Some Kind of Camouflage

After two months outside, pretty well insulated from this political climate, I come back to find it was safer in the woods. The poison ivy at least has three leaves. Black bears are pacifists who prefer to hug trees. Bees are after their honey. And leave you alone once they know you’re not sweet. But outside of the woods, things are not as they seem.

I’ve seen black bears the color of cream wearing gray comb-overs who couldn’t fathom satisfying women their own age. Heard about poison ivy hung like mistletoe above office doorways, and dangled from handles, and laid out in thick wreaths on every seat. For years it will be coming out of pores, clothes, hiding in shoes, latent in skin. The itch. Hornets leaping from holes in the ground up skirts, up pant legs, down shirts, not even looking for honey. Honey is back home waiting. These insects just want to sting something. Anything.

After spending a couple months outside, without a roof overhead, I can tell you with confidence, it is in fact not actually raining. A political system is pissing on our heads. And it is not worried about these independent scandals coming out. Its fear is us discovering just how many years this has been happening. And my guess,
damn near every one of them since the beginning.

They’re going to continue painting black bears up like pandas. They already are. Scared people like to hide. These men are scared. They built these governments. All patriarchy. And turned themselves into monsters. And monsters like caves. Armani and Gucci and Polo Ralph Lauren. Single breasted and brand named and an office and a title for a lair. Bouquets of daisies wrapped in poison ivy vines on sumac place settings.
Not all the bees you meet are going to lead to honey.
And not all honey is going to be sweet.

In the woods, you really don’t wear camouflage.
It is actually far more beneficial and safer to be seen.
You put on something bright orange, you sing a little while you hike,
you don’t hesitate to talk out loud and make a little noise.
But now that I’m out of the woods, it has been the opposite.
Since I’ve been home
almost everywhere I go
I see some kind of camouflage.

Just Like the Rest of Us

This just in. You may not actually be a white supremacist if you have no problem using United States currency. You’re probably not a true racist if you participate in any way in this economy. The people who entered this nation as a commodity actually have more claim on this country. It was built on their backs. They are its original profits. Value. Commercially speaking, if you enjoy anything about this country, you enjoy black people. You like Asians. You delight in the gifts of indigenous peoples, whether or not they gave them freely.

Their contribution is inseparable, and indistinguishable from what America is.

This just in. A person might have more luck being a white supremacist in Europe. But even then, it won’t be easy. Still, not all of those countries stacked their foundations on the backs of the people who are the colors racists claim to hate. Claim to be better than. Beyond. But the dollar in your wallet says something totally different. It’s just how capitalism works. These races you perceive actually have a good bit of money. And it is quite impossible to delineate, or keep separate, their effect on markets, culturally and commercially. So if you hate them, you are most definitely in the wrong nation. Because without these people, the United States would mean nothing. Financially speaking.

This just in. You’re not a true racist if you are in any way profiting off this system. Maybe there are a few in-the-moment instances where you use a word, or judge a person on this basis, or a whole group of people, because of skin color, or they’re speaking languages you don’t understand, or have a sense of humor you don’t get, or different fashion or food or whatnot. That’s called being afraid of different. Racism requires research into continental movements and biological and environmental and genetic factors, migrations and immigration and forced exoduses into new worlds, and a subtle, for the most part, unspoken promotion of the theory of evolution.

This just in. Racism requires reading. And honestly, I doubt the homework has gotten done. I know somewhere, someone left you hurt, and any descriptor you can cling to in order to separate them from you, you will use. You take it as offense that you have to be the same species as the organism who treated you as an object. So, you objectify them. I get it. But that’s like a drowning person striking out at their lifesaver. A reaction to fear. And pain. Thrashing out at darkness that isn’t there. You’re just blinded by your own night light. Being racist requires a lot more than being proud of being white skinned. Or beige tinged. Or deeply black. Or light peach. This just in. That’s not racism. If skin color were race, then I’d be a new race at the end of every summer. People come in different colors. I’m not surprised that gets a rise out of a lot of us. It makes sense we would fear different, and favor familiar. But that isn’t racism. Racism would refuse to use the dollar. Refuse to walk on and benefit from an infrastructure that has time after time apologized and defended the people it once acquired and treated as commodities.

If I search my heart, it says there are only maybe ten true racists in this country. Who have now realized they can camouflage themselves conservative, and recruit armies of highly confused colorists. People who naturally fear different. And change. People who do not actually care at all about race. They’re just lifelong pessimists. They meet a few people, experience some uncomfortable situations, and that becomes the standard, and every good person, and positive experience, just an exception. The most hateful, what I would come closest to calling truly racist, whom I have met, always had exceptions. Certain humans who didn’t adhere to a stereotype they otherwise treated as a rule.

This just in. Racism can’t have exceptions.

If you do not hate all people included, you do not hate a race. In my heart, I don’t believe there are more than ten humans in America who have the moral bankruptcy and self-contentedness to sustain such a powerful exclusionary philosophy. It’s not good for capitalism. Not good for small towns. Not good for government.

And, you know, America sort of stands alone among nations in its inability to separate success and vitality from the impact of large groups of non-white and immigrant people.

This just in. You wouldn’t even deign to make your white supremacy stand in America if you were truly racist. This isn’t the hill you would die on. You wouldn’t be able to eat at McDonald’s. Let alone stand keeping cash in your wallet. Knowing where it has been. The hands that make it what it is.

I know people. I know myself. Don’t let the propaganda of a few highly unsustainable individuals convince you that a natural fear of what looks different, denotes any kind of evidence for superiority or inferiority among the racial and geographical dynamics of humanity. Of our species. This is just what happens when you’re a creature who doesn’t go extinct with its environment. When you cross mountains to find new forests, and new worlds. We get a little reshaped by each place along the way, but we wouldn’t be able to breed if we weren’t the same. We’d have different eyes. Different hand shape. Different lives. Just stop thinking in exceptions and standards, and lend other people the same autonomy you demand for yourself. Hate them. Hate everyone if you want to. But if you’re not rejecting capitalism as an economic system, you’re probably not racist. And if you think America is a good place to formally distinguish the white race against all others, you really haven’t done your homework.
There’s a lot more reading required to being a true racist.

This just in.
You might just be afraid of different.
Which means, you are just like the rest of us.

And if facts don’t persuade you, no mater what,
you are going to have a hard time being a true capitalist.

Billed for Our Rights

I believe that everyone has the right to have their rights not be an amendment to the system that defines them. I believe better and more deeply than our founding fathers did, that our rights are not the fodder of governments. But ingrained guarantees of freedom invested in us by our creator. My rights are not evenly planted rows of corn peppered in patches of soybeans. They are feral weeds. Should we forget to ever garden here again. I am free. Full of flowers and fuzzy grass heads and cat tails and wild medicine and poison. I don’t need a farmer for this field to yield. I need a farmer to help interact safely and amicably with my neighbors, locally and abroad. To oversee vast water tables and plate tectonics and geothermal activity. To connect the dots between surplus and need.

The time of government going through and telling you whether or not you’re full human is over. Black people did not earn the right to vote. Nor did women. They were denied this basic personhood and representation and real acknowledgment in the eyes of the government structures that dictated their lives. Intentionally. Full with purpose. We are still arguing about a system that was, by design, not designed for all of us.

The founders were not imaginative. They were not soldiers in the war for liberty. They saw tax dollars going overseas and devised a way to seize them. Threw a few Latin words together they recalled from grade school and split a crown into five hundred pieces. With the stroke of a pen, they created a new merchant level economic class. Government jobs. That die like zombies. Carcasses always reanimating in one form or another down the line. Not like fashion. Or farming. Or the oil industry. A couple hundred men, some paper, and a pen, redirected a new world’s worth of exported taxes right back to them. And constructed a system that guaranteed themselves positions, and platforms to prop up their children. Representative government makes a monarchy of democracy. A crown broken down and split into a thousand different disease resistant careers.

They didn’t get freedom right, because that was not what they sat down to write.
The best we can do to honor our founders, our ancestors, is to imitate their impulse to revolt.
To revolution. Whenever. However we can. To write out and rewrite our rights.
Our expectations of governments. Of ourselves.

But we have to recognize the flaw of this system is at its base. It’s in little words.
Words like our. For instance. In full regards to the framers of our constitution.

Their our was less than half of our’s.

That doesn’t call for an edit. Or a rewrite.
It means we go back to the drawing board.
Or in other words.

One more American revolution.

Hard Medicine

You do not apply a tourniquet to kill the limb. But to stop it from bleeding. We have lots of hard medicine like this. Never ending analogies for when we restrict a thing temporarily in order to help, or heal, or understand it. So I am confused how so many of us are convinced we have to be for or against. Everything. All the time.

You can support gun ownership, the second amendment, you can support high volume magazines and rapid fire semi-automatics, and still admit there is a problem. When someone suggests increased legislation, you are allowed to nod along and understand. Because it is understandable. You can absolutely love something, someone, and still hand them bitter medicine every now and again, because you know it’s good for them. No one likes the taste of these words. This conversation.
And the silver lining is, we aren’t supposed to.

You love the limb. I know how much you treasure this hand.
But when it’s bleeding, don’t blame the doctor who brings out a tourniquet.

Once the bleeding has stopped, and we go a year or two, maybe a few, without that arm being involved in a violent mass murder, you will find an incredibly accessible, appropriately positioned platform to defend your right bear it.

But for now, you have to understand this is medicine.
I know you hate the idea of it, of maybe losing your hand.
But it is time to stop shaking your head.

I’ll go so far as to say, if you would argue against anyone who suggests restricting access to the destructive instruments involved in every single one of these incidents, I don’t know where you and I go from here. You can support gun ownership, the second amendment, anything you like, really.

But suggesting restrictions for murder tools is a natural, normal, expected
and anticipated response to this sort of violence. Arguing against that response,
because an industry has made you believe you have to be either for or against
some set of tools you really like, is emblematic of a deeper character flaw.

I get defending your right to own a weapon.
I do not get defending it in the face of loss.

The arms you do have the right to bear are clearly bleeding.

I don’t hate your guns.

But I’ll be damned if I watch this country
bleed to death because of them.

To Be Continued…

It’s official, I left my job at Foust after four incredible years. What an opportunity, and like most good things in life, buried at the center of a nesting doll of so many other jobs and situations. I remember working at the suit store in the morning, then landscaping all afternoon, gardening all evening, and walking my dogs just praying, begging God for a better way to make a living.

It isn’t just a phrase when people say you work for the job you want, not the one you have. Nothing was promised, but I trusted, and each job dropped me off exhausted, ready, done, right on the doorstep of a better one. I feel blessed. I feel hungry, but in the best way. I’m knocking down the door of a greater opportunity already. I’m not exactly sure what life will look like on the other side of this hike, but I have a good feeling
Foust is a part of it.

Which means for now, this really isn’t a true to form good bye.
So much as it is a to-be-continued in disguise.

What do they call that, Indian Summer?

The sun stays summer hot even though autumn mornings have started.
It seems the season, from its heated theme, refuses to be parted.
One half the day will verify the time of year has changed,
and the last, sent sun coursing orange through fresh brushed breathy air,
will remain stiflingly familiar. For the next several years,
the seasons are not foretold by calendars.

What about bricks?

My solution is a shift in perspective. Currently, the administration embodies the blueprinted layout. A deep abstract, architectural design. And I say, what about bricks? Each block, unit, independent resource piled and placed in even straight lined relation to other bricks.

Local government. The only functioning government.
Humans aren’t broad enough to represent anyone.

Daily, the voices of represented populations should rattle in their ears. Decisions, restrictions, a short walk and conversation away from the people most affected. Here, within the heart of every American community, the seed of democracy can be glimpsed.

There can still be a federal government, president, senators and what not, but real active functional Americans won’t have to care. Just need to live. Strive to get food to the hungry, medicine and education to the sick and the suffering.

Who can find a sustainable method to pay for the feeding, welfare of millions? No one.
But the five, ten, twenty thousand in each small town, maybe. And the five hundred thousand, or even millions in and around great cities. At least a government tethered its area has a chance of hearing each voice, each complaint, and a fair shot at answering it.

Stared into the faces of their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, we would never send anyone lightly into war, harm, death. No more minority-majority speak. If one or two stand and make a good argument, they will be heard, or hungry, they will be fed, desperate, sick, no land, home or family, the representation of help can be omitted.

We can skip directly to real local democratic solutions.

A larger national-minded government may find a place in mortar, between bricks, to help each stick to the next. Interconnect, network, trade. Alleviate disputes fairly and then fall unnoticed back into the background.

But people, human beings, American citizens, we keep the town.
We built it up. We have the right to tear it down.

Project Local: How Everyone Deserves Time Out

As children, it is used as a punishment, but once we’re grown, the prospect of time out loses its sting. In fact, it becomes a sort of treasure. It isn’t a matter of being unfulfilled in your career or house or pace of life. People can be perfectly happy where they are, and still desire, time to time, to be somewhere entirely different. We are already doing it. Vacation. Sabbatical. Invaluable time off. Letting escape take us in little moments we purposefully didn’t prepare for.

Project Local seeks to intentionalize this process. To just go on ahead and out loud embrace this new modern breed of being partially nomadic within our domesticity.

Instead of fully transplanting every time, we will reorganize our lives like a vine. Always extending out from a solid, central, local base. An internal sense of home. And the requirements that make it so. Enough space for yourself, mentally and physically. Room to lay down some roots, figuratively and literally. Grow some food. Pursue a local water source or two. Or understand the community infrastructure required to provide any basic, daily, lifelong necessity. A home is not an island. Nor is it a clock whose gears and winding and ticking hands are all controlled, contained in the palm of our hand. The network of infrastructure, pipelines, reservoirs, the bulbous shaped water tanks that loiter our small town horizons, down to the very taxes paid by you and your neighbors, to help share the mutual cost of every shower, every dripping faucet, every dark soil soaked garden steaming in the late evening summer heat.
We can pretend that these things are merely products.
But that doesn’t make it so.

It just so happens, that for all our taxes, all our decades of standardized trial by fire tested education, we don’t actually earn ourselves any naturally reoccurring resources for existence. A human is meant to generate enough value, right off the bat, to pay into someone’s rental business, or be taxed by the acre, or pay monthly into a mortgage, just to have a simple source of shelter. Not to mention a bite to eat. I’d hate to take up all your time trying to explain how much time we have to steal to pay for every meal. And every bill that gets sent to make sure each spigot spits up that hopefully clear, hopefully clean, overly cold sacrament.

There is no time out. Not for these commodities. They make such nice neat little local monopolies. You just have to figure out how to sell someone something that falls from the sky. Or grows from the ground. Or depends on you living near a town.

And what you have then is not simply a consumer, but consumers for life.
And an economic class system, from which there is no longer the threat of time out.

It is almost time to go

I miss the sun. I miss light in my skin. I miss being out in it. Sometimes I take walks with my father’s bow. But I must have poor aim. Because I always seem to miss the things I’ve seen. The places I’ve been. The stress that saw my character compressed into this exact form. Callused fingers. Stuffy nose. Holes missing from all my favorite clothes. And now that I am more settled than I have ever been before. It is almost time to go. Back out into that summer light. The inescapable weight and heat of a whole season and a half spent leaned toward our closest star. Which is still pretty damn far. Enough that in a few months we’ll be missing it and more. Like I’m avoiding it now. Less than four feet to my right through a window. Less than eight feet and out through a door. I could hit it with an arrow with my eyes closed, but set one foot there, and they won’t pay me for it. Just take it and thank me as if I had handed it over of my own accord. Of course, I didn’t.

In short, I won’t miss the sun anymore. Or light in my skin. Or being out in it.
I have a better shot now than I ever had before. I’ve been target practicing,
launching my eyes through windows at work. And I’m getting good.
Soon, there will be a few arrows sticking out from the sun.

An ugly little worm of a being.

Thud against the ground too loud to be an imagined sound.
A pinky finger sized almost too almost neon green,
larvae type, maggot like, caterpillar looking thing.

Fallen from a tulip poplar tree taller than fifty feet about a foot from me.
Laid there stunned. And after a moment started wriggling.
Kind of had me giggling.
Impressed at how hard it had met the moist yet dense clay,
and still remained living. An ugly little worm of a being.

Obviously preparing to undergo some form of transfiguration.

Filling up to go into cocoon season soon and very soon.
Emerge some unrecognizable. Vastly unlike whatever it was before.
I hope for the sake of the clumsy tumbling ugly little thing,
it crawls back out carrying wings.