“I really don’t care. Do you?”

I’ve been calling them shakedown years since about two thousand and fifteen. It feels like the tipping point between words and reality finally took a topple toward words. We’re supposed to listen to and respect someone’s right to conversation, in complete deference and willful ignorance of all their words definitions. You can tell it, yell it, scream it in my face, but if I don’t see conservation in your life, in your philosophy, decisions and actions, I am not going to call you a conservative. If you pull into my driveway and explain how you’re a christian as you apologize for calling me a waste of life and telling me I’ve disappointed my deceased grandparents, you may not actually be living up to the definition of the word Christian.

I hear you. I probably smiled, nodded, maybe gave you an ‘I don’t know’ headshake, or a ‘let’s agree to disagree’ grin, but I saw you. I see you. And the day will come that you might ask me to read you. And I won’t paraphrase. Your complete way of life is beside the point.

I don’t care about your opinion on abortions. If you wanted me to, you needed to go to school, and earn that right.

I don’t care your opinion on illegal immigration. The end result of that line of thinking will have us walling off our states, standing in line outside of our own hometowns providing bonafides and credentials just to be let in. If I drew a line in the sand and said no one could cross it, I still wouldn’t be surprised when someone does. Such is the nature of lines drawn in the sand.

I don’t care that you dislike black people. Or that you would like to casually comment degrading, disrespectful remarks about people who are different than you, in every way except their willingness to suffer and die for their identity. That, you have in common with everyone.

I’ll care when you give me something worth caring about. When the issue on your lips is one we all need to pass over ours in order just to maintain not caring for another day. Our society skipped right over any form of discussion about the basic daily life essentials we’re all scrambling to acquire. Our society has slipped its way between us and our earth and is selling it back to us piece by piece as we grow up and recognize our needs.

Government is crushing farmers, because government does not want us to farm. It wants major corporations to take up those arms, and they’re hesitant. Because growing food is hard. Keeping clean water, and more animals than you can count in your own backyard, is expensive. And, farming has this neat effect on the human life. It gives us a different, more dutiful, dependable and fair master over our time and labor. Nature. And government does not want nature to be anything more to us than a recreational activity.

Well. I am done. Done pretending this is the way it is. The founders of this nation had nothing even remotely similar with which to compare our current way of life. The fact that almost all of us would start to starve the instant grocery stores stopped filling up. The richest aristocrat of George Washington’s era still had chickens in his yard. Still used horses for a car. Still knew the soft snap of green beans and the smell of soil turned over for the first time after winter.

A farmer is a producer. And a producer makes an inconsistent consumer. And our society, our government, in no evil or malicious manner, simply doesn’t benefit so much from a population of producers as it does a system filled with poorly educated, ravenous consumers. That’s as simple as it gets.

If you want to talk about freedom, there has to, I repeat, has to, no option otherwise, be a way of life at the very base of our system, in which a person can eat good food, sleep safe and warm from the weather, and drink as much clean water as they could ever need, without using any form of currency. Apart from their humanity. And whatever morning choring those things require.

This idea. What is freedom without forty acres and a mule? Perhaps that should be our golden rule. Before we sail off into this corrupt, divisive, consumption based, product placed future, we all need to know there is a piece of land set aside for us. A way of life fruitful enough to provide for us. A simple, quiet life in the country.

The economy of want is not appropriate to manage the economy of need.

I refuse to talk about building walls, renovating bathrooms, or putting in a new kitchen sink, until the foundation of this building has been surveyed and repaired.

I am not saying anyone is right or wrong.

I am saying that until the conversation includes providing a base level of survival resources or environments for every citizen in this country, it is my right not to care.

Terrible things

I said this thing to Ashley the other day. Talking about our son. I said you take Roan so personally, and I take him so plurally. Every sound he makes moves her. And if he is upset, she can not settle. I admit, I laugh at him in his little tantrums a little too often. But I look into his eyes, the only part of him that really doesn’t appear all that infantile, and I see a million other sons. And daughters. And naturally, a lot of parents take their kids so seriously they never get around to pluralizing the experience. Recognize it has a unifying effect on the people who have been affected. It’s social adhesive. Procreation. A biologic gauntlet, that in this particular instance, we sort of tripped over. And thank God for that.

But I can’t look at my son and not see my society. I refuse to fail to imagine the world he will come into knowing. A world that seeks to make a product out of him. Exactly as it has successfully done to me. And I desire nothing other for my son than for him to be free.

Fully free, in the one mainstream definition we all seem to forget when we use the word politically. But economically speaking, I want my son to be free. I do not want to feed the worst impulses of my society’s fear of other societies, and fuel money into the military instead of fixing my path as a nation, so that my footsteps aren’t leaving huge indentations.

I imagine all our enemies, no matter how awful, still look at their children the way I look at Roan. I imagine if they’re fighting this hard, right or wrong, they have some powerful motivation. I don’t have to apologize for, forgive or pretend to understand them.
But if I’m ever going to end this war,
I am going to have to heavily reconsider calling them my enemy.

I have a sneaking suspicion once I do that, I’ll fix my own life in such a way
that enemy is no longer their name.

I see all that in his navy eyes. In the skeptical lines as he stares me down, typing. He likes the sounds of the keys clacking. So do I. We have that, and a whole lot more in common. We all do. We could stop right now, and lay down our arms, and pull back limbs like tortoises into all of our shells. I am speaking globally. About many nations. We are fighting unending conflicts with the exact same motivation.

I knew it the instant I held my son in my hands.
I realized the source of the fear that now rules the land.
And it is the purest love I have ever felt.

And I would do terrible things to protect it.

No More than a Dream

What if it was more than an accent.
What if southern meant different color.
Dark brown bourbon skin.
Patch of red on the back of the head somewhere low about the neck.

Living up north like a sore thumb blends into a hand.
People can’t stand anything that reminds them of an experience they lack.
Prideful ignorance. Whole islands of sand to bury your head.

We call it rural America.

Main Street U.S.A.
See some places are places you go.
But a small town town is somewhere you stayed.

If my skin were different, not just my legato accent.
Not just my laid back, get to it tomorrow disposition.
But a different pigmentation in my skin.
Not even a totally different color.
Even just a slightly darker tinge.

What if?

What a question that is. How many people in this country
have not traveled enough to at some point in time been the minority.
For any reason at all. Big or small. Voice or opinion or skin color or sexual preference.
Or me. A southerner. Up north. Learning what all those boys
killing each other during the civil war
learned once they got up close. We’re not so different
as our representatives would like us to be.

The greatest unspoken fear of every political career
is that all us people ever get on the same team.

Which happens the moment our eyes really open.

Otherwise, America will live and die
no more than a dream.

 

Shipbuilders

Our political system is having conversations that we, its citizens, are not.

We have used our collective, national imagination to finally do what we have always murdered prophets for doing. We’re predicting our pitfalls. Our future failures. It is a massive blow to the ego. But before we go building up the nuclear arsenal and battening down the hatches, remember, nothing has actually happened. Nothing whatsoever.

When the boat rocks, every hand is on deck. We don’t argue tax plans. We just start writing checks. What we call government is a pie crust of individuals incessantly campaigning to be popular enough to keep their careers. And really, the sanctity of their names. All on top of this massive creamy filling of neverending government office jobs. Courthouse clerks. Cops. Janitors. Receptionists. Those kids they hire to get their coffee. So surprised when something they did not stop at eyes leads their hands to committing a crime.

Our turmoil is their job security.
The last administration’s failures are always fresh fodder for this one.
How they explain away all the choppy water during this American expedition.
We’re all on deck still for yesterday’s storms.

But nothing has happened. Politically, globally speaking, there are blue skies and very few dark clouds on the horizon. We’re actually in good, clear, steady water, comparatively speaking.

Now is not the time to argue over captains, or suggest mutiny.

Before this bubble bursts, let’s get to dry land. Find some forests. Cut fresh timber.
Patch the holes in the sails.

Let’s build a better boat.
Not bigger. Not greater.

This last election turned a new generation of Americans on to politics. Politics, is an industry. Industries put on shows, and hide doubts, and even losses, in order to keep their stockholders confidence. They will decry and bemoan abhorrent figures into American history. Into great military power and media attention. A lot of people are making a lot more money because of how much we now pay attention. Spoiler alert. It is going to be a cliffhanger. There is always going to be part forty five, and forty six and so on. The new one will always blame the state of this nation on the actions of the previous administration. And by the time they’re out, let’s just say no one cares to see their tax return as much after that.

I don’t know. I tend to get deep, and preachy, and metaphorical.
But this needs a base. This argument needs water.

The current boat is the dollar. It is our national, global representative currency. And there are at least three things that can not be industries, because they will always be monopolies. Because they’re essential to our basic access for life.
Which is not a government, but a universally guaranteed right.

Food.
Water.
Shelter.

There is absolutely no reason other than our own obliviousness that these basic resources should be translated through a national representative currency before reaching us.

The end result is, if you have no money, you lose the right to life.
You do not eat or drink or sleep inside.

It happens to people all the time. The aid they receive is not connected to the environment capable of producing such means. Farms. Taxed for the land they work on. And hungry people. Fed by a government program.

The revolution is food production infrastructure.

Little cashless economies all across the country that end up supplementing most, if not all our basic dietary requirements. Water is tied up in food production. So is shelter. The idea of someone being homeless, or unemployed, could be laughable. Farms should absorb these people like water into a sponge. And if there is any government spending to be done, or taxation required, cut out the middleman every now and then, pick up a phone, and call a farmer. Damn.

If the boat would stop rocking for just a minute, maybe we’d see it different. It is very much like our entire nation, politically speaking, still has post traumatic stress
leftover from the World Wars.

And almost every one of these desperate decisions we’ve coerced into sense,
has been in response to a trigger.

Every single conflict we’ve been involved in since, started in the minds of our representatives. And they are having conversations about us neither you or I or anyone we know would ever have. To them, our lives are math.
Telling us we’re divided. Calculator in hand.

Assuring us we’re cut clean in half. But I don’t buy that. And you shouldn’t either.
Now is as good a time as there has ever been for us to get ourselves together.

We could forget hiring the right captain. For the time being.

Americans should go back to shipbuilding.

You could use a thousand words.


How can we be free if we don’t voluntarily pay taxes. When we end up in jail if we don’t hand over however many dollar bills correlates to the life services we purchased in order just to stay alive. How can it be freedom, if it isn’t actually free to merely subsist within this system.

You have no answer for this. You could use a thousand words to prove to me you have no good answer to these words. You don’t. Fear of war. Fear of violence. Imagination that the symptoms plaguing our nation existed prior to the formation of things called nations. They didn’t. How do you fix society, when grouping a species as heavily dependent on ferocious individuality into too tight knit communities caused the problem in the first place.

It is simple. Humans need to be free range. And we’re being pastured in lots so small the grass is gone and we’re ankle deep in muck, eating thrown out Christmas candy, corn in every form but corn. Cages and barns and fence lines they say can change but never do.

Rural lives don’t need to be taxed at the same rate.
We’re not provided public transportation, or the daily services we depend on
to move trash and pump water and repackage a planet into suppertime.

There has to be place in this place where a human can just go and human.

Freedom means free access to the resources that support and sustain life.
By definition, freedom will never be provided by capitalism. Never.
You could use a thousand words. You will never change my mind.

A human is not an isolated existence, but a delicate balance struck between nutrition, hydration and environmental security, within a complex ever-changing universe that produces all of them. You can scream the word freedom until blood vessels in your face start to burst. But humans do not exist in a vacuum. When you mention a human, or look at a human, you are looking at food sources, water tables, and shelter structures that protect against weather and predators.
Without those things, you are not looking at a human.
You are only looking at a matter of time.

Food, water, and shelter are liturgical. They are God-given.
It is not America. It is not capitalism. Or democracy. It’s dinner.

It is your next breath.

I just think we should reconsider using the word free
when we are describing this much debt.

Don’t take it too personally.

Specialization has muddied our sense of identity. If you ask how your desk identifies, it is oak. Or has maybe been pining to be a pine again since that first chainsaw struck. The oil in your car engine identifies as a fifty million year old carcass who never got a chance to decompose. So long entombed. Just a spark will make it explode. And all the iron in our little world. Still identifies as the death-stroke of a some ancient supernova.

Specialization doesn’t care for the seed state of things. In fact, it’s primary progenitor, industry, has done everything it can to make the seeds of things contraband. They’re waging a cost-effective war against potential. And specialization is terrified of a healthy imagination.

We all have all of it inside of us. Man. Woman. These were never meant to be strict genotypes. But directions, like on a compass. Generalizations. But if you want to go true north, you might have to be willing to take a step west once or twice. Or even turn back south just to get around mountains and start north again as soon as you can. Genders aren’t categories we fit into. They’re not actually defined strictly enough to exclude much of anything. We just pour out our individual reactions to each expectation, and gender settles like water tables, fluctuating every season. Changing every day.

Specialization doesn’t have time for that. Equal parts. Overlapped behaviors. Weakness where the job description clearly indicated strength. Not showing up in the issued uniform. A distraction to other employees. Endless hypotheticals and what ifs and imaginary pitfalls. They’d have to rewrite the handbook. To us, a company handbook is standard. But specialization, and industry, you see, they are still mourning having had to put together a handbook in the first place. Let alone revising it in any way that increases the complexity and nuance of their employees. They prefer an occupationally induced sense of identity.

I wrote all that, looking for a way to stop, when I have this thought.

Capitalism is reverse psychology communism. All anyone had to do was declare laissez-faire one time too many and people took it on as credit. From then on, the dollar bill and markets of Man have dictated where we end up, our jobs, our deficits, our tax brackets and family dynamics, in ever predictable ways. More and more we have become the same. Industry has consolidated our dreams, given us a meager handful of highly publicized upward mobility icons to mesmerize, and slowly but surely organized a majority of people into tight knit schools with similar salaries and comparable time and familial assets to divest. Like good communists. Lottery obsessed and gambling addicted. People who do the same thing every day slowly chipping away any hope of any change, can’t stop from scratching silver crumbs off card-stock. We feel so trapped in our lives, we invest more money more consistently in lotteries than almost anything else.
The lottery is educating children.

Unfulfilled? Why are we unenlightened? Because of one thing.
Because we’re all doing only one thing.
Because increasingly over the past ten thousand years human beings on a large scale are specializing more and more in highly temporary, fleeting occupations that essentially function as the entirety of our required resources for basic food, water, and shelter access. And when that job goes away, because it always will, there’s nothing. No more one thing. And no time to pivot. You don’t just lose your job. You lose your identity. Your purpose. Every resource you ever retreated into to provide for yourself and your family. You got fired from your habitat. From life.

Capitalism wants us to specialize. It wants you to consolidate your identity. Find where you fit into a category. And smile a little more while you trade the only time you’ll ever have on this planet for paper printed with wrinkled faces capitalism swears represents gold they keep hidden somewhere.

Why specialize? Why not raise ourselves to be farmers, to study water tables, to build houses out of anything, anywhere. Then, once that trinity of basic food, water and shelter access is established in every community, maybe take on a law practice, or a medical profession, or move across the country for no good reason just to tell more people you like to call yourself a writer. What do you do for a living? Well, primarily, I human. There’s a lot of work involved in achieving a simple state of satisfied being. But when times are good, in warmer seasons, I work a little too, just a few hours down the road, because it’s easy, and it doesn’t warp my soul. And if the industry goes, the job disappears like warm summer air just around the outset of autumn, no problem. Food, water, shelter. These are more than habits. These are not maybe-when-they-go-on-sale sort of means. They’re vital. Basic. Essential.
An entire planet of functional environments is required to provide them.
Nothing about it is specialized. There is a diverse, chaotic career waiting in just staying alive. Capitalism, hand in hand with specialization, is not a bad way to organize how we thrive. But when it comes to survival, it is always going to have to charge us a dollar for what it bought for fifty cents. Even charity exists as an expense we need tax incentives just to afford.

Capitalism has no intention of feeding children who do not show up for work. And that is not acceptable. They don’t want any person thinking they are special. Just specialized in some routinized function that can be predicted and mapped out in corporate projections.

The identity crisis we’re experiencing is a natural symptom of this economic system.
We are gaining access to all the resources of our survival solely through a singular occupation. History has shown this time and again is the precursor to extinction.
We are gaining access to all the resources of our only world solely through a single-minded occupation. Governed by the impossibly greasy laws of profitability.

If America was a farm, capitalism is the system we’re using to distribute basic life resources like feed and water and barn access. And guess what. The door is locked on all of us until after we lay an egg. And dairy cows are denied grain until they’re milked dry and their new calf is chained to its bed. We’re being taxed for mere existence. We’re in a barnyard, with no naturally reoccurring food or water sources. And we’re paying a lot of money for basic necessities we require just to exist. Not even to be happy. Just to be. Selling basic life necessities will always be a monopoly. Because we’re not purchasing a product, we’re purchasing sustenance to maintain existence. We’re buying our selves. And we’re the only one of us on the shelf. No option to leave the barnyard. No options outside of financial means, means it is impossible we are free.
It means no one ever abolished slavery.
We just reinvented the shackle.

Farm animals are having crisis of identity. It’s called domestication.
They’re subject to fast-moving bacterial outbreaks, packed too tight in too little space, and prone to violence against one another.

Humans are having a crisis of identity. It’s called specialization.
We’re subject to fast-moving bacterial outbreaks, our populations are too tightly concentrated, and we are currently in an epidemic of violence against one another.

It’s gotten so bad we are taking the beaks off chickens and hiding them in dank windowless hangers. We’ve sawed the horns off the goat and soldered the stumps so they couldn’t grow. And then declared war on coyotes.

It has gotten so bad, we are forcing our children into an educationally induced crisis of identity, simply because there are aspects to them, and to us, we still fail to understand. We are not ready to admit it. So we have been shaping new existences more with our ignorances than with the many difficult-to-tell truths we’ve discovered about ourselves. And when they find out they could have had horns.
Or that we’re the reason they can’t peck without spilling corn.
It won’t be between them and nature anymore.
We’ll send them out into the world asking society what it is they are here for.

Specialization. Domestication. Industry. Breeding in the dark and reproducing offspring.
Consumerism. Capitalism. Be a good citizen. Obey the law. Hold down a decent job. Don’t test the electric fence. Thou shalt not headbutt your neighbor, or your enemy, or anyone for that matter. Keep your callous yellow beak to edible yourself.
Better yet, live forever, in a cage, on a shelf.
Better yet, there was never a life outside of cages.
Better yet, the cage is where you belong.

It really isn’t up to us to change or decide who or what we are.
We’re just being educated into consumers. We’re products.
Actors cast in plays wearing costumes so we can afford
to eat and sleep someplace warm.

We’re upset about our uniforms.
We have issues of identity. Not because of who we are.
But because including all of us took up too much space on a form.

Flower Poems

It is so hard to write about flowers nowadays. Wild weeds. Feral medicine crowding creeks or bark off cedar tree heads. There is a dead duck on the lake shore line. Could lift that as an analogy just fine. Wind bent dead branches clean over. And rotten leaves in stagnate water.

But I don’t want to write poems about them. I want to write about the sanguine tangerine colored sunset that was just eaten by the great lake Ontario. I want to put down sentences uplifting the truly inspirational people I’ve met over the past few months. I want to search my memory for words to describe the color of their eyes. But it’s getting harder.

I keep pausing movies to ask who thinks the lead will be in the headlines soon. I keep looking sideways at people in public, trying to see their eyes move when they think mine aren’t. I keep getting into arguments with incredibly decent people. Defending indecency.

I’d rather write about how green the grass stays up north even in early winter. How many times I’ve been outside shivering. Yet these naked little no more than leaves live out here all year round and do not freeze. Do not die. But thrive. Grow bumpy pale yellow stumps if you let them go tall enough.

I had New York beneath my fingernails this afternoon.
Burying orchid bulbs in black mud.
I had the sun. Held it in my mind just behind my eyes as they chewed up and swallowed slices of orange. There are little white ones with white petals fluttered like eyelashes in the lawn. There are lavender exclamation marks and yellow o’s candy striped green and a little bit of rust color on everything.

I don’t want to write about the nuclear bomb.
I don’t want to write about if it is or isn’t okay
to make adult decisions with children.

No decent man or woman wants that discussion.
You drive down the road.
No one decorates destruction in their yard.
They plant flowers.
Even the worst of us prefers flowers.
And I want years and years worth of flower poems.
And all my favorite poets.
Busy planting orchids.

Billed for Our Rights

I believe that everyone has the right to have their rights not be an amendment to the system that defines them. I believe better and more deeply than our founding fathers did, that our rights are not the fodder of governments. But ingrained guarantees of freedom invested in us by our creator. My rights are not evenly planted rows of corn peppered in patches of soybeans. They are feral weeds. Should we forget to ever garden here again. I am free. Full of flowers and fuzzy grass heads and cat tails and wild medicine and poison. I don’t need a farmer for this field to yield. I need a farmer to help interact safely and amicably with my neighbors, locally and abroad. To oversee vast water tables and plate tectonics and geothermal activity. To connect the dots between surplus and need.

The time of government going through and telling you whether or not you’re full human is over. Black people did not earn the right to vote. Nor did women. They were denied this basic personhood and representation and real acknowledgment in the eyes of the government structures that dictated their lives. Intentionally. Full with purpose. We are still arguing about a system that was, by design, not designed for all of us.

The founders were not imaginative. They were not soldiers in the war for liberty. They saw tax dollars going overseas and devised a way to seize them. Threw a few Latin words together they recalled from grade school and split a crown into five hundred pieces. With the stroke of a pen, they created a new merchant level economic class. Government jobs. That die like zombies. Carcasses always reanimating in one form or another down the line. Not like fashion. Or farming. Or the oil industry. A couple hundred men, some paper, and a pen, redirected a new world’s worth of exported taxes right back to them. And constructed a system that guaranteed themselves positions, and platforms to prop up their children. Representative government makes a monarchy of democracy. A crown broken down and split into a thousand different disease resistant careers.

They didn’t get freedom right, because that was not what they sat down to write.
The best we can do to honor our founders, our ancestors, is to imitate their impulse to revolt.
To revolution. Whenever. However we can. To write out and rewrite our rights.
Our expectations of governments. Of ourselves.

But we have to recognize the flaw of this system is at its base. It’s in little words.
Words like our. For instance. In full regards to the framers of our constitution.

Their our was less than half of our’s.

That doesn’t call for an edit. Or a rewrite.
It means we go back to the drawing board.
Or in other words.

One more American revolution.

Keep no living heroes.

That is my advice in response to the sudden wave of awareness about the disparagement between sexes. You will find no easy data here. No clear answer. Just when you come up close to thinking it is all of them, you will be surprised. That is the way it is with humans. These are human issues. Within the procreation and sustained development of Man,
the existence of both women and men is required.

Are we surprised at the symptoms of patriarchy?

We took it on without any scientific exploration. We just keep pushing forward forms invented solely by men. More specifically, predominantly white men. We’ve updated our colored pencil collection. But it’s still their black and white drawings we’re filling in. And it’s producing boys who treat the world like toys. To so much surprise. If these are the celebrity stories spilling out, just now, after years, imagine the backcountry congregations and small hometowns and gated neighborhoods full of nobodies exposing themselves without permission, taking liberties with children, even members of their own families. I have heard the stories. Just about every single one of the females in my life has multiple stories that ball my fist, and make me wonder how anyone let these men say and do these things and live.
That’s the typical want to be a good guy response. More violence.
On top of our problem. With violence.

I’m angry. But not surprised. I’ve been a man my entire life. I played soccer in high school, I was in a fraternity in college. Anyone who defends or seeks to lessen an impact of, or response to, any of these forms of sexual violence, is apologizing for their self, their friends, their younger years, their peers, a son who got caught, the many more who were not, ever. Out there in the world leg crossed on the couch. Kids springing throughout the house. A spouse. And when he says a drawn out well, or begins a sentence with but, he is forgiving his own actions. He is doing what he has always done. Since that night. That afternoon. That morning when no one was around, and an implication did the work of social demonstration and time. And the thought that flashed through his mind. If not now, when? Maybe never get this chance again. He didn’t even wake back up into himself until after the flowery flutter of his orgasm had passed. He goes back to the path he was on. Doing what men do best. Committed to lives of distraction. Things work out. The universe doesn’t crash down karmic revenge on his head. In fact, now that he’s committed this act, he is open to an entire social circle of other men who have done the same thing. Who apologize for one another as often as they can, in the company they keep, with the policies they change, their plans.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m very fortunate to suffer from a massive overabundance of trust issues. A highly anxietized form of bold curiosity. Too much imagination for my own good, essentially. And when these boys told me their stories of playing with all these toys, sometimes until they broke, I listened. And I kept thinking how a well placed pocket knife would have taken them out of the gene pool for good. I am angry. So I think stupid things like how women should work blades and small weapons into their boots and stockings. When I know they should never have to. But these boys will never change. You can not wait on them to become men. It will not happen. They would have to go back to that night, or whenever, whatever it was, and make it right. And they won’t do that.

Another symptom of having only half a species invent, establish and organize society
without equally consulting the other half. They forget they are only half.
Half the species. Half the experience. Half of their crime.

I say keep no living heroes for that exact reason. Heroes are only half. The other part of a story like that, is struggle, loss, war, monsters and devastation and suffering are what call heroes out of hiding. Patriarchy is hero government. Their power is defined by destruction, not by a pursuit of peace. Of ease. Of simplicity. No heroes required. The self fulfilling prophesy of one half believing it’s the savior of the other half. When there are no more clear villains, that is what the living hero will become. He won’t be able to give up his cape.

He’ll be obsessive about instances of imitated control.
He will consider his strength indicative of dominance.
He will let the people he loves come to harm so that he can don his cape and save them.
He will construct a government for all people thinking most about what his sons will do for a living.
He will apologize for criminal actions because he is internally crippled by the guilt of what he got away with.
God will look like him.
Messiahs and saviors and saints will be erected in his image.
Cities will function as monuments to fallacy.

He will do most of this subconsciously. And bringing it to awareness will assuredly bring out the villain in him. And he will fight a war against the world, before he breaks down and confronts his own memory. I have no patience or forgiveness for heroes like him.

I learned to keep no living hero. All mine died a long time ago. Their stories are known.
Told by the only honest author in existence. Time. Try not to take it personally.
We’re just a far more trustworthy species once we’re done navigating life.

Hard Medicine

You do not apply a tourniquet to kill the limb. But to stop it from bleeding. We have lots of hard medicine like this. Never ending analogies for when we restrict a thing temporarily in order to help, or heal, or understand it. So I am confused how so many of us are convinced we have to be for or against. Everything. All the time.

You can support gun ownership, the second amendment, you can support high volume magazines and rapid fire semi-automatics, and still admit there is a problem. When someone suggests increased legislation, you are allowed to nod along and understand. Because it is understandable. You can absolutely love something, someone, and still hand them bitter medicine every now and again, because you know it’s good for them. No one likes the taste of these words. This conversation.
And the silver lining is, we aren’t supposed to.

You love the limb. I know how much you treasure this hand.
But when it’s bleeding, don’t blame the doctor who brings out a tourniquet.

Once the bleeding has stopped, and we go a year or two, maybe a few, without that arm being involved in a violent mass murder, you will find an incredibly accessible, appropriately positioned platform to defend your right bear it.

But for now, you have to understand this is medicine.
I know you hate the idea of it, of maybe losing your hand.
But it is time to stop shaking your head.

I’ll go so far as to say, if you would argue against anyone who suggests restricting access to the destructive instruments involved in every single one of these incidents, I don’t know where you and I go from here. You can support gun ownership, the second amendment, anything you like, really.

But suggesting restrictions for murder tools is a natural, normal, expected
and anticipated response to this sort of violence. Arguing against that response,
because an industry has made you believe you have to be either for or against
some set of tools you really like, is emblematic of a deeper character flaw.

I get defending your right to own a weapon.
I do not get defending it in the face of loss.

The arms you do have the right to bear are clearly bleeding.

I don’t hate your guns.

But I’ll be damned if I watch this country
bleed to death because of them.