Drive all night if you need to across these united states of change. Never mind the speed or distance to get to where you’re going. Leave all hates, all seizing fears and sorrows in the rearview mirror. Pedal to the metal until everything is spiraling and miraculous, the whole of nature arranged in a brilliant golden ratio. When you reach sunrise, it’ll be as blazing and beautiful as a congregation of Mojave angels. Don’t let off the gas. Drive faster, abandon darkness, propel deeper into day. Quench your craving for light in the authentic air.
It is built from industry, allegiance, and the pounding of Mozart’s piano keys. While dogged and unflinching, it sometimes falls victim to disease and a bullet’s undoing. Ancient as stones and excavated bones, its saving grace is reflected in the bright eyes of the living. Its terrors and affections: branded with tears and heaven’s DNA. Sunrise and wildfires forge its warrior light. Its enduring rhythms are generated by thunder and the steadiest of drums. This human heart we have formed—long may it allow us to live and love.
Loneliness moans in the train’s distant whistle. Restlessness dwells in the soul of a rumpled bed. The highway takes you everywhere while it goes nowhere. The whiskey bottle laments tales of those who’ve drowned in 100-proof tears. The rainbow cannot conceive of a world without color. The alphabet mourns its futility during wordless nights. Dogs howl with longing to call down the moon. The needle hungers to get under your skin.
The moon tells me each of my ribs is a rung leading up to the stars. Says these holes in my soul can be patched with some courage, optimism, and crazy-for-life glue. She warns me to never allow my spirit to write ballad shambles in the key of D-funct. Says to strip away excess hurt and anger. Let go of old grudges. Find the emotional bullets that have wounded you, the moon tells me. Trace their path back to the gun. Discover the trigger, disable it. Then, the moon says, melt that gun into a peace-sign necklace.
Endless moments filled with meditators & road ragers. Dog walkers & streetwalkers. Depressives & dreamers. Picturesque bungalows & fruit vendors beneath rainbow umbrellas. Post-apocalyptic homeless encampments & Venice Beach mystics with eyes like cracked crystal balls. Days of gloriously rapped rhythms rising from low-riders. Money-grubbing landlords handing out eviction notices like they’re Mardi Gras beads. My city’s rhythm: a drumbeat in the skull. Pounding, pounding. Some driven to dance, while others barely manage to move forward.
Some are waiting for the end of it all, some are waiting for the beginning. Some are overcome by love or no love, others are consumed by desires, or defeated by a loneliness stripping self-worth from the bones. This heavy love, this loneliness, this wanting visits us all—the rich, the poor, doctors and derelicts, those with penthouses in seventh heaven, and others dwelling in the depths of Dante’s Inferno. Every day, water the flowers of risk, bear fruit from the bruises. Somewhere, in tiny rooms, fallen saints polish their halos, claiming better days are to come.
New bones sprouting from burdens and mistakes. Psyches surviving alley fights with a democracy gone rogue. Feeding the beast that is time stalking us, doing our best not to get our heads chewed off. From stones, carving intellects sharp enough, and weapon enough to save us from dangerous primal instincts. Untethering ourselves from the mothership of mayhem, floating off into the harmonic stardust. Witnessing ourselves in cracked mirrors, and realizing that despite it all, we can remain beautiful and unbroken.
This wound of being human— we are blemished and imperfect. Quick to anger, slow to heal. For some, it’s guns before grace, hollow prayers following the pain; while others drag the mind’s river for the body of evidence that can free us from the madness. Hear the sirens cry and angels sing. Witness new joys and losses blossom. Remember to let the flowers rise but pull away the weeds before they grow taller than us on this spinning ball of eroding and beautiful blue.
Today’s societal animosity is its own climate change: Greenhouse gases of homegrown terrorist gunfire. Intense heat waves of racism and white nationalism. Prolonged winters of immigrant detention camps. Loss of hope, loss of life. Droughts of decency. Compromised democracy. Erosion of trust. Widespread outbreaks of misogyny. Heavy downpours of polarized viewpoints. One good thing to come from it: waiting for all those cold, cold hearts to become ice-free.
May our eyes be peonies, omens of love and good fortune. Our hearts guided by plant instinct, tenacious in the desire to flourish and rise. Root voice, a journey from oblivion into brilliance. Dimples made of seeds, a multiplying joy. Our arms, the creation of bees. A honeysweet nuzzle.