Bottle rocket screams up to the top of the sky and bursts, releasing any and all sexual energy it may have accumulated in its rise, in its hope and aspiration to kiss stars. It dies and explodes before it can. How are we any different? Moths attracted to some flame? Standing outside on our rooftops now, watching the night; That breeze that blows through big ol’ branches, it’s a light hiss, a din of peace – To only be interrupted by fireworks all over this town. There are big booms, little hisses and pops, some are singular, some incessant. I will keep my matches in their drawer and not take them out. This is a passive activity for me. If you get close enough to the blast-off launch site, you can smell the sulfur and see the chemical smoke clouds surrounding this barge in the water, or the middle of a field. I recall my teenage self going to the town-wide 4th of July fireworks gathering. Newly drunk, huddled under a towel with friends to block us from the new rain. Despite the overcast, the colors seemed brighter that night. Though we were damp and probably miserable, somehow those things do not seem to matter when in defiant, rebellious teenage moods and those minor trivialities and discomforts we carry around like some “Fuck You” Flag. This is our country, this is our beliefs, and if you can’t feel it or understand it you never will and you need to leave and get out and leave me alone. America as a teenager, in some reverse-dog years in its immature xenophobic attitudes. My heart breaks everyday. This mailbox is full. Too full to open, too full to listen. Cool wind pinpricks my body when summer transitions to fall. When a hot day can become a cool night. I want to wade in the water with you and be baptized again. I am scared but won’t say so. Soul vibrates in holding back. I don’t want to hold back anymore. I want to speak out with confidence for any and all things. Where is Han Solo now? I want to sit on the sofa, lazily, holding your hand. There is so much power in simplicity and simple actions. I feel these fireworks rattle my window and I hope they will be over soon, because I can’t imagine a lifetime spent indoors pissed off watching the dog freak out.
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.
Wicker basket. Someone call Moses from the wood, from the water, through the reeds. There he say, there he lay. In his basket. Crying. There a little shifts of ripples that find their way to the edge of the basket, creating mild turbulence and little rain, little shift, little waves. It is soothing though and he settles. Wicker baskets carried on the heads of strong woman who go to the river to wash their clothes and linens. They are regal queens with turbans and headresses whose strength knows no bounds. Gaia-incarnate. Simplistic to no overture. Their biceps and triceps and thicker and stronger than mine every will be. They could knock you out with one punch if you overstep the line. Honorable samurai code. Total separation. On this evening, dusk scene there is incense in the air. Perfumed frankincense. Perhaps there are also jasmine flowers growing under the window of some home, and there is a woman in her kitchen sipping tea and she is living in now, living in the present, smelling the jasmine and thinking “What a good life this is that I can sit in my kitchen in the dark with the lights turned off with an open window and hear the crickets singing, smelling this jasmine that grows right underneath my window”. It’s all about syllable placement. It’s all about getting it out. Temper tantrum hurricane, because maybe the Earth really isn’t that hold, that old. I’ve resignedly accepted that I cannot will myself to do everything. The tales the backstory holds. Watching television. Numbing out. Do you remember what it’s like to be floating in wicker baskets, biding time, and twiddling your thumbs. Some authenticity quest having to do with finding your stream. Some big empty vessel, pour your life into that somehow. There are women etched onto the walls of some Egyptian tomb, painted on with gold-flecked paint. Hieroglyphics and pictographs depicting life, a life that we no longer know and can only imagine to the best of our ability based on the texts and pictures and tools they left behind. For every honorable king, there are at least three narcissistic scum bags. To root them out, we must be better parents and teachers and humans and teach them to not be and not value those traits that make them so. Basket weaving circle. Women sitting crosslegged in a sacred shape, singing and smiling.
Singular cushion sits alone on a wooden, country chair. It is burnt orange, and worn by the looks of it. Like that cushion has seen a lot of action. A lot of butts have plopped down and sat there, in fact so frequently, that the original “oomph” this cushion once had in its pliant support and cushion-yness, now holds no longer. There is no give. It’s just kind of flat now. This rocking chair, where the cushion sits, is just now lilted by the wind from an unknown prairie; It is inside the enclosed porch, but the wind gets in through the screens – no windows. Nonna’s house had one such porch, just like the one I’m describing. If you were to sit in this chair, the creak would be profound at the start, nevermind the creaking that would ensue if you chose to rock the chair back in forth. I’m talking about the initial seating. The boards and chair would creak so loud you’d wake the house. Talk about a country alarm system. Cushions are not meant to last forever. This one should be thrown away. But if we threw it away, the store is so far to get a new one, how long would that take? How inconvenient, all for a cushion! I can see this homeowner now, taking the long, 40 minute trip to the center of town, to some general store and her being dissatisfied with everything they have, because of course, it’s not 1976 and they don’t make that color anymore. The manager says it’s no longer “in”. But she does not understand that concept because she is wearing Walmart floral chinos and a t-shirt, affirming that she is in fact, “The Best Grandma In The World”. She does not understand because it has been a staple in her home for a number of years and she’s always liked it, always thought it tied her home together. If that cushion was no longer “in”, was that some subconscious dig at how the rest of her house is “out”, out-of-date? Is she out-of-date? Old-fashioned? Waiting to die? Dying breed? Being trampled on my the bootsteps of more modern human beings and Americans and their liberal ideologies? She mulls this over as she considers the indigo-colored cushion. She cannot get behind it. Burnt orange is like the sunrise and sunset, so often blessing this Oklahoma town. Indigo perhaps native to nighttime, yes, but you can’t see an indigo cushion at night. Besides, it makes her tired just looking at it. Like to see it is Nyquil incarnate and suddenly just is going through her bedtime routine her mind. The punchy dialog of the cash register –
I'm seeing a spinning gear inside a grandfather clock. Some Wrinkle In Time-esque cartoon mouse escape route, followed by the clanging of midnight, the hands striking 12, the gong sounding off loudly. Wrenches and all sorts of metallic tools lay strewn across the workbench. A soiled rag, with black oil stains sits abandoned as a nuclear siren sounds. Something about our past catching up with us now. In this basement of four stone walls, I will never be safe enough. I'm counting down the minutes as I sort through dry beans into a bowl, placing the little stones and objects that don't belong to the side. Gizmos and gears on the wall, ticking or just staring, for decoration. Tetris blocks of multi-colors fall in jutted 8-bit fashion as I attempt to flip and fit before it's too late. Logical games of the mind become frustrating when the logic of actions cannot be found. A fleet of ships in the Aegean Sea; The memory shimmers like holographic dust. Mind like a brick in its stubborn determination. Seeing and hearing all evil now. As a treat. This brutal honesty scalawag pirate ship mentality, tastes like the smell of dampness, encasing on this subterranean space. Will there be a flash of light when it's all over? Will there be some step I have forgotten to take, one last line I have forgot to tell somebody? No one wants to die with secret sins on their lips. There needs to be absolvement, absolution. Even if your soul is dirty, isn't the impulse to clean it as best you can if given the choice? Nuclear meltdown, slow down. "These are dangerous days". ADD mindscape, undiagnosed, paranoid germaphobe. No eloquence in this mess. Cold, hard facts. Searching for answers. Down a darkened alley or street, maybe in Boston somewhere, where the light of the streetlamps don't touch the in-between spaces of the city, creating darker shadows. Mr. Fix It - Richard Scarry Fox, old Library computer game I could have played for hours. Lowly the Worm and that protagonist cat. Midnight Rescue and all those Broderbund games. Nostalgia research is in order.