Our time here is brief, a blink in the twinkling eye of distant starlight. On this spinning ball of eroding and beautiful blue, we bump up against one another; saying hello to many, a simple passing smile to others. For a flash of time, what feels like a minute in retrospect, we share our hearts and bodies with a precious few. Time moves on; people and emotions move on. And while bar time runs slightly faster than real-world time, both remind us that while the truth can be somewhat bent, time knows only its straight march forward.
Don’t want us to become Hitler-haired hate machines. Don’t want us to become snuffer-outers of incense and childhood dreams. Don’t want us to make our bed to now only lie in it. Don’t want us to become the uncorrected manuscript all about treating one another incorrectly. Don’t want the alphabet to ever lose the letters MLK. Don’t want Mother America to become a scullery maid for the criminally corrupt. Don’t want us to become a movable feast that loses its groove. Don’t want us to become the strange fruit in bitter homes and gardens.
The eardrums of drums hear age-old rhythms pulsing beneath our skin. The cadence and flow of those drums echo our joys and perils; uplift and awaken, resurrect and heal our here-and-gone dangers and devotions. The eardrums of drums hear the blood and sweat of our lives. Transform our rituals of right and wrong into meditations of hypnotic reverberations, tattoo our blood with indigo dance, liberate us from the crippling chains of beat-down blues. Drums hear it all, say it all. Create sonic throughlines, transform our burdens and indignities into sound-souled stories of the divine.
What happens when our feelings feel us more than we feel them? Do they sashay when we’re having a good day, or get too jumpy when pumped up on all our comings and goings? Do they transform our inner beings into a dance club where infinity is DJ, or paint themselves into a corner when redecorating a dismal interior landscape? When our feelings feel us more than we feel them, do they construct cotton candy trampolines for our crash landings? Or are they like a bird that rarely sings the same song twice? Reminding us that here is now, and now is perhaps the time to feel our feelings more than they feel us.
Song mends until it’s ready to fly, while outside in the cold night, the maniac-eyed dice continually roll death. Cruel minds scheme the blueprint of bullets in flight. Along oblivion’s boulevard, amnesia is the crown worn by rusted royalty in their kingdom of ill regard. A roar of wars is their preferred language. Promises made then ghosted is how they do business. Meanwhile, beneath the streets, angels tune their instruments, waiting for the right moment when the blackbirds are released and, once again, song takes flight.
Passenger Trump, Donald Trump, incoming on Flight 666 from Washington DC. Please meet your party on Level 9. He will be wearing a parka, a Kiss T-shirt, and a red baseball cap. You’ll spot him in front of Hooters; he goes by the name Judas. Like you, he betrays the brightest and best and refuses to apologize for his sins. Also, as you venture through the lowest level of Dante’s Inferno, please be sure your hair is fastened firmly to your head, and your money tucked securely in your back pocket.
It happened in May, someone said. No way, someone else shot back. It was March. What day was it then? another person challenged. It was the day before that one day, someone growled, when we wondered when the clock would hurry and become tomorrow. I recall it was a bright day, still another person contended. No way, someone else shouted. It was raining, you idiot. I remember it clearly because I was supposed to go fishing that day. Yet another person roared that none of it ever happened at all. Not like they remembered at least. As their arguing reached a rabid pitch, a fake sun rose in the east. Look, someone said, it’s a new day. On that, they could all agree.
Packed deep within the emotions I can’t always convey I got sunflowers and wallflowers, nooks with books and funny trees with honeybees, a beat-up ukulele tuned to the key of humility, bells and whistles, roses and thistles, a yard dog howlin’ ragtime with a blues-guitar moon, astral weeks and earth-anchored days, half notes becoming whole notes of a love supreme, a hazel-eyed optimism with a tombstone tattoo, manuscripts of blood and sweat written and rewritten to discover the perfect blend of dark and light, contemplations composed by new moons chillin’ on evening’s porchstep watching the heavens mainline the divine.
People dogged by hunger, poverty, and ecological malaise squirming to get comfortable in an unupholstered world where time moves too quickly. Poor souls—like a nightmare version of a 21st-century Sisyphus—heaving lifetimes of unfulfilled expectations up a mountain of obsolete computers, faulty mortgages, and forgotten social media posts. Days like these can feel like a tour of duty in the metaphysical French Foreign Legion, or that society made a wrong turn at the crossroads of redemption and ruin. I will breathe for you when the going gets too rough. I will be the heart-shaped cloud crossing the sun, rabid with a rain of flowers.
Maybe it’ll resemble a lavish all-you-can-eat buffet, except it won’t encourage gluttony or trick us into feasting on the cheap stuff. Or perhaps the afterlife will be spent reclining in lush strawberry fields, admiring skies whose clouds take on the shapes of those we’ve loved throughout our life. Or maybe the afterlife will be spent in a therapist’s chair; only the therapist is your mother. Or perhaps it’ll be one long Springsteen concert. Or maybe Kanye performing for just 5 minutes before storming off stage, and we’re left spending the rest of eternity in the dark, wishing we’d better appreciated our lives.