campbell’s soup cans tagged on subway cars descend into giant holes in the earth. it gets dark. we pick up speed. ✨️ the sound of steel on steel is amplified by the concrete coated walls. an artist absorbs every sense of it. a product comes into being. to be sold. sold. sold. my hair turns white like warhol. 🙃 when we come into the light i have my mysteries inside my heart. you will have to kill me.
cold steel got love
by Katya Mills
i remember this well. the cold steel in your eyes reflected off the glass of high rise buildings and bottlecaps rolled flat into the street. in opposition to the glossy sky, the kinda deep blue you rarely see anymore in a city. we got together around the time Drake cut his first album which went viral before viral was an expression. the best album. life got crazy for us back then, the whole of us, maybe a core of ten or twenty related intrinsically to a greater constellation, maybe fifty or sixty or more popping off the skin of the larger community. a bunch of anti-establishment mad motherfuckers with nowhere to go just live for today. you won me over quickly, at a time when i was in a lot of pain, my cousin had died, i couldn’t make the funeral, my job was hell and life was like a bad breakup. your life was hell and we both knew nothing of a future until it appeared and it was us. something special had arrived. sometimes Hollywood comes out of nowhere, anywhere, thin air like. now Hollywood is Hollywood and behind the scenes it’s all one giant character assassination. but it’s a damn good show if that’s what it takes to create it. you cannot help but fall in love with it. everything decompensates around it. between us we formed a concept. it was our little secret and there could be no dissent. when you feel this, you know this. magic. real end of the rainbow shit. storybook status. like we already made history, before we made it. cold steel got love like us. cold steel got love.
you wanna share something make your life richer, you feel like the wealthiest one alive, really, and you wanna share it with someone who love you, they say they love you, they don’t need to say they love you because they raised you, they gave birth to you, you would not have arisen from the dust without them, no, and now you grown and you wanna tell them what makes your heart beat, and you hope they will listen, and you finally get the courage to write it out in a letter and you send it, and it’s okay, it’s okay you say to yourself, knowing full well it’s like playing the lottery, you ain’t never gonna know exactly how it’s coming back, could be venom, could be spit, could be vitriol, or something kinder, and this time, this time it happens to come back softer or kinder than before, maybe, and definitely better than silence, pure dead silence, so you are grateful for that at least, and no, they will not abide by your request, no way, but they want you to know they may be happy if you happy, yes, everyone deserves to be happy. you call them the next day just to say hi. there won’t be any rehashing what was written. you want them to know it’s okay. so you cannot agree. so what.
we were living out of motel rooms back then and only a couple of people we could trust. pumping air into bike tires and patching them up, so for some freedom out on the streets. you had to be able to get out of a tight spot fast. someone was always having a breakdown or a meltdown except for the lifers who kept calm and had an eye for any advantageous situation. swoop down like a buzzard and pick apart the meat and leave the bones to sink into the earth. socioeconomics pushed a nasty current downtown and hung a red tide. they marked up for resale whatever they could not themselves consume. the players threw a party to look unselfish. many swam off into eddies and lost touch with reality for days, then, when it hit, let’s hope you could hit the ground running to make up for all that lost time. kids were kids and lost time lost money for every adult who had no fixed income or paycheck. outside of the clear specifications of sanctioned work or disability in a capitalist society, lay the gray zone. lots of marginalized people in the mix. try to discover what you had of value then stir up some demand. could be a skill. could be a quality you carried yourself. you had to get creative and put yourself out there. try not to resort to the least common denominator. plenty of good boy and good girl gone bad scenarios. god! i’m so fortunate i got out of there. and i wish you had, too.
the spirit and soul is shining underneath, waiting to break out of the rock that conceals it, out of darkness for us to see and believe. meanwhile the world goes on waiting for you to arise. will you ever? the tarnished lack in a rusty controlled mechanical sort of perfection with an intellectual hook demands a miraculous effort. most are pulled out of the path of life and retired, subservient to other forces, equally bad as good, fenced in by unnatural designs. oh! the self-set limits of life experience. and very well worth living and dying for!
Any need to explain yourself by your heritage was obviated by the sameness. Whether you liked it or not you would be classified by your skin color, initially. Even the ones classifying you would insist they were not. Sadly, some might not even know they were, such was the state of lack of self-awareness in the cell phone capital saturated in binary polar regime.
please. do not become tired of life. work it hard and that’s a lot. someone always gives up. let them. giving in makes not giving in stand out. what once was commonplace is super rare and meaningful.
i thought i had it but it went flickering off and on again like shoddy electricity or a super big storm. you can have something and then lose it. it’s disturbing but it’s true. so i glued it to the wall where i could keep my eyes on it. i posted it on the mirror, after the glue wore out and it dropped behind a stack of books and papers. i brushed my teeth to the sound of it, foaming at the mouth. one night it swam down the drain. i broke it out of the plumbing system, what a messy affair. i let it dry beside the jade tree, on the windowsill, hoping against hope it would never leave me again. but it fled underground, planting itself beneath the jade. i watered her faithfully, against the wishes of the jade, until the roots took it up and brought her back to me, a flower. i smiled. i picked her off and thread it into my hair. everyone commented how pretty we were, together. then, that spring, the wind carried her away… when i listen very close, i can still hear her calling, my voice, calling for me. that’s when i know i must be alone. and write. -katya mills
trouble pushed a curse off the edge of a busted lip. didn’t care. got home after lights out. escaped into comic books when bliss blew up again. was secretly oversensitive and cried himself to sleep. only little sister knew. courage was taking the brown glass, pushing skateboard through alleys to the vacant lot. smashing bottles on the old brick wall. broken feels so good. all was left of home. all the necessary rules lying there in liquid and why not? culture never did nothing. some day with little sister’s help he would write a letter. hitchhike outta here. find a paper route and a giant wave to surf. santa cruz will do.
tiles hold the sun. skin absorbs the heat. there are patterns in the floors but only the colors make any sense to me. i cannot feel a pattern. i can only hear the music in the colors. i only feel the sun inside my feet. i am july. on my hands and knees. i am not enough without the sun. on my belly. laughing into the pores of earth.