Harmonious Gold

I’ve been told I am this thing. I’m told that because I benefit from being this thing, I am not allowed to deny I am this thing. But I don’t benefit from being this thing. I benefit from people’s perception of me as this thing. I’d argue their perception is inaccurate and works to create greater division.

I recently heard a woman claim that “white” people are the only people who can claim they don’t identify as any particular “race”, because there is nowhere they have to feel they don’t belong. I could debate that point. Certainly not all “white” people are welcome in all places. But I believe the point this speaker was trying to make was that the people in power in our country are mostly “white”. Of course I recognize society has classified me as “white”. Of course I recognize that there are more people who are categorized as “white” than people who have any other label of “race” placed on them  in positions of power in our country. I understand how these labels have shaped the power dynamic in our society. But these labels seem so arbitrary today. I understand how racism may continue to play a role in shaping the power dynamic in our country. The idea that the color of a person’s skin or their continent of familial dissent plays any role in determining their value as a person is often viewed as an archaic perspective even as this perspective was common only decades ago. I suppose it is not up for me to say whether I am “white”. My eyes tell me my skin is more of a “Harmonious Gold” on the Behr color scale: 

But that isn’t what “white” means when it comes to skin color. Society says I am “white” because I have mostly European ancestry. Society also says that my friends who have mostly African ancestry are “black”. I have a social experiment for you. Ask a group of elementary school students what the opposite of white is. I’d be willing to bet a majority of them will say “black”. But we are not opposites. On the contrary; We are much more alike than we are different. To say I am not white is not to say I don’t recognize that people will try to assign this label to me or even that I benefit from it. Even as I recognize this label as inaccurate when it comes to most color scales, I can identify the alternate use of the term when it comes to skin color. At the same time, I cannot help but recognize how utterly useless this label may be when it comes to practical application.

It isn’t that I’m color-blind. I just don’t see how it matters. I understand that some people take pride in the color of their skin. This seems a little irrational to me. I suppose to say I am proud to be white would be an attempt to align myself with “white” people who have done great things. But our most significant commonality would seem to be the fact that our ancestors came from Europe. I don’t see how their accomplishments are anymore mine than the accomplishments of my other brothers and sisters with different continents of familial origin.

I do see how using these labels as means of identity works to divide us. To say I am a “white” man puts my familial origins even before my gender. So yes, I’ll concede that I am “white”, only because society has a magnificent way of redefining terms. But, in identifying this, I have to recognize that this label is rather useless when it comes to most practical applications. As language evolves with our progression as a society, I envision a future in which these labels are set aside in favor of more useful terms. Would it be such a crime to push for this change today?

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Rigidity of Religion

To say I am one thing binds me to others’ ideas of that thing. As we each hold a unique perspective of the world, it would seem impossible to conform to every person’s perspective of any given label. Dictionaries are used to best define how a society perceives a given word. But even dictionaries and definitions within them change over time. I recently heard a women express that the word “Atheist” meant to her someone who was “evil” and only interested in satisfying his or her own carnal desires. When recently asked to define “atheist”, I focused more on an atheist’s tendencies to desire physical evidence. But Merrium-Webster defines “atheist” as follows: “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods : one who subscribes to or advocates atheism”. These labels may be beneficial when it comes to predicting and understanding another’s actions. But to live without these labels enables me to be free to explore my perspective of myself, the world around me, and the world beyond. We tend adopt these labels as parts of our identities and then become invested in these identities. The two-party system in the United States inspires many to vote along party lines without considering whether the candidates for whom they are voting share their principles. Further, when these candidates take office, we defend the politician for whom we voted even as their actions seem unjustified to us. When it comes to something like faith in a higher power, these labels to which we adhere often require even stronger faith. When this faith is challenged, we may be more likely to stand strong in our beliefs, refusing to ever sway even when evidence to the contrary is presented. We often take a perspective similar to the perspective portrayed in the old Christian hymn: “Like a tree that’s planted by the water, I shall not be moved”. But Psalms 1:3 of the Christian bible, seemingly the inspiration for this imagery, would seem to more directly apply to falling to ideas of wrongdoing rather than exploration of faith. And so we argue, we fight, and we kill over our perspectives of these things we cannot conclusively define.  We live in a very physical world. We interact with things outside of us in physical ways. To cling to our limited understanding of anything beyond this world as though it were profound truth would seem futile at best and damaging at worst. When we let go of the notion that we can, with absolute certainty, know anything about the nature of things beyond our world, we may see these things with more clarity than our previous perspective made possible. When it comes to the physical world, things like the beams depicted in the drawing below do not exist.

When we try to apply physical characteristics to these things, we end up arguing over the reality of these things:

When we let go of these physical constructs, we can see we are all simultaneously correct and incorrect. So I may be beams laying on the ground. You may see me as 3 and you may see me as 4. And you may be right on both accounts. But when I recognize I may be 3 and I may be 4, my mind is open and receptive to any number of possibilities.

It Ends With a Bus

When I was about 8 years old, my parents began depriving me of sex. Now I’m not stupid. I know many children never get to experience a sexual relationship with either of their parents, let alone both of them. This, of course, seemed crueler than anything my parents could have done to me – making children wait until the age of 13 or 14 to learn of this incredible way of connecting with others. And worst of all, providing such little guidance, making them learn from each other. Two people who don’t know how to do something would not seem to be well equipped to teach each other. Still, it seemed so harsh for my parents to cut me off, as they did. I knew it had something to do with this new church they were attending. My parents were becoming Catholic. I had heard the word before, from schoolmates whose parents also decided to become Catholic. Happenings inside the church seemed so foreign – stand-up, sit-down, eat a cracker, drink some grape juice. What was it all for? What was the point? It was important to my parents. I loved my parents, so it was important to me. At the behest of my father, I began volunteering in the church. I soon became and altar server, assisting the priest during certain parts of the service. I would arrive at church before service and leave, sometimes, well after. I found in father Bestia the love my parents had only recently begun withholding.

Flash forward 30 years, I was living in a fairly large city in Texas, with no income and no means of finding shelter. Still, life was good. I was blessed. I had a few women friends. They weren’t good for much other than a quick release. But that was all I really wanted them for anyway. I spent most of my time ogling the beautiful, young college girls who stayed in my city while attending the university. I had my favorite spots near campus. There was a restaurant not far from campus with an elevated floor. I liked to spend summer days laying on my back, looking up through the gaps in the stairs out front, taking mental photos of every hot, young pussy I caught a glimpse of. Thank God for mini-skirts.

I’d often hit on these voluptuous coeds. They rarely showed any interest, but that didn’t stop me from trying. They were all so gorgeous. As a result, I was indiscriminate. I often would try to strike up a conversation with girls as we passed on the sidewalk. On occasion, I would even hit on girls while their boyfriends walked along-side them. What did I care? Those little limp-wristed boys couldn’t do anything to me, a man. Sometimes I’d try to get a rise out of them. I especially liked fucking with interracial couples. On occasion I’d see a black boy with a black girl. But the black boys in my city seemed to prefer lighter-skinned girls. This was fine with me. I liked them of all colors and shapes. That just meant more black pussy for me.

The black boys gave the best shows of machismo before being pulled away by their fairer-skinned girls. But they were pansies like the rest of them. On one occasion, I went for the jugular. It was hilarious. I said to a young, white woman, who happened to be passing in the crosswalk with her black boyfriend in tow, “Hey baby! You wanna hook up?”. She said, in a rather offended tone, “Uuuh! This is my boyfriend!”. Then, without even thinking about it, I said, “That’s cool. He gets first pick of your holes. That leaves me with 2 more to choose from.” She held him from behind, her arms wrapped tightly around his waist as he got loud and started threatening me. I smiled and listened as she dragged him away. After they were out of sight, I chuckled to myself, shook my head, and continued on my way. Yes, life was good. If it wasn’t for the 202 Metro bus pulling through that very same crosswalk at a speed approaching 40 miles per hour, life would still be good. Oh, fuck it. Life was fun while it lasted.

What Took Me So Long

I refuse to be a door matthew
I am not a falliday statue
Even as this mouth smiles at you
These lips speak the word “No”

Your breath smells of entitle-mint
Though I’ll still call you friend
I’m worth so much more than this
Not your means to an end
I know that you are damaged good
Oh well, a hole for now
But I can’t fill it with my love
Only you know how

For the first time in a lifetime I see
My love does not give you the right to hurt me
Undertow over fingers that won’t obey
The first step in many is to walk away
What took me so long to know I have a choice
What took me so long to hear my own voice
What took me so long to understand my worth
What took me so long

To love you is not to pretend
When misery doesn’t love a friend
Only so far now will I bend
Scratching feet that say “go”

I know that you are damaged well
I won’t be damaged too
My love wont wake you from your hell
That power is in you
Beautiful, also broken
I pray for your release
Hurt words angrily spoken
Here’s hoping you find peace

For the first time in a lifetime I see
My love does not give you the right to hurt me
Undertow over fingers that won’t obey
The first step in many is to walk away
What took me so long to know I have a choice
What took me so long to hear my own voice
What took me so long to understand my worth
What took me so long

I refuse to be a door matthew
I am not a falliday statue
Even as this mouth smiles at you
These lips speak the word “No”

Alright

Interactive energy

Over miles she calls to me

Come dance with me and smile back

This body in this body

Not a life

I’m alive

Separate, not forgotten

Distant child of peace

Constant wells of whole seashells

Broken and part of the beach

I’m alive

Not a life

A lie

I’ll not alight

Ode to the greatest number

The only number, one

Stardust old as anything

Life breath given from the sun

Not a life

I’m alive

A lie

I’ll not alight

I live alive

A love I live

Awake we find happiness

Elated we play all day

Breaking waves stir the shallows

Memory of mother’s bay

I’m alive

Not a life

A lie

I’ll not alight

I live alive

A love I live

I love our light

Alright

a/e

If I listen, must I blindly adhere?
If I look, must I pretend to see?
You and I both pray on my fear
As the “a”  starts to look like and “e”

Naysayers

Through the eyes of Isla, we see that Isla view
And when we see as Isla sees, there’s more for us to do
The life of teenage lovers who love untill life is done
Namaste in bed all day. We see that we are one

I can change your heart
You can change my mind
I know just where to start
Who knows just what we’ll find

All you naysayers sound like horses
We’ll be more than fine
I’ve got a long roll of tape
for the mouths of equine
This message is mine
Stars, we must shine
All you naysayers sound like horses

The perfect little scar lines paint memories in skin
These bruises mother uses to teach us where to begin
Nurses say go slowly. But we’re peeling off the plaster casts
It’s time to run. Yeah, let’s have fun. Who knows how long this life will last

I can change your heart
You can change my mind
I know just where to start
Who knows just what we’ll find

All you naysayers sound like horses
We’ll be more than fine
I’ve got a long roll of tape
for the mouths of equine
This message is mine
Stars, we must shine
All you naysayers sound like horses

Memory Lane: Lauralan Dr

The street is called Lauralan Dr, but my memories preceed memories of the street. The very end of the street is covered over with brush. The road just before this is dirt, patchy with many potholes. It hurts to walk on it. but there, in the middle of this space of road is..
Nap-time at daycare –
Me: I can’t sleep.
Adult: You at least need to try.
Me: I’m not tired.
Adult: Then lay down and pretend to sleep.
Me (Out within seconds)
Further up the road…
Recess –
My grandfather’s magnifying glass. A pyramid-shaped handle connecting off-centered to a metal frame which wrapped a rectangular lens. Burning leaves with sunlight by holding the magnifying glass at the right angle and distance. A cloudy day – no sun – nothing to do. Twist the handle off. The frame comes apart and the lens comes out. Don’t break it. It is valuable. It is a relic left from the life of a person who could not leave new ones. I don’t want to or feel unable to play with my peers. I liked to draw. But I have no paper out here. Drawing future cities. At Granny’s house. There is a TV show about drawing. The man who hosts the show is always drawing these incredible futuristic cities. Drawing gets me praise. I am smarter than other kids. My answer to “What will you be when you grow up?” is “Architect”. I’m told this will mean I can draw for a job. My grandparents love me – my mother’s parents and my father’s mother. I don’t remember father’s father, but I pray to him. In a way, I ask God to hand over the spiritual phone and God does. I believe my grandfather looks over us and I have conversations with him, imagining his side of the conversations. I recognize the fact that I am different as an inescapable truth. It is a part of being me. My family loves me. This is all I need.

I can draw a map to Lauralan Dr, but this road is no longer home. The only place this road, the road detailed ever so slightly above still exists is in its incomplete state in my head.

 

Response to Street Lit Writing Prompt (06.16.18)

The last person with whom I spoke was a friend in Street Lit. He was asking for clarification on this writing prompt.  The last person who really spoke to me was Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” “But how do we go about empowering love?”, I ask through a wormhole. I’ve yet to receive a response. But I’m looking. I have to keep looking. I’ve always tried to be the change I want to see in the world, trying to spread love, making the world better in my own small way. But damn it, I want to make the world better in a big way. I think we need it.