Not Our Own


I’m standing between two horizons, on top of a huge ball; a conglomeration of bones, history, plants, water, boats, and houses. There are whales swimming right now. There are peacocks and little creatures in your eyes, and cats, and leaves, and flowers. There are fires that burn millions of acres and we let them burn; guns, so many guns and bombs that could destroy everything I just said and will say. There are hurricanes in the sky and earthquakes that happen under the sea; creating waves that rise as high as the buildings we built to line its shores. There is enough liquor to go around.

There are jobs. I drove fifteen miles today to a job; it took me an hour. It often takes longer because there are too many people and we are all seemingly going to the exact same place; yet I arrive alone and wonder where they went. I am late, thirty minutes late, to a job. I take little nails, place them between my fingers and pound them through tin and into wood, because this is someone’s art, and I make it, and people will buy it. I’m there hammering nails into tin because I need money, so I can get some food to eat; not the most expensive food, it takes more than hammering tin to buy that food; it takes more than hammering tin to buy art that is simply hammered tin, made by someone who just wants some food.

I saw a man sitting on the side of the road earlier, while I was sitting behind a car in front of a car and between two cars. He just sat there drinking a gallon of milk, with his shirt off, staring at all of us in the cars. How do you even explain a car? The rubber, the metal, the fabric, the plastic, the gas, the lights, the electric. I switched between radio stations; I was bored with everything I heard, even Jason Bentley who plays things that you can’t be too bored with because you’ve never heard them before. Where does Jason Bentley find this music? Who is this artist? I have to wait through three or four more songs that are all great, in order to know; and when he lists them, I write down the names on the back of a parking ticket, a parking ticket that is 63 dollars, but it’s late so it’s actually 120 dollars. Oh yes, and a two-dollar processing fee…

And the music cuts out…and the news begins; all the simplicity of just wanting to know the name of a song is lost to police brutality and shooting after shooting after shooting and Donald Trump who is actually in the lead to run this country! And then someone comes on and says the polls don’t actually mean anything although they are true, they just don’t mean anything. And a story of a surfer almost getting bitten by a shark, somehow is supposed to be really important. He is a hero! He was almost bitten, but wasn’t. We all saw it. Describe what happened, please?! He was almost killed at an event where people come from all over the world; they stand on the beach and watch men and women compete, riding waves on polyurethane and fiberglass boards, on shores that are edges of continents with mass genocides and wars that will go on and on, because it’s too easy to just turn the radio off and make it all go away, or pretend that it is only happening in far away continents, not our own, or cities not our own, or neighborhoods not our own, or streets not our own, or houses not our own, or rooms not our own; until it is happening to us, or more to the point, by us.

And Jason Bentley’s voice comes back on and he plays another great song.



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