SPARKS FOR A WILDFIRE

Emblazoned, contemptuous, and enraged. The burning anger ignites like sparks for a wildfire. The yelling has stopped—I’ve even driven away, but the red in my cheeks couldn’t be more real. The pulse of bitter sadness and the beat of primal depression brush the needle edge of my consciousness, emboldening the fiery demon within to rear his ugly face; to take flight against friend and foe alike.

Of course, they’ll never see it. The waitress, the passersby. Friends and family, whores and ladies in kind. They all see the practiced mask of smiles, well worn by now, like a familiar pair of shoes. The unexpected cries of children, or the sudden guzzling of a motorcycle are the only moments where my armor cracks.

And yet, even now, they fade away. The fryers, the bustle of children, the lights and sounds and spirits all grow distant to the darkness inside my mind…

Is this why people shoot up schools?

The haunting image of my own tattered self lies dead before me. He’s gruff, bearded, and dirty, like the homeless man I saw off the freeway tonight. His jeans are shredded—not as a Hollister model’s, but as one lost, so worn dry that his bones stand out against his sunken skin, and the depths of his eyes hold an empty black void. A void filled with the same horror that lies within a black hole. His curly hair lies in shambles, down along his shoulder line, and his once proud, fat fingers are stretched boney and pale.

Of course, he is me, and I am him. I sit appalled, as this slump of a dead man sits across from me, his body listing weakly against the red and white diner booth. At once, I am filled with both disgust and jealousy. To die such a lonely, pathetic death.

And yet, to be freed from the world of lies, of pains, and of false smiles. I shift uncomfortably as the envy in me tries to win out. I think it will.

The hours have passed by. The heat of my anger has given way to the frost of my heart. Not the ice I instill on others. I cross my t’s and dot my i’s. I smile, and play along. But the frost bitten feeling within the carcass I inhabit. The chill I feel with each morning’s rise, and each evening’s fall. A familiar sting; one that I’ve made my own. But it is uncomfortable, nonetheless.

The limp returns. A phantom, not unlike my happiness, yet it seeps in to my life in ways the smiles don’t. It’s like an old friend come calling, sapping the life from me. He’s back again to tug at my will, to push me to give in; to bend me till I break.

Remind me again the need for faith and fitness, when we all will be buried in dirt just the same? Or burned, if we are lucky. Turned to trinkets our families can treasure for years to come.

My hand drifts absent-mindedly to my chest, adorned with my golden necklace.

Pages gone, scribbles, failed lines, cliché poems, broken stanzas; a myriad of simile and metaphor, and I am spent. Like the last dollar the single mother-stripper scrapes off the dance floor—too ashamed by the house lights to pick her head up. She fears the sting of her children’s stares.

Spent like the poor aching man, working two empty jobs so that his mother, wife, and children all have food on the table—though he himself is too weary to lift the spoon to his mouth.

Spent like the hearty teenage couple, after their first grip of ecstasy, when the reality sets in that the condom was broken.

Spent like the dimes clattering in the grizzled street musician’s guitar box. The hoots and hollers of drunkards make him wonder what good those years at Julliard did.

Spent like Dante, and Chaucer, and Shakespeare, whose pens all live despite their death. Yet we know not the men they were, just the pages they have left behind.

Pages, like the ones I’ve left you.

——

 

Hello there!

 

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A quick closing note. They say writing is an extension of self, and this is in no way inapplicable to this piece of work. However, you, the reader, should also recognize that this is a fragment of the emotions we all feel, which I have tried to capture as truly as I can. It does not reflect the day to day world I live in, or the feeling I am necessarily experiences at the time you read this. I could be at Disneyland for all you know! (Ok I mean I’m not but you get my point). Anyways, enjoy this, see the value it holds, and see what you can pull from it for your own well being. 🙂

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UNDERSTANDING DONALD TRUMP

Hello everyone,

 

For the most part, I like to avoid politics, not because it isn’t of value or importance to society, but because the reality of our nation is that the federal government is so broad spread, there is very little impact in day to day life caused by it, and because I am a pretty good person, I don’t typically have to worry about restrictions by law. Sure, I know my positions on most aspects of politics, but I’m not really the type of person to go out and promote someone. I sense I share this position with a lot of people.

But unfortunately, Donald Trump has caused me to throw a lot of that out the window because he’s just so…awful. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being conservative. I mean, I probably disagree with your positions, but being conservative doesn’t inherently make you a bad person. It just means you are cognizant of potential issues with progress. Sometimes this is bad, and sometimes it is good.

Donald Trump, however, makes things frightening, because, as he showed recently, he is willing to threaten people to get his way. I’m speaking, of course, about the reference Trump made to “Second Amendment People” and Hilary Clinton. The inference made between the two were that the people with guns could do something about Hilary—I.E., kill her. Sound scary if he were serious? It should. Start eliminating political opponents and suddenly things are no longer a democracy.

Now, Trump came forward and said that he was joking, and maybe he was. But the problem with this is that his joke still impacts people. As I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw a tweet that responded to this, which said that every joke is centered in a truth to some extent. If that were the case, then in some way Trump actually does want Hilary dead. It certainly would be backed up by his track record of horrible statements. Personally though, I think it doesn’t matter if he is joking or not. He could be being entirely sarcastic and really have no issue with Hilary and still it would be wrong to joke about this, because there is a portion of his audience, I have no idea how large or small they are, that will actually think that he’s totally correct, and even worse, there are some that will actually try it.

Either Trump knows this, in which case his “joke” is manipulating the public in order to further bend them to his will, or he doesn’t know the impact of his words, in which case he is not fit to be the president. If you ask my opinion (which, given that you are still reading this, implies that you are), Trump is manipulating people. He’s been doing it his whole life. He’s manipulated the world to think he’s the business Kingpin, he’s manipulated the Republican party to think that he’s capable of solving problems that their normal politicians can’t, and he’s manipulated American’s into thinking that there are problems that do not exist. It’s wrong, but it’s worked. It’s time to wake up and take steps to prevent his continuation.

I’M LOOKING FOR MY FRIEND

I’m looking for my friend,

Have you seen him?

He’s big and tall and quiet.

And he smiles great big smiles.

 

I’m looking for my friend,

Have you seen him?

He’s strong and kind and happy.

And he has a belly full of laughter.

 

I’m looking for my friend,

Have you seen him?

He’s smart and friendly and warm.

And he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

 

I’m looking for my friend,

Have you seen him?

He was shot dead this past week

By overzealous men with overzealous bullets.

 

I’ve lost my friend,

Did you see him?

He was just trying to make his way in the world

Gunned down under the false flag of American justice.

 

Hello everyone,

In response to the recent tragedy in Dallas as well as the shooting of Alton Sterling, I made this poem. I hope it brings some solace to those in need. Let me know what you think.

HOT BUTTON ISSUES

Hey everyone,

 

Let’s talk politics real quick. I don’t want to get into candidate positions too much if I can avoid it, but the political agenda is an aspect of American society that ebbs and flows. By ebbs and flows, I mean that it shifts from idea to idea, but stays relatively the same over time.

The three hot button issues I can think of are abortion, gun control, and discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. This current political year has added wealth inequality as a major subject, but as we turn toward the general election we see that the reality is that that shift has been put off a bit. Seriously, ever since Hilary clinched the Democratic nomination (or as Bernie supporters will point out, “clinched” due to voter fraud, which is a wholly different conversation). Suddenly the wealth conversation has been put on the back burner. Certainly, this is partially due to the Orlando shooting, but we shouldn’t let one tragedy cloud all our priorities.

So why are those three issues recursive? Well, mostly because it’s a split between strict and loose interpretations of things. By strict I mean black and white points of view—things are this way and not this way, etc. This problem has been emphasized by certain orange candidates lately with the immigration of Muslims, which speaks to the larger discussion about racial inequality. Of course, this issue is multi fold, so this gross oversimplification is an example of faulty logic, but hey, many people aren’t willing to look at the world that closely.

Strict and loose are usually synonymous with conservative and liberal, respectively, and the reason we return to these issues is that they are points that are highly contested. For whatever reason, the vast levels of wealth inequality which effect both groups is kept silent often. Which to me indicates that it is the real problem. Certainly, injustices by gun control, abortion/women’s rights, and discrimination (all of which can be interpreted in multiple ways, depending on how you lean in the political spectrum), are all important, but they really are symptoms of a greater problem—mistreatment. If we all felt more content with life, we wouldn’t feel the need to lash out, or attack our enemies. Now, that’s a utopian world view, that everyone could be happy, but in assuming it is utopian and therefore impossible, we negate the idea that a greater portion of people could be happier.

I think the idea of democratic socialism is something people are afraid of because all they here is “the end of America” as opposed to “how to make people live better lives.” Which is a lazy view, and if this is your perspective I indulge you to actually look at the implementation of socialism in other countries, and see how much happier and more prosperous their average citizen is in comparison to the American average, our “standard” if you like. Not the white media standard, but the real standard. The whole idea of socialism is to make more people happy, or at least happier. Because when people feel content, they don’t feel the same need to lash out. Sure, some times things aren’t always good—a person cheats on you, you got in a fight with your parents, and so on. But at least you don’t have to worry about not having the money to feed your children, or choose between raising a newborn and making the rent payment.

I’m not sure how I got to socialism…Oh yeah! Hot button issues. See, these are issues that have been recurring in the political spectrum for decades. And not that much has changed in reality. Sure, we have made big strides with homosexual equality, but gays still get denied cakes for weddings. And maybe it’s just morally obscure people, but I think that we are just not content. Rather than embrace one another, we push those who don’t match who we are exactly to the side.

LIBERTY VS. SECURITY

Hello everyone,

 

I have returned for another exciting adventure! Yesterday we had a chat about the lack of importance of guns in society, and I briefly touched on the intrinsic battle between concepts of liberty and security. On the off chance someone doesn’t know what these are, I’ll briefly explain them (plus it adds exposition, which makes the blog sound more professional). Liberty, as I will be using it, effectively means that anyone can have access to something. It’s typically the applications of freedoms to various things. For example, the freedom to speak freely is a liberty we exercise constantly. To contrast this, security is the protection from something. Typically, more security requires the sacrifice of liberty, which is where we reach a hierarchy of values.

Most conflict in life is established by a hierarchy of values. When two values are in opposition, the hierarchy helps to resolve this. One easy example of this is in the Bible, as many modern Christians have interpreted it. The idea that all life is sacred is on value, which is part of why there is such a strong debate over abortion. On the other side, the idea of being gay is often condemned by Bible thumpers, which typically leads to a conflict of interest. Life is sacred, except for the gays. Between liberty and security, we often cite ideas of privacy as a reason to avoid losing security. Take the fairly recent suit between Apple and the FBI, in which Apple was told to make a “back door” encryption key so as to get into the San Bernardino shooter’s cell phone.

For the most part, I think people sided with liberty here—the idea that, while we may have been able to get more information valuable to the security of the state out of this phone, the potential for infringement on human rights and privacy was too great a loss for people. In this case, liberty was more valuable to our country. On the other hand, after 9/11, we lost some amount of liberty in order to maintain security over airplanes. Given the physical damage that could be done with a plane, this makes some amount of sense, right?

So I think the big issue today with guns is another fight between these two values, and the reality is that our security is worth the loss in liberty here. Despite all the gun toting, and the occasional random savior, we finished 2015 with more shootings than days in the year. We are on track to perform a similar feat this year. I know it might seem scary, but think about it. Why don’t we give hand grenades to civilians? Because they’re dangerous, easy to conceal (like many legal guns are), and can kill a lot of people in a short period of time. The only reason we even have a discussion about guns is because we have an amendment that has been skewed by the NRA to promote the purchase of guns. That’s not an American way to do things. Or even if it sounds like one in some sick, twisted way, it certainly isn’t a moral way to do things. The security of peaceful citizens outweighs the need for guns among those who are paranoid about their well being.

DROP YOUR WEAPONS

Hello everyone,

 

Back to that Monday grind I see. What did you guys think of creative week? It was pretty fun for me, so I may continue with more creative works in the future. But of course, with a week off more dense subject matter, I have been chomping at the bit to talk about some theoretical stuff. I think I would like to discuss aspects of the Orlando shooting that I left out, or feel like I haven’t discussed fully.

The reality is that there are two sides to the discussion that erupted out of this horrible event. Either we all need to be armed or we need stricter limitations on who is using guns. In reality there are valid arguments on both sides. It IS significantly easier to defend yourself from someone with a gun if you have a gun as well, right? And while I don’t think this logic is faulty by any means, I think that it misses the problem—ironic since the people toting this position probably claim to be such great shots.

To get to the actual point, I want to say that I am wholly anti-gun. I think that we don’t need them at all. Sure, they’re supposed to be used for defense against a tyrannical government, but the same people defending this right the bear arms are also the people voting for a guy that acts like a dictator. Some people just want to watch the world burn. Anyways, before I go off on a rant about political parties, the reality is that, because guns are apparently something American’s really desire to have, it is important to not listen solely to the NRA’s rhetoric that the Second Amendment is solely about the right to bear arms. It does have a fairly strict qualifier of a “well regulated militia.” Speaking that the NRA has not been explicit in the assistance of the formation of this militia, or, more importantly, the regulation of it, I think most gun owners are already outside the restrictions and limitations of the Second Amendment.

We have restrictions put on who can drive and who can fly because cars and planes can cause a lot of damage when put into the wrong hands. Even if those wrong hands are just kids too ignorant of their actions to realize the damage they are doing. By early May we already had 23 toddler deaths that were caused due to neglectful behaviors on the behalf of gun owners. And I know gun owners love the “well we don’t punish everyone when someone is caught drunk driving” argument. But we do—we have cracked down on DUIs, we have checkpoints where traffic is stopped to verify people are driving safely, and we have to deal with god awful looking signs that read “buzzed driving is drunk driving,” in addition to school demonstrations and more. And yet in many ways it is easier to obtain a gun than a car. And with a car it is quite a bit harder to kill 50 people than with a semi automatic gun. So the reality is that the world is safer with a gun ban.

I am constantly reminded of a discussion I had with a good friend while on a trip to Oakland. I come from a small town, with a very, very liberal mindset. Even then, my family is very peace oriented, so I was niave to the idea that having my hands in my pockets can apparently look like you’re “packing heat.” My friend pointed this out to me, and told me to take my hands out of my pockets because it make people more likely to be aggressive. They think “man, I better shoot this guy before he shoots me.” Which is fair, there are a lot of crazy people out there, and I am not surprised that someone would get paranoid. Especially in an area as known for criminal activity as Oakland.

So to make an extension of this, while a ban on guns would not end criminal activity, it would end the mass murder sprees that seem to happen monthly nowadays. And even if guns are acquired illegally, it would at least A) raise the price of the weapons on the black market, forcing some of these people to not be able to afford it. It’s a lot harder to shoot someone when it costs a small fortune to do. B) is that it would make the back door kind of dealings a lot more dangerous. We talk about how law enforcement needs to do a better job at cleaning up the streets. Well make the streets a place where guns cannot just easily be passed out and sold. Force the vendors of these weapons to open an establishment. This will reduce the number of people selling out of the back of their truck, which is good for everyone.

I know that it’s somewhat scary to put faith in a government that has routinely let people down. But a government isn’t perfect. They are just doing their best with what resources they have. And while that is by no means ideal, it is what we are most proud of in our country—that we were able to rise out of the monarchies of the world to a democracy. Trust that the government isn’t out to kill you or take over your world. Then think about lowering your weapons, because if you constantly point the gun at the people around you, eventually one of them is going to take a shot at you.

THE SILENCE

Like the break between rainfalls,

Or the calm before the storm,

We brought the silence.

 

Like those moment between breaths,

Or the fear of the dark,

We brought the silence.

 

Like the creak of an empty home,

Or the rage of a kind man,

We brought the silence.
Like the seconds before an earthquake,

Or the fury of a wave,

We brought the silence.

 

And now that it is here,

Imprisoned by terror and depression,

We wish we had never brought the silence.

 

Hello everyone,

I was thinking about the events of the Orlando Shooting, and the microseconds between bullets being fired and the death of their targets, or the minutes of quiet after the shooting stopped and people finally bled out, and this is what came out of it. Let me know what you think.