Song of the Hill People

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Look like crows to me…

Stretching around Partition St and going for miles, passed Central Park and out to Herkimer St is what historians have labeled ‘Land of the Hill People’. Starting at Partition, the streets become narrow and slanted, as this half of the city is constructed on a hill… well, a mountain. In the early seventies, a group of nomads conquered this section of the city, known as the ‘Comanchi Hill Squatters’. They took the south side of Partition by force, invading the Stewarts and forcing out indigenous people that had lived there for generations. From there, they sped along the hill, gathering a brute army that slaughtered hundreds, before the city evacuated to the south. An army had to be called in to monitor the growing strength of this invasion, which amassed so swiftly it could hardly continue with such energy. Military experts could do nothing to save those within the area of Partition to Herkimer St, and thus the hill people either murdered those left behind, enslaved them or used them as a type of broodmare for their rotten genes. Since that fateful time, the hill people have become a staple of this fair city, with their genes being so inter-spliced amidst one another that their DNA can hardly be differentiated between one another. They’ve made this central point of our town their kingdom, which slants at an awkward right angle and forces all who park here to use their emergency brake.

There is a great hymn that these people have preserved over the years, sometimes editing to make their heroes sound that much greater to the ears of their children. It’s an important piece of their history, protecting it from invaders, as the Hill People are oft to do. They don’t take to outsiders with affection. They’ve always been xenophobic to a point where even their neighbors become enemies, if only for a while, before they’re friends again. History is their bond and theirs is full of myth and superstition. There’s this song that has escaped their secrecy, for which plenty have heard. I will share it now. This is the ‘Song of the Hill People’:

Many deeds have bested belly Bibby Bobby Maroo

Who tied together both his strings and gave the world his shoe

Not one to bother ever more to see between his sneakers

and belly slim amidst the mass of unrepentent tweekers

To cringe a toss so delicate betwixt his bloody fingers

That wrapped around those blackened cords with not a twinge of singer

And Billy Bobby broke it down to dance before his rivals

as they cringed with crimson rage and tossed their shoes in piles

For victory had been denied, because of Bobby Maroo

Who tossed, just one, but plenty more, his bloody, busted shoe.

Going through the land of the Hill People, one will see these decorations, shoes tied at the laces, strewn about the power-lines, as a show of respect to Bobby Maroo. Outsiders aren’t welcome for good reason. We can’t possibly understand the complexity of their culture. It would take anthropologists decades to infiltrate and understand the superstitions and religious hierarchies of the Hill People. This seems an impossibility, since the core belief among all Hill People is that if they can’t trust you they can have nothing to do with you. Still, one has to wonder what occurs at night, when they sing these songs, howling at the moon and honoring their dark gods.

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Where The Buffalo Roam

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Photo of me, circa 1995. I enjoy hay most times, but there’s just something about grass… Oh give me a home… where the buffalo roam…

Over time, I’ve grown accustomed to my cynical interpretations of the world, although I will admit for honesty’s sake that I don’t think it’s the proper way to view the world. Being a cynic is the same as being an optimist, is the same as being a broken clock… you’re likely to be right at least twice in a day. Still, when you see the amount of stupidity and arrogance and brutality it’s just impossible not to cling to your ideals. Most of us need them for comfort. I see the future in blips that my mind tries to decipher. I see a little bit of what I remember from history classes. Repetition is the way of the world. You’ll see a glorious Fourth Reich emerge under the guise of the ‘American Dream’ and that’ll be the end of it. Rome prospered as a Republic. It floundered as an Empire. The era of the Christian empire… we refer to that these days as the ‘Dark Ages’. And, for all my cynicism, I can’t shake the bitter truth that’s chewing on my insides… you know, that vital point where the gut calls out to those who refuse to accept it.

I woke up during a generation that wasn’t accustomed to such harsh realities. We knew the world around us from a twenty-inch television screen. We saw the horror appear between cartoons, when our fathers would flip the channels for a moment, and in this way we were exposed to the densely packed chicanery of the outside world. If anything separated us or made us unique when compared to the generations before it’s that our parents and various consignment of adults seemed to inspire the apathy that would cement our legacy. They wanted us to be less inspired. They wanted us to be comfortable, because they weren’t when they were at our age. We weren’t hippies, although we enjoyed the drug use. We weren’t our harsh conservative counterparts leading impetuous, vulgar crusades against any other forms of reality that might coincide with our belief structures. Simply put… we just were. We saw the worst of both worlds. We saw Columbine, when two teenage boys brought in assault rifles and made their school into a war-zone. We saw Bill Clinton and the amorality that accompanied him, although the macabre demeanor of the entire circus was something all the more vulgar, as those who persecuted him were outed as pederasts and conmen. This is the world that my generation knew. We heard the words of our doom and devastation, but none of it seemed so real as to shake us out of this spell, for which I have no words.

I’ll admit that all the dangers seemed far away. We were a generation that grew up playing as pirates and soldiers, while not knowing that children are age in worlds far away were playing these games for real. Child soldiers, child slaves, child abduction. There was no such thing as ‘a childhood’ in other worlds, where kids our same age were forced to grow up much too fast, while we were allowed to hold onto ours up to the age of… well… I’m thirty-one… so… I think I have a few more years.

If it was one issue… and only one… which is a stretch, as I’m sure you could pick several issues with how our society operates… I think that our culture developed some form of impenetrable, narcissistic wall around us. Our parents, along with various corporate sponsors and conservative, amoral senators, took special care in protecting their children, protecting us, although the harsh realities of the outside world still remained. We maintained a delicate, oblivious nature that continued into adulthood. That’s what I blame. Every generation has a struggle of self, something that would’ve been labeled a ‘spiritual dilemma’ in days of old. Our generation has no spirit. We have no struggle. This is the dilemma. We’ve never been challenged or at least, whenever we’ve been challenged, someone else comes to our aid in miraculous fashion.

The real price of our narcissism is a willingness to allow everything to fall apart, because we think it will illicit a response from a yet to be determined messiah. We’ll let the world fall apart, because we expect a winged figure, not an angel, but superman, batman, whoever, to put all our fears to rest. The problem with this belief is that the rest of the world isn’t in on the joke. Our parents let us believe in monsters for too long, while the rest of the world already knew. We have a lot of catching up to do, but I don’t see it happening. We’re far too cynical. Most likely, we’ll let it all fall apart, because the comfort of our situation has yet to be compromised.

Overcoming this era in our lives, when we’ve been set to such a moderate standard, for which the challenge was never necessary is, in itself, the greatest challenge of our generation. We have plenty of goals, we just have to accept them. We have far more goals than we do limits. We have far more opportunities than we’d like to admit. We have far more chances for greatness than we do possibilities to hide when the nightmare finally asserts control.

Rensselaer Little League

Image result for funny baseballDuality principle is allowed to work even when you don’t take the time to consider it. You don’t have to think about belonging, becoming, existing with the world around you. Every once in a while, the cosmos create a certain blending of delicate harmonies and the world functions as one. It doesn’t have to be made into anything spiritual. It’s just a perfect moment when time, place and opportunity unfold before your eyes to allow a certain unknown reality to unfold.

One of the worst things about revelation is that it can fold back into unreality in a moment’s notice. If you don’t understand it or take the time to think about it, the moment disperses and you’re left with nothing. You might maintain certain illusions about the moment and how it made you feel, but unless you examine and learn from it, you’ll never manifest it in your everyday life… unless luck allows for it, if only one last time.

When I was a kid, I remember having such a moment. It’s amazing and unforgettable, because it’s not just happening to you. It happens to everyone around you. They sense it in some way, but for some it doesn’t register as anything significant. It’s duality principle taking effect, although, it can happen in a flash, and often manifests in the form of chaos. Nobody notices that it’s an organized chaos. We just see the bomb going off, the aftermath, the devastation, but we never catch the essence of what occurred.

The forms that it takes can be the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen. For me and for several of us who signed up… it occurred at the Rensselaer Little League. There aren’t as many ‘city-lines’ that divide us… which is to say, people from one part of town don’t hate those on another part of town. Our hatred is individualized. This is what gives it its power. A man can hate another man for any damn reason that he pleases. We’ve all heard horror stories about parents acting more like children during these games. It happened more than I care to remember during my time playing at the Rensselaer Little League. Parents didn’t seem to understand that this was a pointless endeavor. We played in a field that ended a cul de sac, with a crick just behind the outfield fences. Somehow, the parents thought we were playing at Yankee Stadium. They’d bicker among one another, argue with umpires or even manage to call-out other people’s children. Usually when the last thing happened, the parent of the child would get involved and a fight would have to be broken up.

I’m relatively certain that this ‘Parents Behaving Badly’ occurs enough that it could be made into its own reality show. I can’t even begin to try and understand what’s going on in their minds. The point is that instead of bringing us together for an enjoyable time, it was made into something that seemed to bring out the worst in people. It wasn’t every time, but once in a while, some underlying psychosis got the better of them all and just… POOF… our fun time was taken away. Baseball provides for many a scapegoat for the excitement one finds in life, capsulizing it to brief moments, where children steal home or hits his first home run. The Little League that hides within a cul de sac off of Partition provides a place for children of all walks of life to meet, to see that they have something in common with one another, while their parents maintain their cultural bias.

How duality principle presented itself to me can be explained by the clever adage, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’. The hatred in this town performed two amazing feats of mental gymnastics when the summer came on and a few of us made the ‘All-Star League’, which brought other teams to our field at the end of a cul de sac. The first amazing feat of our hatred was to bring us together. Our hatred became infectious, spreading throughout the parents and bringing them together in order to form a united front against the parents and children of the opposing teams. It wasn’t a good things. I know this, but it happened. You could see people who always hated one another working together to act like fools and bicker about how the other teams were getting all the good breaks, good calls, good things overall. In this respect, the second mental gymnastic that formed this day out of duality principle is that our people understood the necessity of a decent scapegoat. The parents and people who came to enjoy the game found something special in berating the outsiders that came to the end of our cul de sac. There was a real feeling that we lived in a place close to ‘Thunderdome’, where two teams enter and just one could leave. We never put together the reality… THEY were the ones that get to leave. It didn’t matter. We were full of a sense of pride for where we were, brought on by these foreign invaders with nicer uniforms. That never mattered. We didn’t want to be them. We wanted… well… who the hell knows.

Duality principle didn’t last too long in those trying times and god knows nobody learned anything from the moment that we had. I was too young to understand the significance and even now, several years down the road, all I can see is the blurry memories of losing a summer because baseball felt like the sport that would never end. The duality of it is this… we can walk around or bump into each other. We can bump into each other and pick each other up or knock ourselves out into space. We can crash and put each other together or pull one another apart. That’s what I learned in between watching parents act worse than kids and trying to figure out why the god damn summer league would never, ever end.

Embrace of Calliope

Image result for love jokeOur town isn’t known for much. It’s rare for us to get in the papers and when we do, it’s more likely for something terrible that will bring us great shame. After a while, you just sort of become numb to it. You laugh it off, not to laugh at yourself, but laugh at the regular humiliation of your people. It’s kinda like being a Cleveland Browns fan… for which I offer my deepest sympathies.

On the day in question, when we received our deepest veneration from the world, it took the death of two of our greatest patrons, Calliope the Immortal and Eseferon the Great. Their story was something that brought hope to the world, but their ending was what caught people’s attention. They died in each other’s arms. It was a beautiful moment, so much so that someone even took a picture and, someone even more morbid had it framed. It stood in our local library for a few days, before it appeared distasteful to some and had to be removed.

Now, what came as an even greater surprise and helped create a mythology about their love was that Eseferon the Great somewhat predicted their deaths. I don’t think he predicted it as much as hoped. He wanted nothing more than to fall asleep forever in her arms. Eseferon the Great told the world that he had cancer, stricken limbs with rigor before his death, pulsing pains here and there, but, so it goes, when Calliope moved her hands over his body he felt nothing more. He claimed to have a sore on his neck, but when she touched it the pain dispersed. He believed himself to have something terrible lurking in his sides, but with a gentle caress she made the pain go away. He claimed that her touch held mystical powers. He claimed that when he was around her he felt no more pain.

This was something he said over and over again. For years, he’d admit to believing that she had something special that he couldn’t put his finger on, although it was her love that truly drove him to feel better. Calliope the Immortal I never saw a picture of in her younger days, although she maintained an undeniable beauty in her declining years. She appeared above the fatigue of death, doom and old age. People thought they were both crazy, because Calliope never had a job and all she ever seemed to do was walk around. It was something to see, however, as if we had a guardian angel roaming the streets without concern. It almost seemed as if we should also live without concern. She’d walk through our Riverfront Park and disappear under the bridge, only to return, same upright stance, same graceful walk, as if above water.

The coroners said there was nothing wrong with Eseferon, although he was always the hypochondriac, but I’m sure he’d assume his lack of distress on his loving partner. Calliope called them back. Her gift must’ve run out. Either way, I believe they knew their time was running out. She’d held him together for so long. What do you do when you have no time left? They returned to what brought them here in the first place. They did what they loved to do.

Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed

 


Doom is the word. It holds a great deal of weight at the tip of your tongue. Sound it out and let it settle. Your ears don’t want to accept the presence of such a word in your vocabulary. It’s a word that everyone deals with in everyday life, yet only a few know the definition. Knowing is struggling. Knowing is being defeated by life or other forces that prove much stronger, greater, more capable of breaking you down and making you feel like less than what you are. Doom is the word. It can’t be written out of the dictionary. It belongs, just like hope and prosperity.

Doom is a symbol of greatest despair. It’s the ‘nothing left, game-over’ scenario, when you have nowhere else to turn. You’ve run out of options. You’ve failed in a way that nothing will ever get better. If anything, it’ll only get worse. A symbol of doom weighs heavy on the soul. You don’t often notice them right away. More often, you live such a life that you have to look back and see, before you can pinpoint the augury of your downfall. Think of the Statue of Liberty and what it’s supposed to mean to a person coming in after spending days at sea, locked shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, while you hold your child close to you and hope that you both can weather the storm. Imagine looking up over the horizon of ocean that you’ve seen for days and seeing that beautiful sign of hope: a distant flame in the endless ocean, her torch, held high above inequity and doom. Imagine what you feel, what you think, what you understand about your future. It’s enough to fill a man with hope. So too is that point when you’ve run out of hope. So too is that point when you have nothing, but to accept your fate.

The ocean is doom. Your old life is doom. Doom is the point of no return, when all hope is lost and nothing can be done to save you. It’s been symbolized by mythical places, like Hell or Hades, but in using symbols to define it, we’ve lost what it means for the truly doomed. True doom is reserved for those beyond reach. It’s for people so desperate they’d flee across an ocean for a better life.

What is hope? Hope is wishing for something better. The doomed have to hope that they can be absolved of whatever sin has caused their suffering. Hope is beyond the ocean, yet absolution is so much further.

If you walk beneath the Dunn Memorial Bridge in Rensselaer, New York, you’ll find several things. You’ll find a baseball field with a tremendous history to the sport, although you might not think it. You’ll find the noise insufferable, as cars speed above on their way to the highway. Of utmost importance are the pillars that keep the highway from crashing into the river. Several artists perfected their art against the sturdy concrete, as a proper reminder that almost anything can be made beautiful with a little effort. I found this one (Top Left) of utmost importance, not only to our town, but to the world. I call him, Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed, because we all need hope in some form. The last time I walked passed this place beneath the highway, I saw its trash bins overflowing, while crows pulled out leftovers and made off with them like victorious scoundrels. I don’t understand that symbol, but I’d rather find meaning in something more beneficial.

For the lost souls that roam in our fair city, there is Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed. The fallen angel, Kama, sacred returner of lost souls, watches over us all. Predators threaten. Call the city a haven and that’s what it becomes. Treat it like one and you live up to your word. Deliver on this promise and it is so. Kama is the protector. He pushes those forces that would cause us harm out into the ether, allowing us to remain, like a bubble along the river. After enough time, the bubble will pop and Kama will return from whence he came. Until then, he watches over us. Kama takes the form of the spider, but unlike most spiders he has not set this trap. This is not his web. Our web was empty, this empty city would’ve been picked apart if not for him. Every so often the web will tear, threatening a collapse into oblivion. Kama holds it together.

Outside forces work to tear down what we call sacred. It’s only a matter of time before they succeed and we are torn apart. That doesn’t matter. It’s not the point to preserve what is inherently doomed. It’s the point to try. It’s the point to try. It’s the point to try. Kama protects us. Still, even with him as our protector, our fate is sealed. We’ll collapse into oblivion, yet we have this time to enjoy our empire of dirt. Let his name, Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed, be praised.

Eternal State of Boredom


The Eternal State of Boredom, so it goes or so it seems, from one bridge to another. It’s those things in between: houses, streets, cricks, parks, people, playgrounds that I wish to ignore. The entirety of these forms shall pass, yet, with any city, there can be said to be an ‘identity’ that’s all its own. It belongs to none of us, yet it has become who we are. This is the Eternal State of Boredom.

Every city has its identity. You can walk down a street in New York and feel the incessant rush of constant motion. If it’s not people moving it’s buses and cars, subways, trains, plains, taxis and people on bikes dragging tourists. They move in a million different directions. Everyone has somewhere to go and, what’s more, after that they have somewhere else to go. It’s constant motion, wanting more, needing more, and moving to sustain a society that would crumble to dust if the inertia ever stopped. I haven’t been to other cities, but they’ve all come up under different circumstances and it’s wrong to assume that every city is the same. Some are developed through ports and trades and find their identity in accepting a different form of culture from those that arise through other means. Others become ‘the party city’, like New Orleans, a place I hold close to my heart. New Orleans is a beautiful city full of all sorts of wild animals. You have rats in all forms. Some come along as ‘street beggars’, who act like musicians or do whatever they must to earn a dollar. I met a man who claimed to be a time-traveler needing a few bucks to fix his machine and get back home. He said he saw the bloody days of the French Revolution, as he went on about the clean precision of the guillotine, which he believed to be well ahead of its time. Now, how could I deny a man like that a single dollar?

Every city possesses an identity that, although it is also subject to change, this is something all its own. No other town can be like New Orleans. They can be similar, but nothing can compare. Can it be said, if I’m proposing an identity for every city, that these same cities can possess their own destiny? We’ve often thought a town to be something different, where people make up its identity and nothing else. If this is true, then what do we make of a town with a destiny? If this is true, we must look at the world in a new light, for what could be said to be the destiny of a town like New Orleans after Hurricane Sandy? While we’re on the subject, what about towns with horrifying scars on their past, like Hiroshima, Auschwitz or… well, how about you guys give me some fun one?

Salem, Massachusetts is a fun one that I’ve actually visited. I enjoy the town, because you can walk around the streets and have all the presence of a normal person walking around a simple, puritan town. It has the feel that nothing has ever happened ever to leave a black mark on their record. If you go down the right corner you can see what is an alleged ‘haunted house’ that belonged to the former mayor during the Salem Witch Trials. For those who don’t know, the Salem Witch Trials were a period of mass hysteria when people were believed to be manipulated by dark forces and thus, had to be tortured. It’s something that none of us would ever want to endure and thinking of that time sends a chill of fear, as you realize that sensible people can be denigrated to monsters with a whim of hysteria and terror. Now, of course, it’s become a show. They use their story to entertain the world, establishing their ‘pirate museum’, as well as their ‘torture museum’, where they show the dungeons that some of the people were kept to stew in their dark powers. It’s all entertainment, yet, during that time, the paranoia and mass hysteria created a far more sinister identity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials

As it goes for my city, I can see no destiny. I see what I wish it to be, sure, but as for an identity that the few thousand inhabitants would agree upon, well… it’s something I wouldn’t want to admit. It’s something ugly in, not only its laziness, but its apathy. I call it ‘The Eternal State of Boredom’. I’ve struggled to explain our identity to outsiders. You look in on our city and see a mess. You see nothing and that’s a fair point that comes to define who we are. We’ve nothing to manifest an identity, so we turn to the train. Tracks cut the city in half, yet none of us ever follow them out of here, far away, moving beyond toward a greater destiny than what we’ve been given for so long. If a city has a destiny, does it find it on its own? How does a city possess its own destiny? How do we help our city find where it belongs?

I’ve walked along these same tracks all my life. I’ve seen people and places change, all the while the city remained the same. The Eternal State of Boredom is a product of a mindset that has already given up. We’ve failed to change what we perceive to be of no importance. We’ve ignored the warnings of the world, as our city somehow sustains itself without falling into the abyss of time and impatience. Roanoke is another city with an interesting history. Its people abandoned it or so the story goes. Nobody knows what happened to the ‘lost colony’, although similar fates have come to several cities throughout history. Boom cities came up when gold was abundant in the western states, but when the gold disappeared so did the people. The cities remained. Everyone calls them ‘haunted’ now. Ancient cities had to be abandoned as well, when either their water source became depleted or marauders came and enslaved their people. We act like that can’t happen today, but really, it’s only the technology that’s advanced… and maybe the cities, but not the people.

It’s important to see different worlds before they disappear. For every city an identity. For every city a destiny. If you want, you can walk down South Street or any street, since the train goes through everyone’s backyard and sit and stare at the tracks. They run by at the same time each day, creating so much noise before it all disappears into the crippling nothingness of our culture. The trains are something to see, not exactly New Orleans or New York, but something in the least. A train is a relic of a time when man and technology forged an empire. They’re modern day petroglyphs, marking a city that might have to move on if it’s identity is somehow forgotten. Even worse, if the identity was never there in the first place. We sit in reverence of the trains, skipping stones along our quiet river, sharing a subtle appreciation for this Eternal State of Boredom.

The Baby Pool of East Saharan Africa


Alas, our poor summer is reaching its end! Loathsome fall will have its day, but for the moment, the sun can play!

When the desperation of the summer months hits hardest, the animals flock to the watering holes, where they can socialize and relax without the fear of dehydration. It becomes a social ground, where the wild buffalo can ingratiate themselves with giraffes and boars. The wide array of diverse creatures bring their children to enjoy the weather. They frolic and make friends well into the summer months, before the inevitable comes and they’re forced back to school. When the months follow toward the end of summer is when you get the sense of impending danger. The chances of an attack become even more, as predators get desperate and plot their attacks, before Fall hits and covers their tracks.

The watering hole loses its luster. The animals notice the water dissipating with every passing day. They realize that the water is going, because so many have come together. Those that they’ve learned to appreciate they come to despise. It’s all about who’s to blame, instead of who could help. It does a number on the group, effectively destroying it in the name of instinct and survival.

With the group in tatters, it comes to the predators to weed out the weak. Predators circle around the perimeter of chain-link, being sure to keep an eye on the prey for which they would steal away from this place, while making their sight imperceptible. The point is not to know. No one can know; they all have to think they’re the next victim. It helps to ensure that the group never becomes one ever again. Fear has a way of making you into what it wants, if you let it. Everyone sees him, no matter how clever or deceptive he believes himself to be.

They know he’ll strike, but when he does it’s as unpredictable as lightning. When he fades off into the bushes, it’s like lightning fading into the clouds. Nobody realizes that he’s done it, until a young child has been taken. They all look around, wondering what evil has been perpetrated. Only one family has suffered this time. There’s nothing they can do about it. Loss is loss. The group comes together to honor their loss. They pay tribute, bringing what little they have of the harvest. They provide shelter and warmth. They keep this group together, because there’s so little comfort in this world.

As for the cycle, so it goes…

Del Cid

Solar corona above statue of El Cid SF CA.jpgThere was a story I remember reading in school about El Cid, who challenged the  Muslims who invaded Spain. He held a minor territory for a while, but still, he was a great leader. You hear these stories all the time if you look through the history books, but not many people apply them to their everyday lives. I’ve always wondered how many of these great warriors exist in our time that have gone undocumented and thus, die without their proper glory. It’s tough, when the world around us seems settled, no longer wild and without form. Ancient cultures seemed to fluctuate between rulers, with eager warlords rushing to rape and pillage, slaughter and sunder, to lay claim, plant their seed and have their name spread across the world. I think of the fall of the Byzantine Empire. One of the great structures, the Hagia Sophia epitomized that time, but then, when the Vikings invaded… someone wrote his name on it and it’s remained their to this day. Now, it’s history and no one cares; it’s as significant of the time as the structure itself. A great warrior left his mark; the world passes his name, posing with it for pictures. That’s the dream of every warrior, every madman and zealot. Every person struggles to be significant.

Del Cid didn’t think to be remembered, although a lot that he did was quite memorable. I once saw him fight through a broken nose. He just didn’t stop. There must’ve been a trigger in his mind, an impulse, an instinct, if you will, that pushed him through it. It told him to fight and that was what he did; it was all he knew. Stopping and tending to his bloody, crooked nose never occurred to him. It was disgusting to the rest of us, seeing his busted nose slanting against his bloodied face, but he didn’t seem to even notice the pain. I swear I caught his nose moving left and right, as he scrambled through the influx of pain and adrenaline. He fought so hard, if only to ensure that the other guy looked the same, felt his pain, understood the suffering that he’d endured. It was all about proving your toughness, proving who you are and what made you a force to be reckoned.

He wasn’t exactly a drug dealer. Del Cid was the guy the drug dealer calls to collect. He didn’t like to fight most of those guys or so he said, although he did enjoy his ‘tough guy’ persona. He liked a challenge. He told me that he didn’t like having a gun on him, because it took the fun out of it. One time, a guy tried to fight his way out of the apartment and Del Cid was forced to pummel him. He had two of his friends with him. Del Cid took care of them all, but he forgot to bring the money. The man came by a few hours later with the money. It just didn’t occur to Del Cid that this was about the money. He didn’t care. This wasn’t his job; it was his way of life and he loved it.

Del Cid didn’t last long in high school. I had nothing in common with Del Cid, excluding belonging to this fair city. I respected him, because I held an illusion for what he could be. Great men don’t come so often, especially in this city. I wanted to believe that things could get better. Del Cid ended up in jail. A funny thing happened when he went away. Everyone in his inner circle did the same. They disappeared. The glue that held them together dissolved in no time. Most found their place with other, lesser Del Cids.

In understanding a man like Del Cid, it’s important to examine more than his actions, but those that surrounded him. His father, an alcoholic, impregnated his mother five times, Del Cid being second oldest, before leaving and doing the same thing with another woman. He came back every so often, but it always ended in a fight with either Del Cid or someone else. The brothers fought all the time, if not out of anger, then just as a means to maintain the delicate hierarchy alongside their mother. Del Cid learned to fight in his own home, how to assert dominance and claim his place. It’s not exactly Spain or Hagia Sophia or even Sparta, but it still seems significant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Cid

Rattling the Monkey Cage

It was quiet… a little too quiet on the night of April 11th, in this most wretched year of our Lord . I sat with friends in our usual booth in a nearly empty restaurant. Someone a little familiar caught my eye, as he made his way toward the side of the bar. I used to work retail. It was awful. I’ll tell you more about it some other time. I remembered the guy from when he came into my old job with his mother. I was there long enough that I could still remember him as a kid. I remembered the boy as a polite, considerate young man. I didn’t know him very well.

Then… he spoke. Not to me, but to those around him. More people started to flood the restaurant. They’d gotten out from a recent Trump rally on the other side of the river. They were excited. Rhetoric is the same no matter when or where you hear it. It’s a simple equation: Insert belief + Nonsensical Conclusion + A lot more belief = Fuck it we’re bad at math anyway. They could say it with smiles and jeers and as if it made sense. They gave a toast led by the young man I’d known from my retail days. He lifted his glass and said “We’re gonna build a wall!” I laughed, but they were being serious. They were dead set. That bothered me more than the rhetoric. They believed that an issue as complex as immigration could be handled by building a wall.

We left early, because… why not? There were more taglines thrown around, but I couldn’t stomach much more. That one tagline about building a wall always got to me and I still can’t wrap my mind around it. Then, I realized I was thinking too much. It was a simple solution that would have catastrophic consequences, but my problem was… I was thinking too much. These people aren’t thinking of any more than what seems right (in their minds). They see the issue: people enter our country illegally. They see the solution: build a wall. Simple, logic in its most archaic form. The complexity of immigration isn’t something they were built to handle. They don’t care that the people you want to keep out of this country build massive underground highways. They don’t care. Then again, I’m thinking too much. I’m thinking they don’t want the bad immigrants, like the drug lords that are helping to keep Mexico in chaos. That’s too much thought. They just don’t want brown people in this country. They don’t want to think of who’s good or bad. They just want the good thing done (building a wall) so the bad people (all immigrants) can’t ‘ruin’ our great country.

Another idea I heard was that they’re gonna have all the illegal aliens shipped out of the country. If building a wall doesn’t bankrupt us this idea definitely has the potential. Then, it doesn’t matter the cost; it matters what’s right.

I could ignore their madness up to this point, when I watched bits and pieces of the Republican National Convention and was amazed at what I heard and saw from the ‘Grand Old Party’. It’s something I realized that struck me in the point where my heart should be, somewhere there, poking at my gut. Mr. Trump is an obnoxious little cunt that sits in the pit of my chest, just below the cavity where my heart should be… and just above my gut. He’s a worm, but that doesn’t matter. He’s embedded into the future of America. He’s rooted like a tapeworm in our digestive tract. It isn’t going to matter if he wins. I doubt he will… sincerely, I doubt, but it no longer matters. He’s exposed something that America hasn’t accepted about its true nature. It’s a legacy of racism and simple-minded ideals. America is a country of idealists that take all shapes and sizes. We believe in fair market, while corporations bleed the world dry. We believe in saving the planet, while we destroy it.

We’re at capacity for foolish, sincere, idealists of all breeds. The ones that follow Trump are a particular strain of antiquated racists whose gram-pappies founded this country. They seemed relatively docile, dormant and, dare I say, serene around the turn of the twentieth century. They had no more armies, although they still clung to their rotten ideals. The ones that follow Trump aren’t going away if he doesn’t get elected, because they’ve been here since time unremembered. They’re here to stay. They’ve always been here and now they have a voice. It’s an old troll with tiny sausage fingers and a horrible (HORRIBLE) Toupee… and yes, there will be… ‘hell toupee’…

What I’ve learned from eight years of Obama is that the diluted gene pool of the inbreeding white supremacist has suddenly taken on myriad forms. It’s become more of a Ocean of Life. Where once it used to be entrenched in its bunkers out west waiting for the day the government sends the black helicopters to take their land, now it’s in our backyards. Obama struck a nerve for these people. They would’ve hated him no matter what he did. They hated him for what he stood for (in their minds). He was a symbol of racial decline. They were losing power. To them, he became a symbol of the final nail in the coffin for the dominance of the white male in this country. They cling to their guns. They cling to their traditions. They don’t accept change. Change means the collapse of something their ‘gram-pappies’ built. Obama exposed it simply by being who he is; there is a cult that went unnamed in America made up of white, Conservative Christians. It wasn’t spoken of before, because it wasn’t real. It was just a bunch of people with the same ideals who weren’t a unified group.

Even if Donald Trump doesn’t become the president, he still serves a role that is more fitting. He’s a figurehead. He’s a relic. He’s like the ‘spear of destiny’. When the Crusaders found the spear, they charged toward Jerusalem and killed everything in sight. Zealots only need a rallying cry. They don’t need scientists telling them the planet’s on fire. They don’t need economists explaining how currency works. They don’t need the logistics of building a wall, deporting millions of people and plunging our country into greater debt. Thought is the enemy. They live off of belief. It pollutes them, like toxic waste, telling them that all is well. You see them close their eyes and worship within, seeing the void and something deeper. They have something that calls them to a place of eternal peace. They hear a soothing voice channeling them to the center. It calls them unto a world without violence or strife or ‘coloreds’. The voice belongs to Donald Trump. He’s in their minds now, but he’s always been there. It just never had a name.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/09/this-is-what-trumps-border-wall-could-cost-us.html

Epidemic Infrastructure

Not about my town, but more about every town in this country. There’s a widespread epidemic of abandoned buildings that have no use and in this new age is the opportunity to change the purpose behind them. It’s time to get creative.

The epidemic in this country is the infrastructure and it’s about time we found a cure.

 

Ghost Boxes: Reusing Abandoned Big-Box Superstores Across America