Since when is apocalypse an acceptable weather report?
This country gets bad storms. Or didn’t you notice
the people who loaned it to us were nomads.
They chased the good weather.
Sought out light winter like geese.
The ground shakes an awful lot in this country.
And it is kind of broken in the middle
so close to cracking geysers jet tail hot water heavenward
blowing off steam several times a day. Oceans change.
Always have. Hell, there used to be one right here
above my head. In the heart of Virginia.
Buried by hillsides.
I don’t think apocalypse means what we think it means.
If so, I predict a little bit of apocalypse at the tail end
of just about every single one of these new seasons.
This continent didn’t stay this wild this long on accident.
Trust me. It has its reasons.
Use caution putting things away, because that is where they stay. For as long as you don’t mind not seeing them. All sorts of things. Spices printed with dates like two thousand and fourteen. Half written journals and perfectly full ink pens and highlighters gone dry left so long in the dark. Dust in caked layers and rust inundating needle nose pliers and hair off so many animals. Life is not a house. Life is not a closet. We built these places, and tuck ourselves in. Tidied up. Straightened out. Organized lives from so many broken pieces of mine. Like puzzles. And you take a puzzle out of the box to put it together. The picture doesn’t fit inside its own container. Though it is much more secure in there.
Steel drains and matted hair. The windows where we sat and stared. The doorways we broke through to get somewhere. Be careful. Confusing life with the packages we put it in. Use caution. Putting anything out of sight, and subsequently, mind. Because it will become something in isolation that it was not before. Love makes a great meal. But it doesn’t store. At least not well. Not in the boxes where we dwell. Where we hide. And like scared children, keep ourselves hidden. Calling it a living room when it is more of a tomb until doors are broken open and windows crack and wind blows curtains back and light sweeps carpet and life steps over thresholds carrying smell and pollen and sound like a smiling bride braced in bent arms.
Get life all cleaned up, and out, and put away, and straightened, and immaculate, and categorized and sanitized and ornately adorned and closed windows and locked doors. So that at our own discretion, we can choose it. Have it eternally, as long as we don’t mess up and use it. Risked. And there is no insurance to safeguard against this. But I can tell you, antiquity, is where things go to die. Be careful putting away anything you love. Because it will stay put up. While you, and so many years, pass by.
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.