Dog cannot be cat . Cat cannot be rose. Rose cannot be cloud . Cloud cannot be gun. Gun cannot be child . Child cannot be road . Road cannot be wolf . Wolf cannot be ewe. Ewe cannot be me. I cannot be you. But you most definitely know how to be you.
If fists were flower buds of love. If annihilation could striptease into hard-bodied elation. If racists, abusers, and misogynists became alchemists, dog groomers, and climatologists. If nuclear winter were just a long dream of spring. If clocks took an occasional time out to give us more breathing room between good times and the grave. If lies wore prison stripes and could be easily recognized. If political gridlock were just a minor fender bender on the road to full recovery.
To one day witness peace in a world made maniac by violence; a world where we clutch the worry-bead bones of the dead, listening for the next catch of breath in the gun’s throat. To witness forever-living flowers, prayers, and restfulness adorn the graves of those who’ve left the world far too soon. To believe what I was led to believe as a child: that every life is sacred, and must be treated as such. That when we finally let go of one another, it is only because our natural time to pass has come. Death bearing no bullets, no chokeholds, and no hanging ropes.
These days, it’s harder to afford continually calm thoughts. Getting priced outta the better areas of my brain. Once tree-lined avenues of optimism are being rebuilt into condominiums of pandemonium. Spending more time in doubt’s dark alleyways scattered with crumpled cigarette butts of “but…but…but…what happened?” Seems society’s suffering from a cultural amnesia, a grim Disneyland of the senses where some seem content with Mickey Mousing around with other people’s lives while forgetting there are even wolves at their own door. These days, there’s a kind of disbelief that makes the landscape go away, while certain forms of rage can bring about positive change, make everything flower with empowerment.
You’re the hangnail on their once perfect hanging rope. The gaping wound in their exit strategy. You’re the stone in their jackboot, their lying-ass drink spiked with truth serum. The obtrusion in their collusion, the wire-tapped phone, Robert Mueller ready to crack some skulls with a treason bone. You’re Black, Hispanic, a Muslim, #MeToo, Salvadoran, and LGBTQ. Not their shade of holier-than-thou white. Won’t stop speaking your mind. You’re everything that makes this world a better place, and everything they wish would simply go away.
Stone-homed, the ways of alone. Written into our skin, the open road. Safety, then, isn’t a ready-made place to lay one’s head, but an outpost between the ambushed and unknown. Whoever travels this distance in the skin of another will truly know their joys and sorrows. In light, we will unify to dismantle our demons. In darkness, we will tangle with our angels.
No matter how often Trump claims he is a genius, he is not. But there is genius in his hatred. It’s a hatred that continually plots to destroy lives, eradicate human rights, execute truth & equality. His is a genius we do not need in this world.
…Or maybe it was the sound of a disillusioned future heading us off at the past that awoke me at 4 AM. Or perhaps it was the wailing of lamenting seas down on their knees, crying humanity a river. Or the sudden woosh of hot air being let out of way too many inflated egos. Or the boom-boom-crash of drunken drums and cymbals duking it out after a rowdy after-hours punk gig. Or a headwind of sly kisses hitting the hot skillet of greasy-good love. Or maybe it was the sounds of this old earth, grinding on the same gears its been spinning on for millions of years. Leaning its exhausted heft into us; the world still somehow managing, after all these years, to sing like an angel.
Take the Gomorrah freeway east, beyond the wasteland where the rose has lost its bloom, and the songbird of double happiness can’t warble a note. Continue driving. Take the bridge over troubled overdoses. At the corner of Racism and Ruin, make a right. As you approach downtown, know that Waze goes into a daze. It can’t steer you clear of the crosstown traffic of human trafficking, the clogged arteries of disease, the bumper-to-bummer doldrums of rape, murder, misogyny, child abuse, collusion, discrimination, and countless other ills. If you miss the last exit for redemption, keep driving straight toward the sunset. Know that if you yearn to be in a better place, it’s hard to be anywhere when you’re in a nowhere state of mind.
The chiming of bells, the clanking of chains. “I Have a Dream” sounds more like “I Have a Scheme” on the lips of crooked businessmen and politicians. They sing in the key of B Minor. That is, Be Minor when you’re a minority. The chiming of bells, the clanking of chains. Soul symphonies rise us from the oppressive beat of nullification. With dignity and discipline, we’ll battle the continual onslaught of discrimination. The chiming of bells, the clanking of chains. Human bones are billy clubs in the hands of the hateful. Bruising downbeats pound at the Emancipation Proclamation, while compassion stands at the frontlines, wielding weapons of empathy and light. The chiming of bells, the clanking of chains. Epic democracy battles against an epidemic of systemic injustices. It’s hard to cash a check on the collective human spirit when society is damn near morally bankrupt.