Another dream where I’m outside the building where I used to work but my badge won’t let me in because I’ve been fired. I took my mom to one of my favorite restaurants but began choking on an olive pit and tried to hock it up but the sound drew attention from the other tables so I just swallowed it.
Malfeasance. How the dems use that word like they know most people listening won’t know what it means, they serve it up like a volleyball spike: mal-FEA-sance. They use words like sacrosanct and dystopia but they’re big words and don’t work on the anti-intellectuals they’re aiming them at. They just take their language and turn it against them.
We went to the Value Village and loaded up on fake blood and flannel. Most of the plastic skeletons are from China, the same as the fentanyl we’re now learning about since our local kids are dying from it, thinking it’s oxycodone. And people are making millions off it because everyone just needs some relief, and what’s easier than taking a pill?
Late October skies, flat bands of color. I ground down the leaves with the tractor but as soon as I turned back more came down and I had to return, over and over. I resolved to get every last one, to remove them all until the trees were just empty hands reaching up to the sky, sun-starved and bare.
In the middle of the night the only sound was a frog croaking, a frog and the coming winds. The wind that hollows out canyons and culls out the dead. The frog croaks grew tentative, unsure, and then petered out. And then the dribbling water from a broken gutter seam like an open faucet, drip, drip, drip…
I wondered dimly if I was depressed and sat holding my head by the window. A desiccated fly with its legs upright in the sill. Orchids needing watered, but I didn’t care.
I peeled back the cat’s ears until they were inside-out, pink, and looked like mice ears with tufts of white sticking out.
The leaves sailed down, some with the precision of a hawk.
Single men hunched over the bar on a Tuesday afternoon and me among them. Dropping my mom off at the airport and sitting in traffic on the freeway, taking a smaller road to get off. Losing myself in the aisles at Bed Bath and Beyond. The sense that all of these stores are going out of business and have been for years. And then we’ll get exactly what we want, and bit by bit the small specialty shops that sell hardware and books and niche stuff will creep back. Nature filling in the cracks. No empty mall dystopia. A rebalancing of order, a bit less Amazon.
Twice this week we watched the Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman: that ’70s song from one of the last scenes, oooooooh…what a lucky man…he was. And how that song sets you up to think that but by the time you get to the end, he dies all alone and you realize he really wasn’t lucky, it was all a setup. You were led down a path to believe everything was fine but it wasn’t, and that made it more interesting somehow and more real. We are all being led like that by the songs we play for ourselves and the stations we tune into. The narratives about ourselves that we’ll likely never remember or understand, that animate our dreams. That someone else will recite back for us to believe, if we’re not lucky.