Teach this lesson: how the most productive among us do not always feel their success. They are not always driven, driving forward, gaining pace in pursuit of their dream’s greatest. There is not a lot of motivation in hypotheticals. If there was, more people would make sacrifices to achieve the things they want. No, the hardest working, most inspirational people, milking minutes and hours from the day most of us don’t even know exist, are not running toward goals, so much as being chased by failure. Self-aware. Knowing all these words and thoughts and chicken scratch will be counted on for a life to match. Afraid for being all talk. Frightened of not being as enlightened as my writing. I heard my life described as if I were working the equivalent of three full time jobs. Keeping up with the money one, the sunny one and the overrunning one. But that isn’t how it feels. I am eternally unsettled. Dissatisfied. Full of angst trying to find ways to give thanks to a God who thinks and seeded a thinking universe like a songwriter puts down a verse, trusting it will inspire a chorus. And here we are. Each one of us. A left brain right brain rhyming couplet created under the cramped hand of an angsty, unsettled, dissatisfied chemical equation. A creator. And it may not have written all this to shape the perfect universe. More likely loneliness. More like an artist. Looking like it’s chasing three full time gigs just to keep up with itself. But the truth is, I’ve given up on ever finding contentment. And it honest to goodness just helps to stay busy.
What if you’re not sitting still? You’re not, even when you are. What if the energy in you, in me, typing here, is indistinguishable from all other energy? It would be safe to say that I, the real I, deep inside, have caught up to the speed of light. And consciousness could just be what happens when you brush against that barrier. And life, as we know it, might be more momentum than existence. Governed by laws of attraction more so than physics. What we call imagination in fact may be deep-seeded, primeval memory, and love, an echo rolling along our intangible souls, the leftover scraps from once being indistinguishable.
When I was young, I remember learning about the Declaration of Independence, and the constitution, and the handful of men that shaped the birth of this country. Writing words like freedom and liberty with slave owners looking down over their shoulders. It’s laughable. And I wondered, even then, what’s the requirement? What threshold did these men step over to make their average intelligence exceptional, their dry bureaucratic wisdom quote-worthy, or the dull generic details of their lives suddenly inspirational. Thomas Jefferson loved to garden, so the fuck what, it was the nineteenth century, you didn’t eat if you didn’t garden. No one even asked George Washington to stop presidenting after a few years. He just stopped on his own. Something like the first seven presidents were all Virginians. Sixty years later, Virginia secedes from the same country it seeded.
Wouldn’t it be great, I mean wouldn’t it really be something, if America meant any damn thing inherently of its own accord. Germany does, and so does England, the Land of Angles, and so does Russia and France and China. But America means nothing. It’s the last name of a dude who didn’t even actually discover America. From its inception, this has been a nation that can only be held like a pen in your hand, our myths and legends and heroes are all still being written and rewritten. We started off with thirteen stars now we’ve pushed back past fifty. Socialism saved this nation post World War II, right up until Capitalism came back crippling people and selling crutches.
Government is a fancy term for people-farming. It is not America. America is not even America. We are living in the clay country. A shapeless nation. We’re blank-page people, pen in hand, creating our own legacy. No one in America drove by a thousand year old cathedral on the commute to work. We don’t have that sense of time. Our cathedrals are organic cotton fields and deteriorating downtowns and so many headlines, like the headlines today. They mean more to us. You either ran away from home, or were stolen from your home, or had your home stolen from you, in order to be American. You’re one of those three. We all have that in common. We have conflicted relationships with home. It’s part of us. But if you think you’re going to like what it means to be an American without ever holding a pen in your hand, you’re mistaken.
Government is chicken farmers. They want you thinking you were born half a beak and clipped wings and sharing too little space with too many birds. They want you believing that when they shoot you down in the street they take something from you. But I don’t blame the breeze for collecting my last breath. I don’t blame gravity for the fall that claims me. I am not surprised by fear, or that fear wants a gun in its hands, or that fear kills people whenever given the chance. America is not its government. It is Americans. That is the way it began, and that is the way it will always be. If you look around this country and do not like what you see, you had better be busy writing.
People make mistakes. Try not to let it ruin your day. Sometimes, we even do things or make choices that in the moment don’t seem wrong. And later on, after the boon of hindsight, we careen into regret like that curve in the road we never saw coming.
But in a town housing a smaller population, word of a good, greasy, dishonest happening rivals the popularity of the evening news. Police officers discovered keeping more than what they reported, or trusted elected city officials using slanted positions to make some little money on the side. The easy, most pleasing response is to remake someone else’s life over into gossip. Entertainment. Because otherwise, the harder, far more honest choice, is to relate to them. To admit to ourselves, maybe not at the same degree or in such bold public manner, but we have been there. Felt the self-imposed burning off a judgmental stare.
Well, what about when you’re the one staring? Searching out an embarrassing detail, some jagged social key that unlocks people’s mouths into gasps of amazement or trundling laughter. Which is more of the same. An almost exact impersonation of the original agitation. A lack of consideration toward others. Our personally motivated choices often place hardship on our neighbors, family, even our humbled, well-punished selves. Out in the country, hidden along hills and the bare, frigid tree-lines that surround small towns, is an idea that people in these places are nosy. It lingers in the air like fresh fertilizer carried in slow moving wind, county to county, country home to country home.
And when publicly appointed officials or well-trained weaponized servants of laws step out, intentionally or accidentally, of a strictly drawn pattern of acceptable legal behavior, it can seem to justify some of this nosiness. A rationale for staring hard while wearing skeptical disgusted looks, nostrils flared, sniffing the air for an excuse to use someone else’s story to create a better reality for yourself. But it is not real. The only true justice that exists for any of us is found in forgiveness. A highly matured ability to let things go. To learn, always, and never fail to grow. And not dwell too long on the selfish or inconsiderate actions of our neighbors.
Being nosy, keeping an eye out for trouble, is not always bad. Just remember how it feels to have that view turned around. We all have inherited the right to own our mistakes. But forgiving and moving on, these are choices that we as a community will always be called on to make.
They want me to write, words like wind to a kite. Words like stars above night. Like lenses. And how the entire atmosphere is one. A planet rolls like eyes from just how much we can not. Not even thinking how we’re sticking out sideways until eyes stray earthly boundaries and look back at us like we were just a neighbor or something. Home. And across the street from home. Are an infinite apart. It would take the geniusest of us to begin imagining where to start to get back over there without leaving here behind for good. The whole rest of the neighborhood. All of our property values tethered like the cords that hold astronauts. The air they breath has gone further than we ever will be, and fed the minds and bodies of far better women and men than you or I. I want them to fly. And they want me to write. And we all need one another the way ships need anchors, the way we use each other like mirrors. Seeing a little bit of ourselves in someone else may be the only way to see it. We can tell people ten thousand times the earth is round and flying but we will not feel it until we see looking back at ourselves like we were across the street from our own home planet. Then we will fall in love with it. The way astronomers stare at stars through lenses. The way an astronaut looks at earth through a window.
Dear ‘The Donald’,
First of all, thanks for making me call you The Donald, it really isn’t clear just what sort of noun you are without it. Secondly, a Masseuse is a term for someone who does massage as a practice. It’s not the name of a herd of moose. It’s not something Dr. Seuss fans say to each other. It’s not the female version of master, sorry Melania. There’s no such thing as masseuse shoes and no one ever says ‘hand me masseuse’ but you. Just needed to get that off my chest, and yes, that’s the only thing I need off or on my chest. Also, I know I’m not the skinniest thing skating around in a size six, but if you could please hold off calling me Rhino Pudding and asking what all it will take to blow my horn, that’d be swell. Honestly, I sometimes wonder how I put up with you all these years. Luckily I’ve had my cat Rhino Pudding by my side for constant comfort. Speaking of, it’s weird how you knew I was a cat person way before I mentioned it. I just remember you shouting ‘get that pussy home’ over and over again as I walked across the parking lot leaving work. You were always very perceptive in that way. I guess I can’t fault you for that.
Oh yes, and those shoulders. I remember the day we had to tear down the doorway and reshape it into a giant exclamation mark just to fit those far-reaching, epically carved flesh plateaus you call shoulder-blades. I have been officially diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, arthritis, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Epicondylitis, etc. from just trying to dig these feeble little lady digits deep into the rock hard, ultra dense mathematical equation constituting your arm-bar anatomy. I really tried, The Donald, but I’ve run out of masseuse’s excuses, the pressure has grown to a point and I just can’t grope, grab, I mean grasp the strength needed to milk campaign trail stress out of those massively mythological back-crowns. I know you understand. You were always so understanding. Like when I was up on that ladder changing a light bulb, and you were under, standing, staring up my dress. You can always be counted on, and you make such a solid spotter. I know you’re capable of holding America’s soft ass tight as she waddles down the angelic stepping stones of democracy, back into acceptance of a representative best case scenario based republic. You really taught me the purpose of concepts like faith, and hope, and forgiveness. The day you showed up naked wrapped in a clear shower curtain. You said look, its like my whole body is in a condom, now fuck it with your fingers. That was fucking deep The Donald.
But I am sorry, I do apologize. I’m going to have to move on to another career. Do you have any suggestions?
“Female soccer player.”
“Grape crusher at a vineyard.”
“Foot fetish prostitute.”
“Feet massage expert and call the parlor I wanna take off masseuse and foot you”
“Sideshow Claw Hand Lobster Girl.”
“Author a tell-all book about the intense yet inspirational task of alleviating The Donald’s stress throughout this historical campaign. Write it with your feet. That’s the thing. First book written by foot.”
Thanks TD. I can always count on you to drop bombs. Well, I’ll check ya later The-Don Greyjoy. All that glitters ain’t gold but fuck gold I got platinum on. Love peace and white police. Catch you on the flip my flop. Thanks for the memories. Keep grabbing them by the cat, my friend. Any cat lover knows, that’s where the heart stays anyway.
-The Donald’s Masseuse
ps: Did you know that instead of build or building you could use the words erect or erection? Was waiting until I quit to tell you that, but there you go, enjoy. Erect something tremendous. Your career has been a monumental erection.