Left to Write

Have you ever seen the world go purple through the window? Or clouds break back against gold birthed black traced like little goat kids diving hoof first out from within their mothers? Have you ever truly questioned the definition of every word steaming up in piles from the dinner plate?

Have you ever quit, truly just given up, stopped, done, dead, and then picked up your pack and kept walking because you actually had no other option? Measured just how much effort goes into something as reductive as quitting. Or quit, and been better off for it.

There is no single answer.
There are no rhetorical questions.

We, our species, humanity, not one of us, or two, or a group of people, or a nation, or a few, invented language. It is our one real magic. And without our belief and understanding, there is no such thing as tragic.

Have you ever been on top of a mountain in a lightning storm, and not been able to wipe the smile from your face? It is exhilarating, being debilitated, and forced to accept the humble stature you maintain as your soul’s sole weapon against giants.

There really are purple mountains draped in footprints like majesty.
All the stories we read about who we have been as people, did not feel like a story while it was happening to those individuals.

The definitions of all words fall terribly short of that one. Love. How could you.
Why would you. What is truth. What is that thing on the other side of it.

These are not unanswerable questions.
But they keep getting asked by people who never sought out these lessons.
They ask them for the simple sake of making others believe they are fake.

They’re not.
Nothing is.

I have seen things you would not believe, I know, because you already don’t.
Nobody seems to believe that what I am doing here in my journal is far more than a hobby, or habit, or skill, or desire.

I’ve spent my entire life conjuring up answers to questions like what is love, is there a God, why is life the way it is, what is the purpose of all of this, and more so, saying them clearly, simply, in common vernacular with mildly artistic embroidery. So ask me. So that I can finally answer my big question. Who am I. And I will tell you.

That while you are alive, no matter how many answers you find,
there will always be at least one more left to write.

What Freedom Means

Freedom will never mean the right to take freedom away from others. That really is the only restriction. Though it really isn’t a restriction. So much as it is a crucial ingredient that being free can not be achieved without. In a free society, what can be rightfully disallowed, except for all those actions that prevent the freedoms of other society members. Free speech is one thing, but if the intent is to diminish or even exclude the voice of another, it is in fact diminishing the free speech of the speaker. You can target, toss, aim your intentions at harming one particular grouping of citizens, but there is no argument that your impositions should not boomerang back around and harm your own freedoms as well. There isn’t. You want to pay your way stealing from your neighbors, what is your argument that anyone in the world shouldn’t steal from you? No matter the words you use, it doesn’t exist. Murder. Violence. These are self nullifying actions. Even if there were no justice system, no state of incarceration, no intention of governmental vengeance. Do we think our communities would allow one member to, at whim, end the life of another member? The Justice system was not invented to create justice. But fear. Consequence. And revenge.

We don’t need a justice system, any more than any one of us needs another head attached to our own body. For the human being in and of itself is a system of justice.

We need to educate all people that restricting the rights and freedoms of any person, regardless of race, gender, identity, any other qualifier that does not actually negate or even diminish someone’s humanity, or rights of citizenship, is an act of war. Acts of war do not always take place within the context war. Often, they come before. And this discrimination is a war act, even if one hundred years happen between the action and the full fallout. It is possible to be prejudiced, but still respect the object of your prejudice’s autonomy. In fact, this respect will affect you quite fruitfully. For you see, that is the one saving grace of capitalism. Of any economy. Or ecosystem. We can argue all day the reasons you do not like rattlesnakes, but any adventurer worth their salt knows there would be seriously detrimental consequences for all of us if we restricted, or removed them entirely from an environment.

My point is not to teach the dull and redundant wrongness of thinking people who are different from you are bad, or not worthy of the same rights as you. I am arguing that diminishing the rights of people you don’t like hurts the economy, and has all kinds of negative effects even for the practitioners of hate. Of racism. And judgement. Dressed up justice.

Racism is detrimental to the racist and the race. It really is, for lack of a better word in any regard, a stupid ethos. I wonder why southerners were nervous, hesitant to trust, and insulatory, leading up to the Civil War. Could it be because their economy was built on the backs of human beings who had every right and justification for absolutely hating the humans they were working, cooking, making beds, laboring for in every form imaginable. Slavery was stupid. It made slave owners finicky, quick to violent reaction, and prone to isolationism, which led, in relatively short order, to the most costly war that has ever taken place on American soil.

Denying the rights of same sex couples, legitimizing slander and distrust against transgender people, decrying immigrants as criminals, dismissing women as too emotional or incapable of political leadership. Denying anyone rights of participation in the system that organizes their access to the basic necessities of survival and sustained life. Is dumb.

The conversations we have around these groups of people have changed over the past few decades, but not because we’ve grown enlightened, or more open minded, or softened. But because inclusive policies, attitudes and systems, lead to more commerce, stronger, diversified economies, and a higher educated, more affluent and experienced population.

Unarguably.
We are better people.
When we are better to people.

This idea that freedom is something our governments grant for us, let’s just say, history tells a different story. Justice is not found in finally providing full rights to everyone who once had them denied. It is found in asking who has benefited from lying that this expensive system could ever equal out and make freedom accessible for all of us. Studying what the reality of justice and being free has meant for them, and measuring it against the people who have the very least amount of social, fiscal and opportunistic freedoms. What do those people who benefited have in common, and what about the people who haven’t.

Asking the humans who built the system this way to change it is ludicrous. Asinine. If any politician came out publicly and said rattlesnakes aren’t all bad, and also deserve a right to live in the woods, would risk their bid for reelection, simply based on the lack of popularity of rattlesnakes. Representation in place of authentic democracy, is a stupid, biased, and verifiably unsuccessful method. People who hate snakes will be overrun by rats. People who think the color of their skin nullifies their sins are in for a rude awakening on that inevitable day when they are no longer in any way awake.

Do we want to build a functional society that provides freedom for all people in it?

If we do, it is actually much easier than what we are already trying.

Freedom. Free access to the resources required to sustain life. Free. Absent of cost, required payment, or taxation.

They are very simple and inexpensive, words like justice and freedom. The systems that truly protect them will be simple too. And if they aren’t, that is not on accident. It never is.
But fear is a powerful drug.

If I had never been in the woods, I too might believe it was full of snakes.
If I had never been to the city, I might not understand why it is full with rats.

Freedom has nothing to do with good and bad.

It is easier than that.

Freedom is a reference to cost.
And right now, sustaining human life, costs a lot.
It is an industry.
It will never make us for free.

Government is not a good source for finding justice.
Because if it ever really attempted true justice,
the government would be indicted long before the rest of us.

The Carrot

These are serious questions we’re asking. To no one.
For no reason. Just asking. Deeply insinuates, we do not already understand.
If we took our conscious state as evidence, we’d know the secret of the universe.
It’s confused.
Sunlight is confused.
Hydrogen commiserated in the arms of oxygen.
It makes molecules of confusion.

If empty bare bones black space could speak it would sound just like me.
Scattered.
Incoherent.
Incapable of the task before it.
Attempting it anyway.
Great capital I It.
All of It.

The answer behind the question we’ve been asking in complete contradiction
of the true state of existence which, by all means, we should have taken at face.
From the start. If we knew, what would we do.

If there was nothing left to ask, why have we all been put to task.
The mere existence of an answer would negate the treasure trove of motivation
uncovered in an unrepentant state of childlike bewilderment and confusion.

Asking all the serious unanswerable questions. Full with so much expectations.
Hope. That this is not the way It really is.
Some better, clearer, simpler destiny must exist. It doesn’t.

It is a carrot dangled dangerously in front of the whiskered nose of a mule.

One taste.
Is all it takes.
And believe me, we wouldn’t walk again.
Not another step.

For Mankind is a stubborn animal.

Gone

And suddenly

the whole world

rested on the nape of my neck.

Hung down below my throat.

On top of my belly like a tie.

Shirt tucked into pants and belt pulled

just tight enough to cut off a bit of circulation.

Hair pulled back. Laces knotted. Hot coffee.

In the hallway almost stained khaki pants

creamy black. A woman leg out in the bed.

Dog saw me stir. Feel her hot breath.

Baby up on all fours in the crib.

Say goodbye.

Squeeze her hand.

I’m gone.

And I am gone.

By the shovelful

A letter to friends. First things first. Snow.

There really is no clearer demonstration of how rare it is to call something beautiful
that isn’t also dangerous. One of those unique instances nowadays
that’s impossible to argue with. I mean, look up. It’s that same cluttered,
pupil-shrinking prism for all of us. Weather.
And we fall under it.
What does that tell us?
The tilt of our wonderfully imperfect earth. The pull of the moon, pulled like a rib
from the belly of our world. The storied soil we work on and eat from and take on
yet cry and bemoan any opportunity or demand to give back. Which is inevitable.

It disrespects the dead to fear death this much.

That’s what winter is for. Every year, for a month, or a few, our planet tries to bury us.
Freeze us out. Toughen us up. Shed old leaves and dream and make plans for spring
staring longingly into fires as we listen for kettles to whistle
more eager than dogs do for dinner bells.

Wheels are not really ideal for snow.

Clothing becomes a form of shelter. As much home as one can carry worn like armor.
It can be the difference between a good day and that one day. Extra gloves. Dry socks.
Nature Valley bar. Lukewarm coffee.
It really is the little things that separate being outdoors from hell on earth.
Come equipped. Be stubborn about it. Dress in layers. Prepare for change.

A good nickname for winter. Change. Different.
Roll with the punches off a rolling earth.
Be buried up in ice and frozen rain and dig a way out.
By the shovelful. Claw with bare hands if you have to.

Show up.

A pretty titanic lesson that’s been working on me over the past year.
Which events of life am I truly willing to let deter me. Cold? Rain? Snow?
Were these elements not in the forecast when I set my plans. My intentions.
Yes. Of course they were.
These seasons have been forecast for millennia.
Put your boots on and play in them. Shovel out the drive and go adventuring.
Leave some tracks in something that was pristine when you first got there.
Perfect. Clean. And powder. Like paper. Put a story in it.
The greatest form of flattery is imitation.
So show winter it is not the only one of us who is willing to change.

Say to the earth, this is how I roll.
I, like you, stop for nothing.

The Algebra of Human Emotion

Language is not reality. No more than one plus one equals two. I used to always argue this back when I was in school. To the truly left brained minds, it was a lot of fun. But one. Does not exist. One. Is a living, breathing, intangible reference. Always. To something else.

The point is, one what? What is a one without a what? An object. One flock of thirty geese plus one flock of fifty five geese and one confused pigeon, does not equal two flocks. One plus one is a highly inadequate equation to measure these, and most of life’s sordid, overlapping, seemingly never ending botherations.

Even for humans. One plus one is far more likely to equal a Brian than it is to add up to two. And then the question changes from what to who. Until so many stories entangle and we need to use a different sort of math to sort them out.

Storytelling. Literature. Language.
Is not reality.
So much as it is
the algebra of human emotion.

Dirty Dishes Day

Getting set in our ways is set in our way. We don’t pick a calendar date for change. Numbering each day indefinitely as if they’ll stay the same. Then. That sunny one we needed. We wake up to rain. Wind. We wake up to cheddar cheese lightning staining the wet earth orange. Didn’t make a plan for that. When the truth is, we really didn’t make any real plans at all.

Hoping and wishing is not the same as planning.

Crossing fingers doesn’t cross that little box on each monthly chart. That ancient graph.
Showing us all the possible outcomes of the imaginary equation that is tomorrow.

Best case scenario. I’m talking world peace. An end to hunger. Homelessness becomes nothing more than a joke, just something college kids take a semester off to try out. There are still storms. Hurricanes and earthquakes and floods. There is cancer. Sickness of all manner. There’s still the matter of dinner. And then afterward, best case scenario ever, we still have to do dishes.

Revolutions. Are not just something we do to get around the sun. Of all the best laid plans of mice and of men not one, not a single person, put dirty dishes on the calendar. Even though it was more vitally predetermined than Christmas even. Life is messy. If the standard of building a perfect system is to have no extra remainder of necessary effort or labor unforeseen at the initiation, then settle in folks, this is going to continue being a bumpy ride.

But what if, oh the irony, what if we stop dreaming. What if we wake up right now and admit, fully admit, what we already know. The human being is not a thing. It is a process. The systems we establish to protect, enable, provide for humans, will not function in a fixed state. As we grow along, our societal solutions to individual problems will have to prorate. Will have to change. Not to speed up. But just to keep pace. We’ll get smarter, leaner, wilder, wiser, every successive year. You fight that. You set up roadblocks in front of progress, you’ll have a revolution every twenty years. You plan on it. Allow. Foster. Even enable it. Put change on the calendar. You’ll get a little bit of revolution every day.

An internal upheaval for every human being to remind them if all of this goes correctly there will be another day after this one. Definitely. It is a big if, but as far as we know, every if of its kind that ever came before has come true. Until now, there has always been a tomorrow. Maybe we could make a plan for something to happen that isn’t a birthday, or Christmas, or some kind of sugar-glazed, paper wrapped holiday.

Perhaps we wouldn’t need a big hairy revolution every other decade.
If we went ahead and made a plan to picnic in the rain.