life during wartime

Worn out road skips by under our feet, feeling so much, going so fast. Going fast is what we like to do in everything. When things are slow, where are we, what are we doing? Don’t look where you’re going, be the change. End this, endless war. We laugh out loud at bumper stickers. Liberal young adults making fun of the liberal propaganda. Impeach! Impeach! We stopped caring. They took all the power from us so we hold on to what we have. Which is biking around town, skimming safety, dark alleys, as they say. Watch out, hey you! War. What war? We know its wrong, oh we know too much. We read it in books we hear its tragedies on headlines, yelled about by random people in the street. We won’t sign the petition. When the first bomb dropped [MARCH 2003] I sat in the street SW 6th and Burnside at rush hour. We wrote signs, we burned flags. They surrounded us, helicopters circled above, windows were broken. But now, we are powerless; we open our mouths and ingest the apathy. And then we lunged into the apathy, like so many cakes in our mouths, so many drinks to our lips, so many shiny shoes purchased on credit. We said yes to decadence, full-fledged Americans because we felt we had lost. And what do you do when you lose? We have no example because America never loses. Like a breakup phone call, where do you go with rejection? Where do you go with invisibility?  So we stopped being angry, let our shoulders relax, took all the medicines, drugs and desserts. Let our world get smaller. There wasn’t a place beyond this city. This city in a small valley, mountains all around. Sometimes when we see mountains it reminds us of the world out there, of a time that wasn’t ours somehow, when plates collided so slowly, millions of years building the places we stand in now.  Or when someone sings a country song in a karaoke bar and half the people get up and dance in nostalgic bliss, we realize that the Midwest exists and the wild Wild West exists. But we don’t think of it much. The song ends, The Mountains get covered in clouds and smog, we retreat further into isolation.

 

When things go wrong, we’re surprised. When we wake up feeling empty and sad, we don’t understand. We live for exhilaration. We live for the now. To those starving in Africa, dying of AIDS, living in war and violence, struggling American families in ghettos, on welfare- if you feel like we don’t care, you are right. But we know about you. We feel that if you were where we are, you’d do the same. Maybe it’s vicarious, then? I’ll tell you of it now. I’ll describe the texture of this half-life soaked in hopeless fun times and maybe you can feel it. It’s magic. Maybe one day it will be yours for a moment. Until then, I’m sorry. We just haven’t figured out a plan for inclusion. But things happen. Snap pop! It’s about things happening. Wait for a moment to dive in. Does taking risks mean you are living? How do you shake a bad feeling? How do you remember the past, plan for the future, and make sense of it all? When we have more than more than enough, we’ll spill it over to you. Just come over, snap! Pop! Make it happen.  

 

This is the record of what I did instead of healing the world.