Deadwood Sermon

I cringe-watch this HBO show, Deadwood, no kidding I’ve probably fast forwarded through a third of the entire series.

But there is a really great moment when a character who is a drunken, racist horror-show finishes up a rant expressing his illogical judgment and condescension toward an entire group of people. And a man at the bar questions him for his own genetic history, making a suggestion his ‘nose looks a little broad’.

You’re not going to teach someone twenty years or older to start branching out beyond hate and judgment to search for an alternative source of self esteem. For a lot of these people, being White is the only thing they ever won outright. They hang their skin color on the wall like a diploma or a college degree, beside the flags and relics of an even longer heritage of losing.

You can hate someone, and still consider that any path to their subjugation or denial of their rights will never be exclusive. Any denial of any citizen’s rights is untenable, because down the line you will not be the right kind of White. If you accept a racial class system, then the burden is on each and every one of us to trace our own and impossibly produce documentation of our ‘purity’ and evidence of its lack of any corruption. Which you can’t. It will come down to DNA, and guess what, our ancestors were just as dumb, anxious and horny as us.

Hate. Hate everything. Hate your neighbor. Hate snakes in the grass. Hate love, hate hate especially. Not allowing your government and society to condone, propagate and operate under the principles of racism has nothing to do with who or what you hate.

Any path to taking away a citizen’s right to life is a path to taking it away from all of us.

On a long enough timeline, you won’t be the right kind of White, because White never meant race, it has always meant money.

And honey, if you’re still flying the Stars and Bars, you may as well be red and blue, because White isn’t you.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

A creekbed drops ten feet and I can see bright green tops of adolescent trees, shaking. I just fenced a solid quarter acre of late April and let eighteen goats on it. Soaking wet morning after full rain, they’re up first thing realizing the boundaries have changed. They seem so predatory, considering they’re plant-eaters. I suppose if something can’t scream we don’t attribute it to the same value system. These bony, thick bodied and thin legged vultures rip and bark-strip their immobilized, submissive prey. Fleshy unfurled ferns and green razor wire and so much poison ivy my eyes itched. 

My heart now light and airy as jack-in-the-pulpit down low in a morning breeze. 

I feel vindication for the work I’ve done over the last two days. 

I’m looking twice everywhere I scratch and watching new life devoured incrementally by many goats. And if I stretch my awareness a touch, I think how I’m going to drink that treeline in my coffee tomorrow morning. I feel like if the world were a perfect circle, it would have ended where it began. It didn’t. And though the earth is round, I feel nature is spiral like a sprig of DNA. It does come back around but not to the same place,
or ever the same way. 

A herd of goats annihilates a creekbed
and old notions of predator and prey.

The Definition of Simple

Flat winds rattle doors and whistle hum outside the window. In fact, about ten or so windows. These Carolina room layouts. Traced along ridge lines just across the river. Bought for the view. Built for it too. The grass crunched like summertime this afternoon. The air only cooled around four o’clock and even then, not much. High of seventy five. What a time to be alive.

There are not enough words to describe the universe.
There aren’t even enough to describe us.

I want to be a writer.
And I am telling you to be wary of words.
Not of any one in particular.
But just feeling like there are already enough.

And that if words fail to describe something, it isn’t in existence.
Which is an irrational and divisive and intentionally manipulative position.

This whole mess is clay, right up until we cook it.

And it will become anything we make. So long as we keep cooking.

It has been raining for just about a billion years. But dirt still behaves as if it never saw it coming. Now that is love. Or at the very least. That’s something. Mud sliding down mountainsides and rocks choking valleys and water swallowing high school gymnasiums.

How has it all not settled down by now?
After all of this time, how is the definition of simple
still changing?