written January 3, 2013
I moved into a tent in the heart of the city that often sleeps after midnight, the soulless shadows of the financial district reminding me why I joined the ‘movement’ in the first place… I thought. Poli Sci…questions, why? This modern day Hooverville on Rose’s greenway, an Island of misfits, not Kennedy’s, we’re found to be unfit in society’s eyes. These residents fed up with society’s lies. Lying on my back in the muddied grass, smelling the city: food, exhaust fumes and trash heaps. I still had a home though, with six roommates, sisters and brothers from other fathers and mothers. Cabinets filled with Co-Op beans and rice, occupied by fattened mice in the middle of their genocide, the unlucky ones become compost for the rats that inch ever closer to the house each day, coming out to play in the evening shade of the dead elm tree and fences that keep the black and latino neighbors, and Northeastern partiers at bay. Community? Hardly. We’re left disillusioned, whiskey bent and bound by hell, trapped in this shell of a life lacking community, solidarity and humanity blurred by a false unity of a left and right paradigm shifting to prescriptions, left, right, left, an M-4 and a cleft heart, torn apart and disfigured, it figures that I’m an outcast, those all around me step back from this illusion of America’s dream, smoking grass. Collect cans’ enough to get high again, as we forget that Afghan and Pakistani mothers cry, still. Amen. I got by with nine to five, and then swore an oath, then lost the father, son and the holy ghost. But who needs religion when we worship ourselves, self-centered, sacrificing humanity for credit-card wealth
Sure, I’d leave the tent to shower every now and then, take the greenline to make this new tent community reality wash away from me with Dr. Bronner’s and Johnny Walker. And I’m as crazy as the doctor was, I kill a handful of pills and wash it down with a 6-pack for a buzz, in a light year my life flashes by and I require 9 to five to survive, and the fuzz are closing in, because I have a voice and speak truth, all I want is the truth, but it’s the original sin that claimed the breath of Malcolm and Lennon, King and Christ, “What law am I breaking, I beg your pardon officer?’ Just standing in a public park, after dark with a non-offensive sign, I guess I walked that fine line like Johnny, begging cash enough to get high and realize that I’m not free as I take a padded elbow to the face, get zip-cuffed and pucker up to kiss the Mayors ring, but I have to fall in line, it’s time to load the Paddy wagon. My great-grandfather Paddy was wagging his finger and bragging as he left his neighbors on the emerald isle, for the land of the free, expecting an open arm welcome, but oh, what a difference an ocean makes, what a difference a century makes. Paddy cake, Paddy cake, Paddy come lately, pat you down you can have your cake but we’re going to eat in, and take your soul while we’re at it. Paddy take your time, fall in line, wait for indenture. So much for Paddy’s American adventure, now me? I’m free to follow the rest, you know? Dress right, dress. Fall in line son, said the Boston cop with the bulletproof vest and the bully club. Better not rub him the wrong way, what’s that you say, what’s that you say? ‘Fuck your amendments, we’ll take a piss on your constitution, and wipe our asses with your two-fourteens’. All of which were American dreams. Take another Ambien. ‘Keep dreaming these foolish dreams about ivy-league sponsored revolution, eating Big Mac’s and drinking Grande Latte’s, what’s that you say, you’ve read Chomsky?…we’ got drones and H-bombs, and CNN and FOX and FOXCONN tossing blood-soaked American Eagle jeans into your laundry basket. We give you fraudulent home loans then foreclose on your I HAVE A DREAM homes, take these psalms to sing and pray the gay away, because that’s what we tell you matters. And paper beats rock, and rock beats scissors, and DRONE beats AR-15. Game over. And fuck those immigrants too- taking away the jobs that you don’t realize we outsourced anyway- God Bless the Chinese!” But in the meantime, the pockets of politicos and the five-o keep getting fatter, and as they foreclose on you, leaving you madder than the hatter, stuck moving into to the downtown shelter and sucking uncle sam’s teat to keep those sweet monthly food stamp dollars coming to buy two weeks’ worth of GMO something or other…so what if the salmon has three eyes and the potato becomes Mr. Potato head, won’t be hard for him to find a misses. those potato chicks are Frito-lay. get it? We’re running in circles, winding up last. We’re bumming pennies and nickels for three dollars of gas that still won’t get us out of town. So here we are, living in tents again, wearing a frown. Why you feeling down? You’re looking blue, yeah, bluer than my balls as you wander the halls of the asylum, padded walls for Paddy, repeat, Polly want a cracker? Reeducate, Reeducate, Reeducate. Vaccinate, genetic modification to depopulate, hey, it works on Rats? Chew the fat, chew the fat, chew the fat…
‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…and to the republic for which it stands…Afghanistan, Pakistan, Taliban, Kardashian…and to the republic for which it stands…one nation under’
Fuck it…I can’t…I Won’t…
‘One nation, under god…wait, one nation, under surveillance, under control, under educated, under informed, under educated, under-valued, under educated, under employed, under educated, under loved, under educated under the microscope…under TSA checkpoints, underwear’
‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…’
Pills, pills, pills. Drink water, drink. Pills, pills, pills. More water. Very good.
Obey. You’re doing fine kiddo. Smile, wave. Rinse, repeat. Smile, wave. Save money at Wal-Mart, cut coupons, cut cost, cut the wrists of kids in factories overseas we never see. See? From sea to shining sea. Thirteen cents an hour making eighty dollar but-hugging jeans, but hey, that’s the style. Don’t hate. Reeducate. Reeducate. Reeducate.
Fuck you and your blues, I won’t sell my soul for a Coors Light and a slice from Dominoes, I’ll bum a fin and catch a cab and hop out at the light and break up a fight over a loaf of bread. Are the children fed…eat your vegetables, says Monsanto…I mean, says the FDA On my way down MacDougal to catch a laugh in the cellar, this stellar young bugle boy was bugling up a storm for quarters, I toss him a silver dollar to follow me to the Empire State Building while playing taps, I get off at the 86th floor and pose for a I-phone photo-op, cop a smile then climb the fence and race a Jack Kennedy half-dollar down to a waiting convertible. My driver got a call, had to take off. I hit some turbulence on my way down and land on a falafel cart, tip bin Laden the Kennedy fifty-cent piece which now has a hole in it, and take off running through the quick sand centerpiece of my city of nightmares with the river of blood and broken dreams flowing through hula-hoop hopscotch drainage pipes. Got a light? There’s tug boats tugging, drug dealers drugging that fine stuff from those black-ops middlemen, drug, drug, drugging the populace to sleep but there’s no sheep left to count one, two, one, two, three blind mice got caught on their way to the cupboard, god rest their souls. And it’s one, two, and three as we cut funding for Sesame Street, so the new homeless have to move in next to Oscar, I’ll be damned, that grouch had it figured out all along. And all along the watchtower I watch a mother carrying her dead child, cowering as the bombs continue to fall over Brooklyn and we’re all forced to speak Chinese and make toys for all of China’s good girls and boys. Now it’s back to Broadway, but Billy Joel was right and the lights are out.
Ain’t it funny how time starts to slip, and an eighteen year old Chinese soldier boy loses his grip on reality and sanity and humanity, awoke from a daydream of distant memories of youthful screams over forced labor. Toys, toys, toys. Saint Nick was a Coca-Cola motherfucker, not so jolly, roger that? Soldier boy’s daydreams of a youth spent sweating while making games he’d never play, fuck that land, so far away, shoots and ladders. It’s back to reality as he sees the enemy looking suspicious. A little girl dropped something and he put two quick bursts into her tiny torso before she even had time enough to bend down and retrieve her big breasted, blonde headed Barbie doll that she had hid up her sleeve, a Barbie doll that he might well have made years earlier, but he mistook it for a weapon. What could he do? He just follows orders, see, he’s a low ranking foot soldier, one, two, three…one, two, three. He ain’t no top gun, General Tso, yes chicken little the sky is falling, just a little ole’ grunt though, yes sir, he is. To his countrymen and women he’s a hero in the style of John Wayne from the days of Hollywood. It could have been a pistol, could have been a bomb…with his rules of engagement, he’s not in the wrong. As sweat beads down his face, just like it did when he was a child laborer, his air of authority causes his mouth to break into a smile. The little girl from Westchester County, New York, well her daddy came at the soldier boy, a reaction no doubt. On instinct, our soldier boy sprays the crowd. The father was a threat so he had to take him out. The collateral damage that day in the park, in a part of Lower Manhattan where Chinese-made tents once stood in defiance to the empire that swatted them away like summertime flies. The collateral damage was no more than two dozen American laborers who were living in tents in what was once Zuccotti Park, as some of them might have done years earlier. You know, these folks would have been ok, no doubt, but see, they were out after dark, past curfew anyhow. They weren’t just prisoners waiting to take nightly pisses and nightly shits, no, they were combatants, standing in solidarity with the terrorist-girl’s father. It was dark out, and our soldier-boy was without NVG’s. The bugle boy from the Village took one in the left arm, and two in the right…in a different lifetime, he might have tried to go out with a fight, but instead, as his last breaths escaped from his body, he bugled the last bit of taps, wishing he had just stayed at his refugee camp in the Bronx. And from the watchtower we see that mother carry her little terrorist girl back to Brooklyn.
But now I wake up out of my quick-sand daydream, and I’m back in my hammock, in the shade at the lake. The lesson I learned when I woke up and sipped my sangria and chewed on a grape was to never eat Peyote and read Bukowski, for Christ’s sake! So I drove to the common with my book of Sir. Charles, and five gallons of gas… I handed the book to a high school kid passing by and said ‘read for Christ’s sake, read’, then turned on my i-Pod, and started to cry. Castles of Sand yes Jimi you’re right… then I wave a bum over and borrow his light. I pour the five gallons all over my body, then I walk into the squeaky clean, quite glistening lobby, of the golden domed state house upon Beacon Hill, and resign that my goals in life can’t be fulfilled… I’m in the lobby wondering just why it is we teach hate… as I light up an American Spirit, take a drag, and self-emulate. The bitch of it is, I didn’t even make the local paper…maybe I should have believed in a man made savior. But I’ve descended to hell now, and the company sure is great… relatives, friends,… shit, everyone’s there! My family, both sides, and all my rowdy friends… and at end of the bar is a group of what seems like super-best friends, Buddha, Muhammad, Krishna, Moses, Laozi, and Jesus Christ…and their good friend Joseph Smith! they all look very dapper, they nod, being polite. All the good people I’ve ever read about, they’re all here. None of the bad ones… what the hell, I mean what the ‘this place’. Hell is heaven and heaven is hell, we got it all wrong, like the Bizarro world Seinfeld episode, ya dig? There’s Malcolm, there’s Martin, there’s Bobby and Jack,…not sure how Ted made it, but he’s with a hooker out back… it’s a melting pot, Muslims, Christians and Jews, black, white and brown, South East Asian and even Canadian… here, family is all that you see! It’s like the TV show Cheers, everyone knows your name… they gladly welcome you to the family, caring not from whence you came, what god you prayed to or didn’t pray to, or what car you drove…
But I wake up again and I’m still at the lake… it wasn’t a dream, but a vision. So I head back to the house and wash down a bottle of Ambien with a Heineken and walk back to the hammock with a shit-eating grin, because at least in hell there’s some semblance of community and nobody has to learn Chinese!!!