On the frontlines and in foxholes, braving their lives to save ours, they’ve shown us how to soldier on. Bearing love letters in pockets, family photos in wallets. Bandages for the wounded, prayers for the dead. They’ve shown us how to soldier on. Enduring the cruel topography of foreign lands and the grim psychology of war. Cleaning weapons, pulling shrapnel from lingering fears. They’ve shown us how to soldier on. Ambushed and courage tested, bearing the weight of ghosts and grief. Witnessing moments that meant everything, and times when everything meant nothing. They’ve shown us how to soldier on.
In my heart, I’ve packed all kinds of weapons & wonders: a well-honed arrowhead to carve away hate, a finely tuned compass rose made from St. Christopher’s bones. Locked & loaded glocks of “Let’s Get it On.” Laugh tracks from old sitcoms repurposed into battle hymns of revolution. Sojourner Truth’s wisdom tooth. A Studio 54 disco ball that doubles as a crystal ball. Seeds of freedom far mightier than semi-automatic ammunition. Ziggy Stardust’s hairbrush, a piñata crammed full of glitz & glam. Slam-dancing zen. Three words from Hunter S. Thompson‘s suicide note: “No more bombs.“
night glides down the boulevard, past freaks and fortunetellers, bars and bodegas. it scatters its black flowers around lean streetlights glowing like methedrine junkies, and dark shadows wedding unsuspecting passersby to one another’s grief. night absolves our day’s misdeeds, allows us to slip from our bodies and touch the flaming heart of grace. it draws us close, murmurs its rosary of constellations in our ear. that’s when night’s stars fall down around us; bright and beautiful blessings far too bountiful for our cupped hands.
Memory, be no cruel lover that one day runs off with all my recollections, leaving me with only hollow belongings bearing no attachment to family or friends. Do not leave me like a bird flying backwards, ass first to the north when I meant to head south. Memory, do not one day hide my mindfulness beneath a rock, leaving it to worms and rot. Do not speak to me like smoke lying through its teeth. Like I’m shadowboxing a Glock. Like a fog crashing my brain’s party, refusing to leave.
Night allows her communion moon to melt on your tongue. She teaches you the geometry of her heavens, she frees you from your cage of small thoughts. Night never uses your adoration as a choke chain. She never stuffs her bra with bullets and broken promises. Night cleanses your body with her stars when you lay your fears at her feet. She destroys you with a smile then rebuilds you with a kiss. Night reveals bright flutters of bliss in a gutter-souled world. Before she leaves, night leads you to the edge of sunrise. So bright your wanderings in this new day.
It’s miraculous that the world continues spinning around the sun. That trees still accept our carbon dioxide as currency, and provide dividends of oxygen in return. It’s phenomenal that drivers stop at red lights, that we don’t rush onward into one great fender-bending, humanity-ending, billion-car pileup. It’s astonishing that we have smart phones, smart homes, robotics, biometrics, and super drones. It’s spectacular that we have all these things, and more, yet still sometimes have difficulties approaching one another, and simply saying: “Hello.”
You’d think after all this time they’d have better sense to…No matter what comes down the pike, they always seem to say the same old…Then, of course, there’s always that one-out-of-five surveyed dentists that only makes matters worse when he…It’s times like these, the knee-jerk tendency is always to…And, of course, you can never ask a gun for advice because…Pointing fingers isn’t much help either when…Not only does this impact us all as a whole, but…It’s like the chicken always says just before crossing the road…
Some early mornings when I speak tombstone, I am Death’s only friend. Shadows cut across our wrists like trails of blackbirds soaring towards more harmonious places. Death and I build a small Victrola from huckleberries in bloom and the howls of a wild moon. We listen to music until the sun rises. In this life of bones and circuses, Death says, one should fear less the fall from great heights and consider more the courage it takes to ascend from ashes. Earth’s black flowers, Death tells me, remind us to breathe. Life is short, sometimes heartbreaking. But our song of rising can be ever so sweet.
Van Gogh’s ear wanders the countryside listening for the perfect shade of sunflower yellow. The long-deaf ghost of Beethoven feels the underground’s rumblings, makes music of the earth’s turnings. Lorca wields the right-wing bullets that gunned him down, forges them into diamonds for the oppressed. The suicidally love-sick Mayakovsky finally realizes that being shunned by the one you love doesn’t pain the heart so much when you’re adored by the masses. Hemingway plays his extermination in reverse, realizes it says, “Paul is dead.”
Breath is music. Human steps are music. Every thread of existence is music. Our DNA blows sassy riffs of being. Heartdrums thump, pump steady rhythms. Voices bebop, feet hip-hop. Human touch ties fears into love knots of audacity. The electricity of kisses, like lightning bolts of rock guitars. No need to crank it to 11 if you’re already in 7th heaven. Breath is music. Human steps are music. Hollers of tolerance tear down hate-hewn walls, crumble them into rumbles of unity. Our inner beauty chimes timeless melodies of B natural. The nectar drawn from our pain choruses sweet as summer rains. Our breath is music. Our human steps are music.