look up. Up there, that’s the best view: harrowingly empty and crystalline, the perfect place to find Truth. Down here we’re all bumping into each other wondering what it’s like to be a valuable human being. We get stuck in muck, drowned in shit, or deep in fog. All that friction, all that meandering. It’s exhausting. So we bind together through song, and murmur to the sky and believe It knows Truth because It must know…right?

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stretching the small stuff

5 Oct

He made himself as comfortable as possible inside that squat warehouse, a can with its lid pulled back and surrounded by echoes and dins. He opened and closed boxes, addressed their content, and finished small tasks no one goes to college for. But my dad was at work, and working for himself. No one would give him a paycheck, but we still needed our food tomorrow, and he never forgot this key so-what. That’s why that warehouse meant more.

eventually learned

1 Oct

“I wish we met later in life,” she said as she hugged my torso in her college sweats. Was that a flag of surrender or a rallying cry? It took me a long time to figure that out.

She’s someone’s woman, and I’m someone’s man now. We all have laughter wrinkles and tight smiles. It’s ‘later.’ And when I look at her I remember how much time has passed and how the embers still kindle, faintly, but still.

wild and gorgeous

25 Sep

The world is not mean. No, it’s just too busy yelling, “Have you seen the motherfuckin’ aurora borealis?!…I did that!” And you know that it has a point: it’s awesome. But the universe’s duality also makes it callous and destructive. We ask that it take a moment to listen to us and ease up. But adulthood begins once we realize the world is a wild and gorgeous beast that has no time to be kind.

he was.

20 Sep

“You can’t be serious?”, I said.

“Well, it’s an awful last name,” the she-devil said.

He nodded, in a sitcom sort of submissive happiness. I half-expected a shrug, a cheesy smile, and a laugh track.

“It’s your family’s name! How can you drop it?”

“It means ‘nipple’!

We’re using mine instead.”

I held back, but stabbed her throat in my head. She had taken over completely. Who was ‘he’ now? I didn’t know, and soon his mother wouldn’t either.

two wolves

16 Sep

A grandfather said to his grandson (1):

“All men have two wolves inside them. One is evil – he’s anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he’s joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. These wolves fight inside you and everyone.”

The grandson thought for a minute, then asked:

“Which wolf will win?”

The grandfather simply replied: “The one you feed.”

(1) This is an old Cherokee legend that I’m paraphrasing here. It’s a fabulous depiction of the fight inside each person, our crosses and our choices.

8:46am 9/11/01, World History Class

14 Sep

A TV cart. “We watching a movie today?”, we shuffled into Mr. Byrd’s classroom. “This is a History class, and today we are witnessing history.” For the next hour we locked our eyes to disorienting and outrageous images: falling bodies, symbols aflame, sidewalks filled with terror. Mr. Byrd, the masterful teacher, made it all resonate with teens in Illinois. He died a few years ago, and every 9/11 I remember him, because he made me never forget.

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