hamburger

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.

sparrow

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.

crowd

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.

honeydew

Green, sweet melon. Take a bite and you are greeted by juice running down your chin, down your neck, and into your shirt or lap. I fill up my plate greedily. Knowing if were to eat this whole melon it wouldn't be the end of me, but an affirmation to summer fruit and living off the land I have never seen where this melon grows. But someone picked it for me. They removed it off the vine and now it's come into my home and onto my plate and it is heaven. And thank you, farmers and pickers alike. To the truck drivers and supermarket workers. This was a good one. This was a success. Knock back the juice that pools at the bottom like a shot. Nature's good ol' sugar rush to keep our eyes open and the grass growing. Honeydew cucumber face mask mojito. Night time lotion where when I go the mall I just want to root my feet and grow up, up, up, and up like I am an extension. Like I am part of it: Guardian of the Food Court; That intersection in Willowbrook where The Body Shop overlooks Starbucks, the landmark where the Court begins. The only reason why we stand guard, the only reason why there is order is because there are choices, options. We are all hungry, but able to choose our meal and sit, on a hard plastic, fake marble bench and plot our next Christmas shopping move. It's never been fun for me. No one's taught me how to do it. We throw out the rinds and the seeds and take a towel to the mess made on the table. Bald-headed man Muppet. Mr. Honeydew. Mr. Melonhead? Melon is so great because of its hydrating properties. I was thinking the other day of proscuitto and melon and my high school graduation party. It makes me feel lonely and unsure of many life choices. It makes me recall how different things were then and how different I am now. Of course, that melon was cantaloupe. And every time I have proscuitto and melon (which I not often at all), I think to myself this isn't going to work. How can these flavors work together? This is so strange. Who would have ever thought of this? But I take a bite, and it works, and the saltiness of the proscuitto mixed with the juicy sweet creamy texture/consistency of the melon just - work. I take another bite, and then another. And before I know it, I have to stop myself before I get carried away, wanting to experience the flavors again and again. Avant-garde project. Baseball with fruit. But who cleans up the mess? Do we play in the compost heap? What sort of hippie project is this? It is the dew of honey, which actually is a pretty apt description of the taste: Sweet like honey, light like dew.  

flag

Painfully pulling out branches from an old, wiry tree. It stands immovable and motionless. What can I learn here? We gaze upwards and our eyes rest on a waving banner. Patriotic sentiments barely stir within me anymore. The pit of my stomach is moreso laced with dread, weighing the pros and cons of being dead or alive. Reckoning. Grappling. Pleading. Shedding the skin of naiveté. Snake-like knowledge slithers up and binds us in chokeholds. We turn blue and pass away to the old ways. Raspberry Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and extra whipped cream. This is no ordinary supermarket-purchased pie. This is homemade from scratch, I mean scratch. With care, with love, with songs sung, and honest, decisive movements; Kneading that dough and needing that dough. Delayed reactionary. Delayed revolutionary. American militia trudging through swamps, the swamps of history books. Bibles are heavy and weigh so much. Finding our true path, our one true path to contribute to society always feels like fitting a square peg in a round hole of equal size. Fluttering flag, saluting the brave, saluting the scared and innocent, and frightened. Saluting those who brought it all back with them and don’t know how to let it go. How can we better let each other know that we are love and valued? Why do we draw lines and build up walls, tapdancing around eggshells and unmarked graves of past traumas we do our best to lay to rest? Somedays everyday is armageddon. It doesn’t matter if the sun is out and the sky is blue. Somedays a stapler is just so loud and familiar. Folding flags in the traditional military triangular formation. Soldiers stand at attention. Marvelous parades tearing up the road. I don’t know what it all means anymore. I don’t know what it means to not be constantly distracted anymore. Putting out thought-bubbles like little anchors and fishing lines. Seeing what bites and what sinks the ship, holds the ship in place rather. It’s easy to get seasick. Too easy to look the other way. Complacency is a quiet, pervasive devil. We put so much faith into a symbol that’s supposed to identify our bloodlines. But I don’t know how I feel anymore about it. I have taken too long to say my name. I stand here spiritually hungover.