life @25

1998. love life lacking. movement from ocean side of florida to inner city chicago. dreams of cultural context to inspire, a wealth of journal entries in a leather bound book given me by my brother. i ride on two wheels manufactured by japan. running away from something, i don’t know what. i haven’t learned anything outside of books. i hunger for the streets. i don’t know why. i had it really good. privilege. soft and sea bound. i am about to get what i asked for and get my ass kicked @ 25. willingly.

pearls

life got painful

you couldn’t take it anymore

so you found a corner to cut

you got caught

you were young and that’s what we do

we make mistakes

we are reckless

learning to live

today the pearls are strung

thrice around your

neck

turkish coffee drips into ceramic

sheltered inside your hands

nails

translucent like newborn sea shells

all that ever happened

in your eyes

what you think of yourself

a parliament of youth came together in the U.K. to talk about issues and I watched them on c-span. the most spirited among them stood up from the green leather cushions and waved arms and smiled toward themselves, you could see. I was drawn in by the process. these kids with their fantastic regional accents trying the whole chamber, the whole house of commons, for some eloquence and persuasion. may be what you think of yourself in the end that triumphs.

typewriter.ten

I was a proud twenty and five and wasn’t gonna grieve some misspoken awkwardness in a common beehive. The world then was an accident before it got taped off, a natural intoxication, a Dionysian dream. How could I turn away? I wanted to be out on the streets and not miss a thing. Only when confronted by the sadness of financial insecurity in a large American city, would I submit myself to a nine to five, pushing papers like a mule. I was young and full of pride. I skipped down the sidewalk, afternoons away from work. Whatever I witnessed I either photographed or wrote down in my journals, then took home to type up — only that which had captured my heart.

youth too

we are young -ii-

i hurt by all the friends i lost
by my involvement more than anything

 they ever did

a revolving door of well-meaning kids

who tried to help this kid
when this kid was deeply
 unreachable

now and again a horror
such a demon at times

 i been
have i healed or will i ever
be so terrible you will
not wanna remember me

turn the blinds down
light up the no vacancy
keep me far away

have i done the same

 to you

i believe i suffered

(before and after you)

i am young

lead me — oh! — very young what
of darkness and derision
 to faith from
indecision

inside out of me

— of us all — like
vapors we pass
 through

change us
i am sorry

as we get older i believe
 in our presence
we are young

young

we are young

The days run away and I cannot do anything about this, I do not understand my age. I suppose we are all very young, even the very old, and this appeases the cruel god who comes out from time to time to command us away, life changes and we are not welcome anymore…
you are done with me and i am done with you and all our messy nonsense of two thousand three hundred forty-five yesterdays. I cannot say what came over me but i remember crying when i knew i was no longer gonna be protected or saved. I was to be blooded and charged with my Appetite For Destruction and to carry all the old Lies again, in rare form; they coulda made a fine killer of me, at the academy…
what I want to say is, losing you, this was one of the saddest of neverending losses, what i wanna say is sorry. and you have no need to forgive me unless it helps you — please — i think i forgave myself but i wonder — when i hurt — thinking of all the times you told me fuck off  

before i finally did

in my twenties and thirties

i was the kind who got kicked out of bars for mouthing off, demanding attention, who wandered off and misplaced myself in different American cities, found myself thirsty, dazed and alone some afternoons, in alleyways woke by the sun, after nights i would rather have forgotten but stand in my memory still … yet i could always find refuge in the nearest public library or local reading room where the silence could be so loud, you could even hear fingertips striking keystrokes to the tune of the turning of pages, and there in the warmth of centuries of collective wisdom could i manage to wonder how am i alive? there must be a God or the spirits of my predecessors looking out for me, i am so blessed and cursed, i am … my twenties and thirties were absurd at times, my natural privilege did not always work for me because i convinced myself i oughta earn anything. of course i held a job down most of the time and was responsible about rent and stayed mostly out of jail. i was neither thief nor leech on to another’s good fortune; i mean i made and paid my own way. i was often in a relationship. i thought i was in love a couple of times but in the end i wouldn’t work for it, i wouldn’t make the sacrifices and maybe, just maybe, i did not want to be loved. i was critically self-centered and bursting with pride as i walked solemnly toward my next humiliation. i think i wanted to be punished. back then, i was not interested in god.

Shine cafe in Sacramento. photo by K

bigger than big hearts break in smaller than small town america

imagine the larger than large promise of a child born to bigger than big hearts in smaller than small town america, imagine the laughter and popping of cheap champagne in the paint-blistered home as neighbors and family gathered round to see the new love, imagine the tough days ahead and long hours daddy works to support his young family and coming home late in time to kiss his little girl goodnight and share the day’s stories with his young wife who knows life is hard but so worth it cause everyone she loves is right there and to fight for is right for them all…

imagine years later the daughter is grown and out on her own, married with two kids and her own smaller than small home and the man whom she loves out working which leaves her alone, and life is real hard tryin’ to make it when the economy’s gone south in america and she’s gotta start thinkin about working herself but she’s not sure where, when, or how, and she’s scared cause her man is old-fashioned and doesn’t want her workin but the kids need basics they cannot always provide the way things are, not to mention her parents are gettin older and need help…

imagine she’s got a girlfriend whose sorta lost with no life like hers, who sometimes comes to babysit or just cure her loneliness for awhile, and her friend has some friends who she’s becoming friends with, too, and they are all very nice and see how tired she is and wanna help…

and help sometimes comes in the strangest of forms, like when people in smaller than small towns with bigger than big hearts come together for a quick and easy answer cause they ran out of patience and energy and hope, so they resort to small parties and quickening of pulses, alcohol and cheap cigarrettes, some weed and relax, put on some old chart-topping trax and get to dancing, maybe fun loves between former boys and girls, while daddy’s out working away the long day, and babies are napping their pretty little heads down, and friends will be friendly and adrenaline rises with a chance for some hope to distract from the powerless normalities around here…

hope in the form of intimacies and attraction, the realization you could still be young again a little longer if you tried, if you let your guard down a little and weren’t so old-fashioned, if you let down your hair and wore your old clothes a bit tighter, almost like you still had a chance, it’s exciting, and yes there’s a seam in this matrix which you all downplay, might be one of them cuts up a line of some shit, and not everyone partakes until everyone does, that kinda subtle peer pressure and understated delivery, and it’s no big deal until it is…

imagine how that plays out over several weeks to several months, and now there’s a bit of a problem in the judgment department, the insight department has broken down unawares, and some friends get more intimate against all expectations, now emotions involved, just imagine…

home life becomes ‘boring’ and the life is all ‘chores’ and the kids are so frustrating though never a ‘nuisance’ and daddy’s always tired always tired always tired, and you wanna feel good again you like how it feels with your friends and alone seems so foreign so scary unbearable, so you go on with your ways which you know have got shady, in the smallest of small town america, what with your biggest of big hearts…

nobody knew nobody fathomed nobody could have seen how it played out in the end, imagine the heartbroken suprise that day they found out you were the one in the news who had died who was found in the most public of public places, naked and alone floating in an eddy in a slow moving wide part of the river. yet no one was really all that surprised, almost strangely relieved in a way, for several years you had broken their hearts as you faded or they faded you out of your home life, or somehow some way your big heart went astray and you kinda lost your mind followin some so-called friends off the map of your motherly responsible path, definitely on drugs and you admitted it, too, and several times the intervention came in the form of coffee and donuts and family in your living room, concerned faces whose concern you tried to talk off, and an angry tired man by your side with two scared and half-hungry little kids you just wanted to hug all the day long, but something inside you demanded be fed, and you long since left and lost your little head though your big of big hearts was the same just the same…

it was like despite all that and the love all around you, nothing could be done to get it all right, something was lacking in money and resources, something was strained past the point of any use, and family could not know how to be… other than deeply and morbidly depressed when the thought of what to do about you came to light. so when you died it was almost like relief to them all, but others around your so-called friends started coming up headlines as well, and the smallest of small towns in small town america was about to make international headlines, you know, cause these young women dying for no good reason was too much for the eyes of the world to pass up for too long, and it turns out there were others in some status and addiction to power out taking great and greedy advantage of the desperate situation of impoverished peoples with the biggest of bigger than big hearts and minds long since lost in the smallest of smaller than small town america…

imagine the manipulations concocted by these exact people in positions of great power in such small places, demanding small intimacies from these lost women to heal their long since broken capacity for real and genuine warmth. and it even went off kinda well or so it seemed, i mean it oiled a system long since cracked from coast to coast so how could that be wrong? or terrible? or unholy? nobody would check themselves and why should they, when you and your friends had been paid for your services and conveniently fit into the transactional nature of corporate america…

forget the emotions underlying and the hearts beating bright for a chance and some hope, and young half-starved children all waiting extended out into wings, out on the margins where they found you all brutally murdered or left to die with cocaine in your system, or meth or whatever… the biggest of bigger than big hearts forever broken in the smallest of smaller than small towns, that’s what.