Pre-calculus, pink dress. Wintertime, chalkboard, Shadow light projector, magic markers. Heavy textbooks, the memory of which still curses my aching back. Large graphing calculators – Fuck you Texas Instruments. Tiny square buttons bringing to life bullshit equations that I can’t stand. A class I’d love to cut. Math class annoyance dome. Headache and dehydration. Frustrated head-scratching leads to apathy. Tasting disappointment. Always false confidence when I hand in my quiz or test. Disappointment always when getting it back. Always worse than I expected. Could never get the hang of it. Don’t want to. Pressing little raised colored buttons. I remember the two Texas Instruments calculators – the non-graphing kind. One was more updated the other. The older, navy blue and quite rectangular; defined angles all around. Looked older. The more modern had somewhat curved edges; Calculator was navy, but the lid was black, some graphic scribed into it. Writing “HELLO” with upside down numbers and a decimal point. I definitely rely on calculators now, though I’m not sure where these other models have gone off too. Stuck in some clutter somewhere. I remember being a kid and being so scared of multiplication. I really didn’t understand it at first, couldn’t grasp it. Not sure when I actually did. I can see my desk in 3rd grade, and recall the way my classroom looked; Teacher’s desk to my left, door to my right. Blackboard, straight ahead. Multiplication table to the left of that. Before calculators it was just abacuses and fingers, I’d imagine. Some post-Greek world, lamp-lit pulp paper substitute, writing things out with ink. All those years, all that time spent wasting sitting in classrooms when I could have been writing songs and literally doing anything else with my time. Punch and crunch the numbers. Was it worth it, and who would I have been without it?
Thirsty for integrity of what I believed the stars and stripes stood for. A More Perfect Union. Was is all just horseshit? I am tired and mentally exhausted of interpretations of antiquated documents that only serves to benefits the white men who identify with the the Enlightenment spirit of the 18th century. There are different people now. There were different people then. It seems all like some elaborate game where 99% of players don’t get pieces, but they are directly affected by decisions from the 1%. I don’t ever want to taste blood in my mouth for the wrong reasons. I never want to self-vampirize and self-sabatoge. That’s not who I am or who I want to be. I remember the DC museums I visited and walking around, but you can’t feel the energy of history through glass boxes. Well, maybe you can but it has to be strong. Locomotive train, campaign trail with no microphone. I guess people really did listen then. We’re all so spoiled rotten now. Ignorant and alliterate. Believing the reverberations that bounce back within our own little bubbles. I told you I am tired. Spreading butter on toast and topping with orange marmalade, jelly. It’s always less filling than I believe it to be. Am I overreacting, or not reacting enough? I’m holding breaths again and forgetting my full lung capacity. The balcony of the auditorium at FMS. The 2nd floor. The flag. The wings of stairs. I still hear birds chirp every morning, I still hear landscapers working, dogs barking, cars driving. But it is quieter, more still. I do not know where it stands or fits. I have not felt like a fitting puzzle piece in awhile. I feel the piece, but not the fit. Nothing fits now. We missed some timeline jump. Illuminati network at work. Something is wrong in the timeline. To pray to Section 31 to make it all go away. Paper-maiche solidified dreams. The slime and residue of art class. The smell of Mr. Sketchers or a fresh box of crayons. Diving back into the swimming pool. I don’t want there to be anyone around. Scared to dance and hold hands. Here I am alone, bottom of the pool and hear the quiet hum of water pressure. I cannot hold my breath any longer and catapult to the surface.
Pillowy soft potato sesame seed bun that will wreak havoc on my digestive system. Pretty likely, anyway. But it is delicious, and such a crucial element to a hamburger patty, cooked medium, with lettuce, tomato, grilled vidalia onion, and pickles. I will even pull a McDonalds and dab the bun with mayo before adding ketchup (no mustard). Slice of melted Chao on top and we’re golden, honey. Just golden. You’ll take one bite and want to make it last forever. Who is the Willy Wonka of grilled meats? Fuck it, add barbecue sauce; Fuck it, add honey. Whatever works. As long as it is unfuckwitably delicious and trust me honey, it will be. BBQ in summer time. Like edible photographs, memories made through tastebuds. The smell of chlorine swimming pools as my damp feet break every rule and start to run along the edge; chasing or being chased. The charcoal, grill smell is intoxicating. It is safety. It is summer. It is family. It is friendship. It is 4th of July freedom, no school, Alice Cooper, popsicle sticks, ice cream man songs playing on empty streets. It is beachtown vacations and missing your friends. It is TV, watching it with your hair wet and damp. Freezing in the air conditioning. Cold bathing suit clings to while wet towel also decreases in temperature and betrays. Above ground pool in small suburban yard. Neighbors’ trees and branches from above blocking out the sun. The disappointment of an overcast day. Splashes, fizzles and sizzles as burgers and dogs get flipped. Hot fire grill. The cold water encapsulates my body as I observe my weird weightlessness in water. Forcing my eyes open underneath to see legs like amphibians pushing upwards and kicking, spinning around. The cacophony of the poolside. The mellow ricochet of the diving board. There are three. And each one has a different pitch. My body is not as lithe and flexible as it once was. Regret does nothing though. Panzer Gym pool. Scared to death of 13ft diving board. I think of that big pool, and how long it took me to get to the surface. What if all the lights turned out. That was a big fear of mine: Being stuck in that big pool, unable to see a thing. The quiet, the open, wet, dark expanse – It would kill me, surely. I would drown in my own fear before succumbing to the bottomless water. Terrified. Utterly terrified. I haven’t dived since. Afraid to jump too hard. Afraid to fall off. It’s just me up there. No one else.
Ok, Sparrow. Start the computer. Let the jet engine stall before turning the key and pressing the clutch again. With your short little birds foot and beak outstretched pointing upwards at the stars, we will take this rocketship into oblivion and make our start on some other distant planet. Like some wayward, cutting-room-floor Disney film. Start up the projector. Get the markers. Take the storyboard out of storage and let 'er rip. Sparrow flies and flocks, fancy-free and footloose gazing endless aerial views, World War II jet planes flying over provincial farmlands of territories felt entitled to. To destroy, to pardon, to shift in the ever-shifting balance of the time and tide. Water rushes in. Titanic confounds reality, then sinks. Which stinks. Money and God never quite got along, even though we printed on the scripture of printed bill-folds tucked safely into golden money clip. Same siamese newspaper? Groundhog Day headlines. Major Marjorie stands at the frontlines combative in French revolutionary garb. She is in light blue attire and conducts her sword in a swashbuckling manner to direct these troops to fight. There are cannons waiting to bit lit, men with hearts in their throats in anticipation, at death, knowing them must also snuff out the life of those opposed even at the risk of their own being snuffed out. Hog's Head itinerary, tusks on faces unrecognizable. Wastoid. Lesson learned. Sparrow counts me in, locking beady eyes, perched on heavy headboard, from a tree he used to call his home. It got chopped down and processed. But there will be another tree, and another. And he will continue to hop homes and switch because he is powerless to do anything else. There are no bird unions. There is no avian society of collective bargaining. But sometimes people get treated the same way. And I don't like that. Sparrow plays me out on blue saxophone and sunglasses looking cartoonish in his actions. Like he took a night to listen to Ornette Coleman and here he is, mission accomplished, lesson adjourned. Tweeting out heartbreak and discontent from the reed. Navigating emotion after too much lunch. Stroller rolls down the hill into the street and flies across the embankment. Million ways to one. Singular mishap controlling begathon. Marathon, stick-up jack rabbit; There's mustard on your sleeve. It's the long-sleeve white collared shirt you wear for work. It's evidence of company cookouts.
Three’s a crowd, three is company. Modern marvels watch like windows looking outward to the world, inside there is black marble and onyx. Granite columns holding up the titans and giants of financial industry. It is crowded and I can’t breathe. Supreme disappointment, aggravated nonsense. Claustrophobia. Snake in a tube, wriggling through. Coiling. Getting ready to strike. Remembering the roomy darkness of the wicker basket. The snake does not like crowds.
I do not miss packed and crowded PATH trains and subways. Sardined just inside the closing doors. Trying not to breathe, not to sweat, not to look anyone in the eye. Just get there by sheer force of will and the power of God, and soon I will be off this bullet and climbing stairs (cursing every one) until I am above ground and now sweltering in the sun, to hopefully soon enter some grand cavern of air conditioning. And I will internally weep as it hits my glistening skin, and simultaneously marvel at the fact that years ago A/C did not exist. And I will think of Mad Men and Don Draper drinking dirty tap water. Feeling like we have gone everywhere and nowhere all at once. Strawberry mistakes with red juice around your chin.
Crowded ballrooms where the voices rise up in a deafening din. There is a DJ fighting for amplitude. My eardrums are pulsing and cursing the day. There needs to be a separation. No more crowds now. Anxiety first. Elementary school gym class and lifting up the multi-colored parachute. I used to love those gym class days. Always so much fun. I hadn’t thought about that in awhile…Crowded clubs and street sidewalks. Long lines. Crowded nest where the runt of the eggs gets kicked out to die and starve. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it happen on camera. It’s true. And breaks your heart. Crowded because of clutter and depression. Interior panic. Crowded parking lot. There are no spaces. Time to move on. Packed festivals and carnivals. Makes you want to be a card-carrying nihilist.