if i thought about

what made you you and how our lives would look without it

i too would organize. i too would risk arrest and a violent reaction to our protest

without what made you you there can be none of what made me me or us — we

no one dies

fire in the sky
women and children running
                through
                alleys
                   explosions
        reflected
     in the
         eyes

Fire in the
sky…    kids …   running

No one’s gonna
die on the
fourth
of July

Acker … a tribute

The photo caught her in black and white.  1984. Her hair all chopped off, like her stylist relegated the cut to a blind man with a chip on his shoulder. Or more than likely she cut it herself. Looked pretty good, to all punks everywhere.  And this punk here.

She was an experimentalist.  She was an inspiration to many writers anywhere. And this punk here. She took her freedom by the you know what,  and shook it. That’s how experimental writers like it: shaken. And stirred. She was much more than any polaroid could capture. She was higher than your average .jpg image IQ. Americans anywhere could celebrate her, and did. And this American here.

How do you celebrate a great and enduring writer, postmortem? Hopefully the same way you celebrated her in the half-century of her life, if you were lucky to know of her, then. You read her shit! You read her alone, by candlelight. You read her before you go to bed, and after you wake up. You read her between sunset and sunrise. And then between sunrise and set. You read her in the backyard with the dogs. On the couch with the cats. Aloud with friends. In your bookclubs. In your cafes and open mic venues. In your classrooms.

You cannot wait to read her, if you’re anything like this one here. You thirst for her kinda message. Just like you thirst for your own fucking freedom.  Visions of fireworks and red and white blues. Visions of what has been ours for centuries now, thanks to a bunch of dudes wearing wigs in Pennsylvania. Furrowing their brows in their graves, at the crack in the great and enduring liberty bell.

We cannot wait for our freedom. Not then, not now, not ever. This is the quality I think most strangers to this land find so magical about us Americans. We will stop for nothing, for our freedom. The Mexican-Americans and Latinos in our cities are rising to majority status in population. You can take off the hyphen. These are Americans now. You think the border dogs and barbed wire stopped them? Nah. Think again! They are like us.

Like this one here, born red hot aquarius on a cold winter day, in Hartford, Connecticut. Forty years breathing. Forty sheets to a gale force wind, fastened with all our might to hold the mainsail in place. So the wind can come up under and uplift me and you. Comes out from under us and into the sail. Natural born energies harnessed for a moment. To take us out through heavy, rolling seas and foam, over the course of each coffee-powered suntanned ragged weathered,  leatherbound day. From the opening to the bookend. Known in the fix of an veteran stare, a survivor’s buddha half-smile, thereafter in the calm radiating through the cove where we find ourselves. At the end of the day.

 

Outlandishlessness

The Tour  hasn’t even begun, and Lance Armstrong has already stolen the spotlight. He is the first to wear the yellow jersey this year. Stained with his doped up urine, for all to see. Still talking, long after he opened up with Oprah. Something about how no one could have won the Tour in the years he won, unless they were nice and doped up, too. I am only paraphrasing. (why waste my time or yours, hunting down the actual quote?)

Wow. I can’t believe he has more to say! This must be desperation. Anger. The need to get that stained jersey off his back. I don’t think the mailman is delivering flowers today, Lance. Maybe more lollipops from some international pharm?  I do feel for you. I am sure it is hard to live strong after your global avatar got character assassinated in broad daylight.

All I know is I am gonna watch the Tour this year, whenever the summer heat here in the West has me incapacitated. I am no couch potato. My bikes are my life! I ride almost every day. I have a Fuji Feather (fixed), a Motobecane Noir (cafe), and a beat up old Nishiki ten-speed. I do most of the repairs and maintenance myself, but I still need to learn how to true a wheel.

Come July, I will choose a favorite among the riders. But I consider them all, my heroes. The race is brutal! and these are all brilliant athletes. Doped up or not. Though I have completely lost interest in Lance…he’s probably right, what he says. Hopefully they are not doped, the riders, this year. But if they are doped, may  they all be doped! I want everyone in the race to have an equal, fair chance.

Yeah, all or none! Where everyone has an equal, fair chance at succeeding in the race. Just like the real world! Just like major league anything, and the national association of everything! No one has an advantage over anyone else! No nepotism, no doping, no ageism, no discriminatory practices! No dishonesty. No racism, sexism. Nor any other -ism. Strong and constant ethics! Great, abiding integrity! May the uneven bars become even. May the best players in the world be pulled off the field at once! for gambling, dogfighting, and homicide. And double homicide. And drive-by shootings!

We want our heroes to be rich! to be pure! Brita-filtered, if necessary! We want them charitable, and honest. To be good with the children and not beat their wives. And if not? We won’t suffer any out in the open antics. Not when our children our watching! The V-chips are set for high alert! Any outlandishness, and we will take them to court via International Sport Federation laws, if justice cannot be served elsewhere. We will promote only contractual outlandishlessness!

This is how it is in this our litigious year of our lord of our understanding, twenty thirteen! Any current or potential iconic sports hero must obey. Digital signatures notwithstanding! Hell! it’s not so bad! The expectations are clear. Ya, certain personality types will have to be weeded out, here and there. But there’s no such thing as a garden without weeds. And no hero of yours or mine will be suspected of any heinous crime, rest assured, without clear and present leads.

Katya Mills, 06/13 @ katyamills.com