“Are you looking for the polling station?” The sweet old woman had come out of nowhere. “It’s right there, across the street. If you could vote for Juanita as your City Councilor, I would appreciate it. She lives in the neighborhood. She really is wonderful.”
“Okay.” I noted a sign which stated No Soliciting Within Two Blocks and went inside where a slightly younger woman checked my identification and handed me a laminated folder. I opened the folder in the booth and discovered two ballots and filled in one, selecting Juanita, and inserted the ballot into the machine.
“Excuse me.” I returned the folder and the extra ballot to another woman. “I think I was given an extra.”
“An extra ballot.”
“Huh.” She stared back at me. “I think I know who that was.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble here.”
“No one is in trouble, no sir!” She marched across the polling station. “Juanita!”
The recent obsession with a multiverse existence is not surprising, given the surge of the sad and lonely scrolling to the next seven-second moment.
I think about a moment when I was 25 where I had to make the call between working as a caption editor or assistant book store manager. I chose to edit captions and did that for several years before stumbling into education. Why? I don’t know. I could have made a publishing contact at the book shop and been a dozen or so books into my career. Or I could have been fired for yelling at customers for reading the Penthouse magazines. Or I could have murdered someone for losing the only draft of my first and great work. Who knows.
Where would we be if Trump had died of food poisoning as a boy? If Hitler had been aborted? If Paris had just kept his hands off Helen? Or if, as Gunter Grass posited in The Flounder, women had never told boys the secret of procreation and therefore held onto their super power. Yes, sadly, this verse is it, kids.
It’s a longish short story of a relationship that starts with a connection, direct and funny. And then an angry step daughter arrives, sexually taunting. “How did you get here? What did you do to be standing here? I knew how fucked up everybody was when I was a kid. And that never made sense to me. The world was huge. It was beyond anything I could imagine. And then I went out and realized that it wasn’t all that. Don’t fuck with my mother.”
After that, the story of the relationship isn’t as wise or wonderful as survival. “Life might be done with me, but that’s because I called it out on all of its bullshit.”
I realize that I am getting older and less patient and all of that, but I am certain that people are getting weirder and more fucked up on some exponential scale. Masks are my proof. Why can’t people just wear a fucking mask? Isn’t this like wearing a shirt or pants? We figured that out when we were kids. Most of us anyway.
The point of wearing the mask to slow the spread. This is not about the people that ate paint chips on their Count Chocula. I am talking about people with brains, that accept medicine and science and humanity and all of that, and they still can’t seem to wear a mask. It’s either on their chin, especially when they’re trying to focus on their social media feed – be it dunks or pumps – or just below their nose.
How can they not understand that the issue of breathing is related to both the nose AND the mouth? Isn’t that, like, grade two bio? Anyway, I’m getting sick of these nitwits and it helps that the mask mandate is coming to end where the stupidity of the seemingly educated is so baldly on display.
The only culture worth keeping is the revolutionary culture. Black culture must not be something that the enemy enjoys, appreciates or says is attractive. It must be repelling to the slave master. It must smash, shatter and crack his skull, crack his eyeballs open and make water and gold dust run out. (George Mason Murray, Black Panther Minister of Education, 1968)
When we talk about becoming free, we have to talk about power, getting all the goods, services and land, and returning them equally to the oppressed and enslaved Mexicans, Blacks, Indians, Puerto Ricans and poor whites in the U.S. and to the rest of the oppressed and hungry people of the world. (Murray, 1968)
The racist dog oppressors have no rights which oppressed black people are bound to respect. The oppressor must be harassed until his doom. He must have no peace by day or night. (Bernadine Dohrn, Students for a Democratic Society Secretary)
We live in a mess of a world. Nothing whatsoever points to anything working out for any of us. And, truth be known, we deserve come what may.
It isn’t Trump or Putin or Bolsonaro. It’s the evil of the middle road, making decisions to eke out a little bit for ourselves, convinced that no real harm is done by a trip somewhere nice or buying another bag of chips.
I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. That’s my shitty excuse. I’m always looking to get away, avoid responsibility. I move from one thing to the next with no genuine aspiration, nothing true or wise. I like to write. That’s it. I like to live in that pretend world so that I can think that I know things. Yeah, I’m a stupid kid.
It’s been over a year since I posted one of the “Overlooked Manhattan” series, and it’s time I got back to it with one on East 36th Street, which most New Yorkers only know as an outlet to the Midtown Tunnel.
But there is more! Not only are there secret gardens.
But there are also the Missions for Chad and Armenia.
Got to keep my eyes open in this city. Looking for more.
I am angry not because it’s the first step in any program but because no one is honest about who they are. Not one of us. The pandemic has made this clear.
After all of the drivel about finding oneself in the quiet of the lockdown – talk which lasted all of three days – the only thing that anyone did was consume and bitch and consume and consume and consume.
Worth saving? Why? We are fucked. And good riddance to us. Btw, I have a book about that, called Anori. It’s about leaving this planet so we go fuck up another one.