Me encuentro a Dios en la naturaleza
Yo nunca he tenido confianza en las palabras de “los buenos libros”
Que las iglesias usan para estructura
Pero cuando estoy solo en el bosque
Y los arboles no parecen reales
Cuando miro el poder de una cascada
Ve la vista desde una montaña alta
O el sol en sus minutos finales
Yo siento algo más
Que la ciencia puede formular▲5
The city feels great but I needed out. So I took a bus long through the night just to feel the country change. I climbed mountain peaks and met full moons. Felt rocks slide right off the cliff from under my feet. Watched ripples form in the lake from that perch we claimed for the day. I thought that maybe if everyone felt these things and saw these sights the world wouldn’t be so bad. So destructive.
I saw warming hospitality of the people treating all as neighbors. Who didn’t have much but knew that didn’t matter. That giving what they could is what did.
And I faced the same questions everywhere I went. The light skin seemed to warrant an explanation. Like I could somehow justify the history between our respective homes.
I wanted to express things to them. How I’m sorry my government helped bring in to power disappearance of so many of their people. How I don’t think it’s fair either my next meal is provided. How I wish I could give more than warn blue eyes and an empathy smile. Can you boil lives down to just words?
I kicked a soccer ball back across the dirt to a little girl. Her laugh gave me hope that she hadn’t yet let go of childhood dreams. I wondered which one us felt more human. Why was I the one behind the iPhone camera and not in front of it? Why did it seem that worlds and not just borders divided us?
Toured places that brought the words in school books to life. Recovered factories. Landless movement settlements. Quilombos. Each place crossed a threshold into their world as a foreign tourist. Stepped into their life for three hours just to pull away waving from a tour bus like interactive museum visits. They have no escape bus. What did it mean that these were supposed to be success stories?
It’s hard to put it all together and make sense of it all. I stood at the edge of Iguazo falls soon aware of how insignificant I was. The water flowed off and powerfully past the edge of the world, spraying me with those water droplets not quite ready to make the leap.
It sort of hit me then, picking up Spanish from my left and Portuguese on my right. Languages separated us but still one in the same in how we all felt pretty small up there. Felt the rush of being human. There really is a beautiful world beyond the California tide. The Atlantic expanse. The Texas fence. I promise it’s even prettier than the national geographic pages. The hearts hurt and thrive in love and hide from war in much the same as ours. We’re all not so different. So why do we act like it?▲2
First your told to embrace the global community. Everyone’s coming together. Cultures are closer and discovering is easier. Go learn a language even, you never know where you’ll end up. We’re all one. It’s progressive. We call it globalization.
It was just like the magazines promised.
Big names take the land from the rural farmers so they can use the cheap, unregulated expansive plots. And so families who’ve only known that place there move to the cities in hope for better, but find shacks in the outskirts where neither water nor police nor opportunity come in. And maybe the factory down the way will hire for half a living wage if you’re lucky enough to be an undocumented immigrant. Maybe you can get a job in construction, constructing resorts and conference centers for those same people that put you here to come pass the time. It’s not easy honey but find your niche in the system. And don’t hope for the government to change anything with all their friends high up who need their resources sound and plentiful. Your country’s developing but at least you can walk down the way to the McDonald’s every now and then and feel a part of the social class. Find some way of service here cause the only thing hard to export to the lands of hopes and dreams is yourself.
And what’s the need for indigenous languages and tribal rituals when we could all speak English. This land here is devoted to the dam so the city people can quench their thirst and the factories can move toys, so I’m glad your ancestors didn’t plan on too long. Get out before the water moves in and hope that one day your country isn’t just a producer for those in the Central cause right now you and it both are having trouble staying afloat.
They need their food cheap and it’s fun to play with recipes at dinner parties and say this spice is exclusive to this rugged area ‘here.’ And this wine comes from the sweeping mountains of this far off ‘there.’ How cultured they seem.
And their clothes aren’t going to make themselves. Jenny needs a new dress for sadie-hawkins and Jake needs nikes because tryouts are coming soon and their mom is worried about the church’s tithe so she’s stress shopping. Because they need big stores and enough options to waste time on that triviality can be buried.
Don’t forget how rich your land is. To you it means fall harvests which bring dances and festivals in the village center. It means a cool breeze on a summer afternoon and the nightly insects telling all to lie down now. To us it means oil. Cause how is dad going to drive the four-runner first to the private schools for the kids and then to his banking job in the city? How embarrassing it’d be to not be the ones scoffing at those using public transportation.
Hope you have quick hands cause Jake’s iPhone just broke and Jenny’s heading to college and without a Mac she wouldn’t be trendy and grandma should get an iPad to play solitaire and hearts. There’s no app for that. So take a break and eat your apple but get back to the assembly line soon.
And dad does feel bad that his bank financed the same dictator that brought the dark decade to your country. The one you don’t even want to speak of. Sometimes between the finance reports, crunching numbers, he thinks of the 30,000 disappeared. He thinks about how people like your mom were hero’s who really fought for something. How the story’s the same for your neighbors and many others — do the stripes on the flag just show the blood on our hands? But then Tim calls him for lunch break. There’s a great sushi restaurant in town ran by fresh off the boat Japanese.
And at lunch when the normal folk are hidden away the chiefs take their bonuses and place them in the pockets of their next puppet running for office. Cause’ don’t you know a ‘Republic’ is just a system for the normal class to ‘elect’ which elite they want to govern their lives most. It is disguised well, though, encouraging things like civil involvement and through highlighting democracy in the history textbooks.
But don’t you worry that puppet is mainly interested in protecting his own stake in businesses. And fortunately for you he’s mostly involved in Mid East energy and weapon trade so your land is spared for once, while he puts votes to sell more arms to blow off their arms and deny the begging hands to put wealth in his hands.
The people who do care give up sometimes. Resolving themselves to the same story and a side involvement in some non-profit which looks good mostly just on paper and in donor recruitment pamphlets. Cause’ I don’t know if you’ve heard but taxes are high and the kid’s college is expensive and the government takes away more of our liberties everyday so we must protect ourselves.
Sure the government could do more. But spending more over there would mean a smaller military here and the thought of threat to any of these luxuries is just too much to bear. What an infringement on our security and stability. It’s hard when things aren’t easy.
I hope you find water tomorrow.
That the truck doesn’t run out too early.
I’ll send ten dollars this month in hopes that it doesn’t.
We’re all one. It’s progressive. And we call it globalization.▲2
in downtown coffee shops
staring out grim windows to gray landscapes
masked behind cafe lattes
reading ‘the good words’
an attempt to become well-read,
an effort to place myself in the way
of your path.
we used to hang around this area often
the diner down the way, which,
so often jump-started our leisure days
the park too that lead us home
after dazed nights,
mix of substances and moonlight.
light shone through trickled trees
made you even more immaculate
and same spot I sit now,
the place we first met.
do you still come around?▲
Crossroads of my life met on a rainy day. Dark skies and drizzle seemed to shine through the window-pane - nerving uncertainty masked by caffeine cups and a house’s dead sounds. TV off to the corner murmuring the daily bull shit. Wouldn’t listen if it demanded.
Sometimes you stare out the window and though your mind is on no thoughts really come. It’s elsewhere. Lately it seems like a lot of time has been passing like this.
Pondered where I’d been and how I’d come along and if anywhere that I was going would be worth mentioning. Well I just hope life isn’t a waste of days. Because at times the present seems to pass by dull but it gets comfortable.
Feel more sure than most but can I really say I know anything at all? Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all. Each breath a miracle passing in the blink of an eye. Each blink of an eye passes as a nervous tic. Each tick off the clock gone before you wish, so try to hold it.
Don’t reach out, though, don’t strain yourself. Worthless cause. Sort of the way it is, how time takes everything before you wish. People leave and times gone and soon, before ever expected, the faces that once seemed engraved in the surroundings are washed away.
Learned long ago the uncertainty is the only certainty. Though it’s been said many times to embrace the changing of times it doesn’t always come so easy, does it? The seasons don’t always make the smoothest transition. Like how fall always comes sooner than you’d hope. How the music sounds darker in winter. How she hoped I’d always stay.
One things for certain, though: April rains come to wash away past fears and failings. Keep hope in tomorrow. Maybe next season will be better.
Don’t really know if there’s a point here but there sure is a lot of depth in this world around.
So go feel it deeply, always. We must.▲6
Just wanted to catch her gaze but she looked away, said she didn’t feel so right. That her scars weigh on her a bit too much at times.
I told her I thought the moon lit up just for her that night, but she wouldn’t accept it. Said she didn’t feel good enough, that God chose the wrong heart.
And I said:
I know your shoulders are heavy well mine are warn too. No where near the painted picture I appear - more a complex mess of times when I wasn’t my best and too much stress from life’s test.
You’re not the only one who feels numb at times.
But when times get rough just think of us, and how small the world looks from up here. The people seem like ants, don’t they? A million little hearts steering clear of anything that would land them near here. Afraid to let themselves go.
Cause’ right here is exactly where we should be.
Cause’ you’ve got a wandering soul feeling like he has a home.
Cause’ words come but they wouldn’t place it. You say I’m closed off but maybe the silence comes from fear of doing injustice.
I think you were right how sometimes the best hearts leave before they should. Maybe they go when they’ve grown too full - too rich for this existence. Maybe we remain because we still have work left to do.
But we’re here and we’re now and I don’t know much but I know my heart feels growth in yours. So don’t feel leftover.
Tell me what do you think about at 1 am when the darkness settles around you, telling all to wind down but you can’t just yet? And what would you do if you could do anything? I want to know the song you always turn to and that passage you think puts it better than the rest. I want to lose myself ever further.
Cause you’re something special if even for this heart.
Your hurt is mine to keep. I only want to take your burden off.
Used to say I was done with scribbled papers, but I’m back at the sketching board again. Cause God damn when are we going to stop putting off our sense of urgency?
I know I’ve heard of times when we all used to take true interest in the world around. Just think, what could become of our generation if we all spent more time following the news and our subjects rather than playing video games, social media, sports.
I’ve heard times spoke of where our population as a whole sat around the living room to hear FDR’s fire chats. What if the same population that actively tuned into the super bowl and american idol shared the same intensity for Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. What if we all felt a bit more civil?
Do you see where I come from, like do you see all the lost potential?
At some point it’s all got to kick in with a wake up call. I know distractions have made it awfully easy to not care. I mean shit it’s easy to not worry about the world around you when easy is all you know.
See we can’t contextualize the dire situations at hand when it’s all so simple - turn on a tap and there’s flowing water and go to the store and a whole farm catered just to you. Imagine the day that tap runs out.
And more what if the river runs out? What if that sea food plate that brings the whole family around the table in 20 years is no longer eatable from toxins? Or more likely that whole species has left the planet. What if I take my grandson to the same view my grandfather took me, and there’s nothing left to look at? I know the lessons won’t sound quite the same. What if the farmer down the way can no longer practice his trade cause the droughts are too strong and the policies too strict? What if you find your home trusting the levy with the hurricane barreling down?
It’s funny how we like to say we think about the future until it’s obvious we don’t. At least not past ourselves.▲1
I want to write but I don’t. I want to write but where is the spark.
I don’t want to feel the pressure of the characters and how they come across.
I want to be remembered for the things I do and who I am not what I am.
I want to be with you but I want to be free. Conveniently you make me free.
And if it were up to me we’d leave this place. This humdrum town. And never look back. Live on the road and under trees and with the stars. And we’d have money come to us but only just enough to supply our enjoyment. And we wouldn’t worry about this hard existence and the suffering that nothing will ever change. Just forget it all, and live for every speck of existence that we come across. Live enough for all those that don’t ever live at all.▲5
I think the hardest thing about coming to grips with losing someone is accepting the life experiences that will occur in their absence. Used to dwell more on the things that you’d miss out on more than the the trials of the day-to-day. Well I think it is that the day-to-day goes on and it doesn’t feel that bad. I still wash my cereal down with coffee each morning and get through the classes and work. I still laugh and drink and reminisce and plan for better days around good faces with better hearts through the night. Cause’ see it’s just that, though, the day-to-day goes on. But then there’s the big moments. The real moments life gives you to feel more than the others. Those that are felt better through others. And it doesn’t quite feel the same knowing something will be lacking.
It’s hard saying goodbye to what made you.
You’ve missed a lot. Never got wished well to prom. Seat where you should have been was filled by someone else at graduation. Waved goodbye to different faces driving away from college row - but in those hardest nights it was still you whose comfort I longed for. Wished for your positivity and guidance during heartbreak and sickness. Wish it was you I was coming back home to tell stories to.
What’s worse is what’s still to come. Days and times and people that won’t know you. Marriage and kids and careers that won’t feel your warming excitement.
And I’m doing my best to shape myself out here alone but it’s not always easy. An outline not yet a full composition. It’s true I do feel you all the time, especially on that mountain’s windy peak. We got there early morning one day to bring in the sun, and I swear I caught you in those stars that felt so close by. It was cold but you were warm. Stay with me, Keep watch over me.▲3
Disaster Capitalism: “As a market analyst remarked of a particularly good quarter for the earnings of the energy services company Halliburton, ‘Iraq was better than expected.’ That was in October 2006, then the most violent month of the war on record, with 3,709 Iraqi civilian casualties. Still, few shareholders could fail to be impressed by a war that had generated $20 billion in revenues for this one company.” - Klein … Halliburton, the same company of which Dick Cheney was a former chief executive. The same company for which Cheney conveniently drafted, in closed-doors meetings, the Halliburton loophole provision of the 2005 energy bill. This stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing - also conveniently invented by Halliburton. Government and big business do not mix well.▲
I’m not sure if it was your eyes’ new spark or how your hair brushed my shoulder in tune with your motions but something was different that night. Felt enhanced. And maybe it was just the mix of drinks we downed like our last reach for restoration but try as I might my vision ended there where you were. Clouded figures and restless lights rose from beyond you but even their lure couldn’t recapture me. And I could say this is where I think you look best on this dance floor here, hand outstretched closing on my calling hands, but I lost sight of the background.
I love the times when the afternoon sun tries to sneak its way through the window pane periphery but you don’t allow it. Cause’ we don’t mind to be gripped here and would only emerge if it demanded. And your press surely leaves an impression. Maybe I like you best here wearing just a sheet half-drawn and your mid-day air – but is a picture complete without a background?
It’s funny too when bodies adapt to one another. Like when the nooks of you fit here like puzzle pieces giving way to some grand scene. And you lean in and say let’s rise slow, for this night can’t grow old and this feels like home. Seems that time’s our only enemy but I can’t help but to go along. And maybe here is where our portrait looks finest, but still I can’t make out the background and I wouldn’t want to do it an injustice.
Embrace what’s been and long for what’s to come but tonight babe just take me in. Cause’ the pattering on the window pane and the heat in your voice mix well with those downed substances unable to mask tomorrow’s visions. I’ve had just about all that I can take. And I think if I had it my way the foreground is all I’d ever need. So speak soft and let those freckles paint you like they do – cause’ I see all I know to see.▲3