Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Poetry - 5 Minutes At the End of the Pier

5 Minutes At the End of The Pier
I didn’t have much time to spare,
Maybe thirty minutes was all,
So I decided to drive to the beach
And park my car
And walk to the end of the pier
And sit.
As I neared the ocean,
The breeze began to pick up speed.
My hair blew into my eyes,
And my linen shirt caught the wind
Like a sail,
Like a flag.
Everyone else out at the beach
Were wearing sweaters or jackets,
But I just had a linen shirt and jeans.
I must have looked silly in the chill air:
My hair in my face, my shirt flapping.
Most of the people there were fishing:
Standing mutely, their hands in their pockets,
A pole dangling off the side of the pier.
Some talked in hasty Spanish about this or that;
Most were quiet.
If they looked at me, I didn't notice.
As I stepped on the wooden slats,
The wind blowing my hair in my face,
My shirt flapping,
All I saw was the sea:
An empire of blue and green emptiness
The possibilities beyond
The unending line of the horizon
The light reflecting off the water
The faintest outline of the islands
My wind-blown hair partially obstructing my view.
I walked to the end of the pier,
The sound of my footsteps inaudible over the sound
Of the sea
And the wind,
And sat on the bench.
It had taken longer than I thought to walk there;
I supposed I had five minutes,
Just five.
So for five minutes I sat on the bench
At the end of the pier
And I looked out at the unending blue
And I felt the breeze on my face and my hair
And I breathed
And I was suddenly conscious of my breathing.
I was breathing.
When was the last time I had breathed?
I couldn’t remember.
I found that strange.
I looked out at the unending blue and I breathed
I breathed, really breathed, for five minutes
For five minutes at the end of the pier.
And as I sat
And as I breathed
I thought:
I thought about people who had never seen the ocean
I thought about people who would never see the ocean
I thought about people who dreamed of the ocean
That they would never see.
And I looked out on that ocean
And I was thankful;
Thankful I had the ocean
Thankful I lived in California
And thankful that for five minutes
A whole five minutes
I could breathe
As I sat at the end of the pier

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Imaginary Conversations - The Beginning

This conversation is imaginary.  You know the drill. The rest are here.


"Yeah, pretty much"


"Feel better?"

"I don't know what to do anymore"

"I know"

"I want to keep fighting but I am broken"

"I know"

"I'm starting to question my very sanity.  I don't understand how these people don't realize what is happening.  I don't understand how they can say things are business as usual.  I don't know how they can be so callus about people's lives.  I don't know how they can't see how he is consolidating power.  I don't know how they can't see..."

"Neither do I"

"Whenever you watch movies... and I hate to compare this to a movie, but I have to because I really have no other basis for comparison right now.  Whenever you watch movies, it is always at the end."


"It is at the end.  It is after a period of 10-30 years of horrible, sometimes more, and the good guys stop the bad guys after years of planning and organizing and stuff."

"I see what you are saying"

"Like even Rogue One, which was before the end, which was the catalyst for the end, took place in the context of a Rebellion that had been growing over a period of years, a Rebellion that had an infrastructure and stuff, you know what I am saying."

"I do.  You are saying we are in the prequels."

"Yeah, sort of. This is just the beginning.  It has just started.  I always thought that if I was there at the beginning that I would know what to do to stop it.  That if everybody saw it for what it was they would stop it.  Like if Senator Palpatine was unmasked as a Sith before power had been consolidated that everybody would be ok and we would have never had Darth Vader or any of it."

"But you are starting to realize that unmasking a Sith is harder than you thought?  Or that it isn't enough?"

"That it isn't enough, I guess.  That even if somebody saw Palpatine Force choking somebody they would think like 'well maybe he just happened to choke on a pretzel at the same time.' That even if they saw the evil right in front of their eyes they would either think the evil is justified for their own protection or that there was no evil and the evil wasn't really there at all.  There was no Force, there was no Sith. It was just make believe."

"Fake News."

"Yeah, exactly.  Like you know how Rey and Finn are all super surprised that the Force is real?  Even back in the original trilogy, Han called it a superstition and stuff. That always struck me.  There used to be this organization of magical Force wielding Jedi that everybody believed in and then all of a sudden people stopped believing that such a thing could even exist.  They knew the Empire controlled everything, but they probably didn't even believe that the Emperor was a Sith, even after all that time. None of it was real.  All of it was pretend."

"I've read somewhere that most people in the Star Wars universe probably couldn't read, that communication was really difficult.   Things were still very much like videos only, not a whole lot of real written records.  Plus, as we saw in Rogue One, storage of records was really bad.  You take one thing and that's the entire record of that thing, there are like no other copies of anything anywhere.  I could understand how information could be distorted in that environment."

"So do I, and I have definitely read articles about that before.  What I struggle with is, yeah, that whole Fake News thing.  Just that people might as well not be able to read, might as well be like the people in Star Wars, because they don't trust anything.  And maybe they shouldn't trust everything because there is so much propaganda, and information is so easy to distort, but when you trust nothing it is as though nothing is really there.  You can show a person the truth but they won't believe it because it doesn't conform to their world view.  They might as well be living on Tatooine and thinking that the notion of this Death Star is some kind of myth."

"I totally get that.  It is frustrating to be sure to hear from these people who said they didn't trust the government when Obama was President all of a sudden trust the government now.  Now it is the government that is good and the people who are obstructionists who are bad.  Now when the government detains people who have lawfully immigrated to this country it is good, but when the government tried to restrict who had access to guns it was bad.  They have this idea that they need these guns to rise up against an oppressive government but when the oppressive government gets here they are happy as clams because it isn't oppressing them.  They are just so full of shit."

"Wow you have gotten angry."

"I have gotten angry"

"You used to be the sensible one and I used to be the angry, depressed, anxious one."

"That was before."

"So what now?"

"Now everybody is either angry or deluded.  Everyone is either sad or they are complacent. Everyone is either able to ignore what is happening or is trying to fight it.  We live in different worlds"

"Are things that black and white though?  I don't think they are.  God look at me, I am trying to be sensible.  I mean there are probably people who think things are bad but not THAT bad and they won't believe that it is really bad until it gets too bad."

"Those are the people that frustrate me the most.  How bad does it have to get?  How horrible?  What has to happen?"

"I know. It isn't enough to say that Palpatine is a Sith, they don't believe if they see him Force choking somebody, what needs to happen?  If they see him shooting lightning out of his fingertips will they believe that is the Force or will they think that a freak lightning storm just happened that day."

"Life isn't like Star Wars."

"No.  Life isn't like Star Wars or Harry Potter or any of it.  Life isn't even like movies about the French Revolution or the American Revolution or the Communist Revolution.  Those were movies.  Even if you lived then it wouldn't be like in the movies.  Nothing is like in the movies.  Movies are easy."

"Movies are easy; life is hard."

"But what do you do when your life becomes closer to a movie than to your life?  What the fuck do you do?  I don't know how to live in this kind of world, in this movie world.  What are people supposed to do in these situations?  What happens now?"

"I guess people move on and live their lives the best they can"

"But how?!  I don't know how to do that!  Nobody prepared me to live in this kind of world, the kind of world where the court orders something but the government just doesn't comply.  I mean what the actual fuck!?  I don't even know how to respond to that.  Bush was bad but Jesus at least I felt like he believed vaguely in the rule of law.  I mean they would torture people but at least they would have the courtesy to go through the song and dance of not calling it torture instead of saying just like point blank, 'yeah we should torture people again, that was a good idea.'"

"I know.  It is nuts.  This whole thing is nuts.  I want to just go back to talking about stupid bullshit again and not politics"

"YES!  I wish politics just faded into the background again, like it wasn't so urgent.  Man, during Obama I was so relaxed.  I mean, not all the time, but just generally, ya know?  There were months that went by where I didn't think about Cabinet positions.  Shit, like I forgot John Kerry was Secretary of State for a bit.  The news didn't affect me, nothing really changed all that much, things were just..."

"Things were normal"


"This is not normal"

"None of it is normal.  I am so tired of saying how not normal everything is, but I don't even know how to stop.  Like if giraffes started flying one minute and then the next minute the grass was orange and just when you are dealing with that weirdness bananas taste like apples or something"

"I know what you are saying"

"There is this thing we are supposed to be doing like tracking all the little changes so we can see just how not normal everything is, but like there are so many!  Ugh! God I want to just be able to not think for 5 god damned minutes but I can't shut it off.  No wonder I've been drinking more."

"I think a lot of people have been drinking more or smoking more or fucking more or whatever it is people do to not think about this relentless march toward fascism."

"I think that is really my only consolation: that most people, not everybody, but most people I am friends with or who are in my life are just as freaked the fuck out as I am.  It makes me feel like I am not alone."

"We are all in this together."

"We are.  I didn't even know what that expression meant before, but yeah.  We are all in this together."

"And we have to fight it together."

"But I don't even know how to do that?  Like I have my Congresspeople and Senators in my phone contacts.  I call them a bunch but hardly ever get through even to a voicemail.  I go to marches when I can.  I send free faxes to people and shit.  Like is that it?  Is that the resistance?"

"What did you expect?  What did you want?"

"I don't know what I want really I just... Ok yeah alright I expected things to be more drastic.  I expected people to start... I dunno... being more like the antifas."

"So you are saying people should start burning things with more frequency?  Are you advocating for domestic terrorism?"

"Noooooo?  No. Maybe? No.  I don't know.  No.  I'm just saying like... no.  I am not saying anything."

"I mean it kind of sounds like that is what you are saying."

"I guess what I am saying is that how bad will it have to get?  What will have to happen?  What will it take for the people to get there?  What will it take for that not to be fringe? You know what I'm saying?"

"I don't know.  What do you think it will take?"

"I mean I don't know either, but as peoples rights are getting taken away and we are witnessing the decline of our nation and cabinet positions are bought and sold it feels like all this letter writing and calling voicemails and walking around with cute hats on seems like bullshit.  Like it seems like we are past the point of being nice.  That our so-called democracy and our so-called president are illegitimate and something needs to happen.  Something more than writing letters.  The entire system doesn't care about its citizens.  All Congress wants to do is disenfranchise voters, promote their Christian agenda, and make money.  Like you can't fight that with well reasoned arguments.  What the fuck is the point?"

"So you say you want a revolution?"

"I... yes?  Will I get in trouble for saying that?  Yes.  I do.  Listen.  Every other Western democracy has gone through many periods of change and transition.  They have written entirely new Constitutions.  They have completely changed their governments en masse.  I'm not saying that such a thing would be so terrible.  I mean it will be.  It would be terrible.  But it seems like it is necessary.  I don't know.  I don't even know."

"I know."

"I don't know how I can make it through 4 years of this.  I have barely survived 2 weeks.  I can feel my body rejecting this administration."

"We have to just pace ourselves and do what we can.  I know you want things faster, more dramatic, like a movie, but life isn't like that and you know it."

"I do.  Oh good, you are back to being sensible again.  I really need you to be sensible."

"I try."

"I guess that's all any of us can do: try"

"I guess so."