Those who’ve have made an impression upon us throughout our lifetime tattoo us in some way—skull, rose, a flaming crown of thorns. Perhaps a black cat curled around a quarter moon, a dolphin leaping from our inner sea, or a dream catcher below the throat reminding us our own song is a dazzling one. Some tattoo our flesh with darker inks, hushed moments hidden from the public. Others ink us with light so bright we’re often mistaken for the sun. Invincible heart tattoos through which no bullets can pass, leaving feeling bold as love when next we meet.
Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the Practice Gratitude sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your ego and resentments beneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin. Any oversized angers will need to be gate-checked before departure. We remind you, this is a non-hating flight. Hating is prohibited on the entire aircraft, including the lavatories. Racist slurs, mean tweets, sexist or homophobic slurs are prohibited by law. If you have any concerns, please meditate with one of our flight attendants. Thank you for flying Awareness Airlines.
Like all our poised and purposeful premonitions pregnant with positivity. Or all wars laying down their weapons in obeisance to painless possibilities of togetherness. Music that not only enters our ears, but also our hearts, surrounds our bodies with sonic auras of sumptuousness. Our cruel kisses shedding vestiges of cold legacies. Our arms, divining rods seeking out warm embraces. Slingshots loaded with forget-me-nots. Truth as a breakfast food tasting great without being sugarcoated. In a world going this way and that, so often hectic and disconnected, there are times when we dream the same dreams.
Sweet child, you ask for so little, but I feel I owe you everything: blue skies, crystal waters, and the honeyed song of unblinded birds. Fortified towers of love and patience I owe you. Truth root and the seeds of clear communication. This wilderness of ache in my heart once wild, now taming, slowly growing into gardens of grace, that much I owe you. All the hope I’ve devoured throughout a lifetime, all the griefs that have made monkey bars of my ribs. So much ash and spark inside me, little one. Take what you want, leave the rest for me to deal with on my own. That much, at least, I owe you.
Let’s hang out somewhere beyond time, beyond the bounds of reality: tucked amidst the lyrics of a “Moonage Daydream,” or in the basement of a factory bottling miracles. In the winding smoke trail of lavender incense, or riding shotgun with Steve McQueen in a ‘68 Ford Mustang Fastback barreling through SF streets. Let’s hang out at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the spirits of George Harrison, Dee-Dee and Johnny Ramone, Art Pepper, and Chris Cornell play for us all night long. Or beside a Big Sur mystic chanting incantations to incoming ocean tides. Or up in the clouds constantly shapeshifting, reflecting that which we’ve desired but have left unsaid.
These drastic times call for drastic measures. So let’s cut to the chase. This ain’t our first time at the rodeo. Sure, actions speak louder than words, especially if you’re biting off more than you can chew to add insult to injury. But right now, I’m not just blowing off steam. We’re in the heat of the moment. You see, I can’t just cross that bridge when I come to it. I can’t feel under the weather when I’m speaking of the devil. It’s like I always say, nothing’s a piece of cake when it’s raining cats and dogs. If you’re gonna kill two birds with one stone, you better make sure you’re not barking up the wrong tree when the ball is in your court. Know what I mean?
A song is a boomtown raised from the soil of our joys & sorrows. It’s springtimes fresh off the vine & drunken guns shooting down the moon. A song moves bodies on dance floors & entangles lovers in sweaty beds. It’s a melodic prayer, an aural north star. Never closes its doors to beggars or highrollers. A song is mud-honey & shotgun kickback. Flattens out that dull ache in your heart to a sliver of light wrapped in a wish. A song connects the line between the now & that long-ago moment when it first called your name. A song is me; a song is you. A song is a way to say I love you when the words fail us.
There are days when it feels like we can drag a fine-tooth comb through our troubles but still can’t remove all the tangles. When the panic closet in our heart is closed for repairs. Or everybody’s way too tense in the present tense, taking far too many swigs off the haterade. Then there are days when hope is in high resolution, packing a solution for every problem under the sun. Or how, when this living war gets to be too much, we’re guided back down into the foxhole of friendship. Or when kisses taste like home sweet home. When our Lady of Bandages doesn’t seek our bondage, only our healed release.
Hordes of people taking selfies of themselves taking selfies, as others taking selfies absentmindedly photobomb the selfies of others snapping selfies; while all around the world, people compare themselves to those endless hordes of selfies, which, as a whole, doesn’t seem a very selfless way to express one’s self.
Somewhere between dystopian and hopeful, this novel of the present day seems, at first glance, it would make for perfect summer beach reading. But be forewarned, while the first few action-packed pages contain superhuman-like characters such as Greta Thunberg, Nancy Pelosi, and White House whistleblowers, villains such as Trump, Pompeo, Mitch McConnell, and pasty-faced patsies like Pence and Lindsey Graham soon rear their ugly heads, thereby gutting the narrative into a hellscape that could’ve quickly been dashed out by Dante. This book is not for the faint of heart. Though I would suggest as required reading before the apocalypse.