Sometimes you only know half the story
or a fourth
or a twelfth.
Sometimes your friend complains
about how his boss is always riding him
and then your hear
how your friend’s been charged with sexual harassment
by like six of his coworkers
and maybe his boss
should’ve been riding him harder.
Or like Thanksgiving
that loving tale of friendship and community
that prefaces a couple centuries of genocide
We hear one kind of story
but it foreshadows another one
I was a real snippy bitch before
during the intermission
and I was probably right.
on the off-chance
I’m missing some explanation
and you didn’t deserve the amputation
I’d like to offer all apologies
for my extreme reaction.
To the guy in the back of the room shouting
“Down in front! Down in front!”
over and over again
over the course of the evening
letting people know, apparently,
that he’s been inconvenienced
by the people who have chosen to stand in front of him:
I have a couple of thoughts.
Someone once said
that the definition of insanity
is repeating the same actions over and over
and expecting different results.
That person was wrong.
That’s not the definition of insanity
and it’s not even insane to repeat activities
and hope a change will come
but shouting didn’t work the first time, guy,
or the second,
and it’s just annoying for everyone.
Get up and talk to folks, all right?
It’s a crowded room.
There aren’t enough seats.
or try to find a place that isn’t obstructed
or maybe go somewhere
where your sensibilities
aren’t so easily offended.
I couldn’t help but notice the frequency of your shouts
were far more frequent
when the people who were standing before you were black.
Shouting “down in front” is technically accurate
from your point of view
but no one is up
at the front.
They’re up in the middle.
So shout “down in middle!”
shut the fuck up.
Nobody talks about the Lawn Rock scene anymore
or any of the old bands back then
like Hard Crime Henley
or Pukka Style or any of the clubs
that used to scare all the neighbors
with the noise
and the kids crawling out at all hours
and the lawns, man,
all the fucking lawns!
ever since Fresh Face and Dirk Evil broke up,
no one even says the phrase “Greener Days”
or dances the Mower.
It’s like no one remembers what it was about
and the old days have been swept away
like the scene never happened
but it did.
Those bands were great.
Those songs were something.
Wasn’t Bad Girl Upskirt EP perfection in dirty kid pop?
Why didn’t more people
get on the Lawn Rock bandwagon with that album
or even after
when the Lawn Rock Bandwagon comp was finally released?
What is wrong with the world?
Sometimes I weep
For what we have missed.
I think of the paradise
we could have lived in
had the world only succumbed
to the wonders of Lawn Rock
but now, instead, we suffer through this slanted enchanted galaxy of listen to nothing
but the slap of pavement.
I thought maybe you’d like me more
if I was thinner
so I started taking pills.
Thirty pounds lighter
and not a single better look from you
so I thought maybe taller’d do the trick.
Lifts and stilts
and some steel in my legs
earned me three inches
but no more attention
so back to the drawing board.
I tried smarter
with a new graduate degree
and some memory tapes in my sleep
but I caught a weird Tourette’s tick,
saying shit like “Actually…”
and “According to Stanislav…”
and you asked me if everything was all right
which was a step in the right direction
but not good enough.
I wondered if you preferred people of color
so I got a tan
and then I read Black Like Me
and then I got a Melaninectomy
which was not what I thought it was.
Quite the opposite, in fact,
and I inadvertently turned albino
which explains my day
and why I’ve taken on this new style
so really I was right
and it was a funny story
That story you told
about your horrible experience
being beaten up
by Albert Schweitzer
and his psychopathic dog soldiers
back in the eighties
and how it changed your life
teaching you the value of serenity
and learning to love oneself
and not to place faith in idols
because they may prove false
while your own soul will always be true?
I did some research, though
and I’ve got some good news.
Schweitzer died in sixty five
so it couldn’t have been him
that beat you so traumatically
in your formative years
back in the eighties.
Maybe it was a Schweitzer lookalike or somesuch
but it wasn’t your hero
so it’s all right to put your faith in idols.
Your life lesson no longer applies.
Don’t look so down.
I’m sure there are other lessons
still to be learned from that brutality
don’t get beat up by dog soldiers
or anyone else, maybe?
There are things we don’t discuss
subjects we avoid like Voldemort
words we avoid
buoys in a sea of placidity.
We play Hot Potato with topics
that could destroy us
if we light on them for too long.
Instants of exposure
to such toxicity
could prove fatal
so we keep wide berth.
You know what I’m talking about
but you will speak of it
as little as me
to maintain our sea of placidity
and remain in in silent tranquility.
We keep mum on what was done
and speak of anything, anyone else,
lest we be blown apart
by our own words, ourselves.
I’m talking too much
about what cannot be said.
I know how near I skirt
to such zones of desolation.
I know what I dare
and I’m scared, too,
but the things we don’t discuss
risk destroying us.
We are so close to the end
maybe we should bear this fear
of dismemberment, rending us apart.
Maybe it’s time
to bring up the unspeakable.
we should finally talk about Anna.
Nice shoes. They look uncomfortable.
I’m not being sarcastic
or anything else.
I can’t tell if they’re sexyor cheap.
I know that I’m neither
but opposites attract or something
so I’m looking at you
and your heels
through those sort of lenses.
I’m sorry. This is rough.
I am having trouble.
I am learning to talk to humans again.
It has been far too long.
Isolation does things to a man
or a baby
and I am one of those things
– maybe both.
I have been having issues
getting my tongue to work lately
around other peoples.
And my lips.
It’s been hard
but I’m trying
and I know it’s trying to be around me
– it must be –
and you’ve been very patient so far.
But your leopard print stilettos are really cool
and you seem like you might be
even if I’m not
and I’d like to continue talking
– you’re not a whore, are you?
I’m really having trouble
making my words work.
It better be worth it.
Whatever it is you have to say now
it better be damned good.
You’ve been silent for so long,
so however you want to break the streak,
if it’s not memorable,
if it’s not golden,
It better be worth it,
what you come up with
after all this time.
It better have earned the extended delay
you took to produce it.
If it’s stupid or awkward
or if you crack in the delivery,
it’ll be wrecked.
It’ll be shameful.
It’ll be something less than what you wanted.
Make sure it’s right,
what you try to say next.
Don’t fuck it up.
Thanks to Officer Drummond
who made the experience at the police station
fast and relatively stress-free.
The courtesy and professionalism provided
was a surprise
and frankly, in stark relief to everything I’d heard about
from peers and partners
in similar situations.
Thanks also to Mrs. Alvarado
at the tow shop
who made what could’ve been a hellscape afternoon something far sweeter. You weren’t exactly kind
but you were quick,
efficient, and I was in and out of your office
within about ten minutes.
And all appreciation to the elegant website that provided the hookup and location of Mrs. Alvarado and her entire team.
I’m used to those sites taking hours to navigate
running in circles
struggling to get the simplest of answers
but whoever designed that site
and maintained it
certainly knew what they were all about.
The info loaded well
and I was able to get all applicable answers
The guy who finally delivered me
to my car
to drive it off the lot
and be done with the entire ordeal
was a real sweetheart.
He thanked me for my patronage
and had a great smile on his face
while he did his duty.
It was a wonder to watch.
excellent work from the entire bureaucracy
getting me through the process
in less than two hours,
start to finish.
Entirely elegant and effortless
I mean, fuck you all
and fuck the man
– but really, good job all around, everyone.
Sure, you can push the release back.
You can schedule it whenever you want
– it’s your release.
You call the shots
but if you do
it’ll just be hanging over your head
all the longer.
Think: if you postpone
however you wanna describe it.
If you distract all the horses barreling
towards the floodgates,
or whatever metaphor mixer
you may go off to,
it halts your process.
You’re stuck in this state
of distress and disarray
for even longer.
It’s a choice.
It’s yours to make.
You can stop everything
until you’re good and ready
and comfortable with every aspect
of everything related
to the release.
You could wait until your next release is ready
if that’s what feels right to you
but the sword
will just be held over you
Is that what you want?
Up to you.