The cold beautifying the leaves and blowing them to tumble off their branches towards the frosted ground, inverse of white knuckles releasing for the rush of returning blood. Cozy beginnings snuggle up with the pirouette of reds and yellows swirling in and out of their fellow dancers, and how it takes our minds away from the end of sunshine and freedom with a lift of spirits. How it helps the euphoria blind the average eyes while the misery is swapped in to a place they’d taken for granted, and even then, the moment of releasing their fingers and letting the ridges of their knuckles sink back comes naturally. Holding as tight as they can even if the nails break the skin or the bones threaten to snap, until the eternity wraps up in a second and the next arrives instantaneously. Both endings on faces of a coin; beginnings just a prosperous turn away.
My parents were arsonists whose touch was just as searing and viral as the lick of a flame.
Watching the flames consume the house I want to live in for as long as possible, have children in and call home until I’m carried away to be buried, I wonder why I never learned from them. All of the rooms are empty while all of their contents are cinders, and with knees to my chest and my arms around them I can say that I’ve never felt more alone.
Every time I’ve worked myself back up I’ve discovered, when their skin blisters and the demeanor cools in an attempt to compensate, that I’ve just been fanning the flames and standing even taller in a pillar of fire.
So, sitting here contained, where I can’t bring shame or disrupt anything, is what’s become of me: the scourge of the forest and the pin out of the grenade.
It was a woman and her seven companions, most she didn’t know, traveling with departed hearts. She knew they must all feel the rumble and bumps while they made their way there and tried to re-dress herself in their skin. It didn’t come naturally but her threatening stomach gave her little chance to return to her own nerves and anxious simmering, and so she tugged, tugged, and tugged gravely until her heel was snug in their shoes.
She was darker in complexion now with shoulders free of draping hair, and looked out the window to her right instead of left. The bumps were the same as was the moving all around her, and in spite of herself she only had eyes for the girl a little ahead on her left: seated with apprehension and her head a surveying camera in search of something it clearly wasn’t finding out the window.
The back of her rusting raid hair oxidizing in to brown was not the new perspective she had hoped for. Unusually feeling her arms as she had never before, she struggled to wrangle control over her body. Her elbows and shoulders hurt and triggered more pain in to her wrists, and she could feel her heart squeeze irregularly cutting her breath short. There was no ignoring it now, though she wished she could, and closed her eyes to put the stress-triggered reactions in focus. It all rushed at her like blood to the head as her eyelids cut everything to dark, but she drew in a long breath, insuring it push her stomach out, and held it there until the screams in her head, heart, and arms subsided some. With a slight part of her lips she released every last bit of air until her lungs were empty, and then she could repeat the process once more. She did this until a calm accompanied her, and it was then and only then that she returned to the lit world around her.
Her face felt tired, as did her arms, but in the way that resting legs do after they’ve run. The pattern of the seat ahead of her was of a little more interest than it had been prior, and this was the time to remind herself that she was going to arrive no matter what. The best action she could take was to make sure it was her steadiest self that was there for the arrival.
The grass isn’t like any other when it’s a permafrost by the water but it’s where my fire is. It’s temporary warmth to go with how hard I’m bundled up against the ice needles of the wind; off in the distance are the mountains just past the pond and the sky that goes on after.
I’ll pour my coffee, smell the richness of its out-of-place breath, and know where I belong: far away and on my own without needing anything else.
Out the fire goes when the time go arrives.
When it was locked up and secured for the day it was unknowing what unlocking it would be like.
Dusk, with its pink and silver like pearls lighting the dance of buzzing insects by the cloud-fulls, awaits me. I unlock my ride to discover that it has decided it will remain in one piece from now on, which is fine, and I adjust quickly to the new fact that I will save a minute or two on my journeys. My bike will no longer kneel but stand up-right while it waits for me.
While that development certainly changed the order of things, it was not until I covered my eyes in my normal protection from the sun’s light that I’m alerted to the kind of ride I’ll be taking home. The night around me reveals little except faint outlines and blurs of the others moving in the dark. With this new reality facing me I knew I needed to make the journey without my sunglasses: inappropriate without sunlight to shield me from. To this weight a counter was put on the scale: the wind of the night was blinding. Unless I decided to slow down and draw-out the trek home my eyes would face watering and simultaneous drying-out as I propelled forward. While in line, a fraction of the size of the rusting, steel monsters in my company, I decided to gamble on low-visibility instead of dealing with the blowing of the wind rising to match the spinning of my pedals.
Off I follow the familiar path home without the familiar comfort I’ve grown to know. I feel myself fumbling through my own apartment in the dark except with wider spaces and enough of an understanding that the red eyes moving beside me, as if I’m a tiny dog walking next to the stanchion legs of the horses passing, are serious dangers. I’m somehow more relaxed as my legs put the wind in to the pinwheels of my pedals while also married to the notion that I must be more alert than ever through the drunken slits of my underwater eyes. It’s liberating and empowering with a thoughtless concentration that lights a candle in my soul; a singular point of focus to block out all the other distracting stimulation.
Along the water, my dear water, a different tint but beautiful in the extraordinary light, I peddle without a struggle or slowing down. I know when someone is coming or I’m coming up to them by the blurs moving just out of sight, and by looking aside the peripheral of my eye traces an outline of them. I swerve precisely around them swiftly and continue with an extra push of forceful speed, while somewhere early on I felt the benefit of my fault with each impact of flying insects: their territory I’ve invaded. Without a single strand actually landing I bolt through to the feeling of spider-webs sticking to my face, and instead it’s the line of them colliding in space with the rocket of my projectile face. Now and again I think I feel the ping of mini-bites as they steadfastly fasten to my face like expeditioners entrapped on the egregious escarpment of my forehead. I wipe them away while my tires close the distance to the awaiting mouth of the garage door.
Home marks the end of the journey. I felt like I was flying like a gliding duck just inches above the water and so arrival is mixed. I’ll take the letdown if I’m giving their word that this isn’t the last time. I don’t know who “they” are or what say they have in the matter but I’m going to meet them out there again at a dusk coming soon.
“Why does he think playing basketball makes him Malcom X?”
I saw these words written in response to Lebron James’ comments towards Donald Trump last week and a few thoughts came to mind:
- Why can’t an African-American speak about something without having their “qualifications” questioned in return?
- Piggy-backing off of the previous point: why does an African-American have to either be silently minding their own business or Martin Luther King Jr./ Malcom X/etc.?
- Why should an athlete’s opinion matter any less than another person’s when there is constant reinforcement about how every person’s opinions matter in a democracy? Especially when the current president was a celebrity without any political qualifications himself just a few short years ago?
The recent mainstream resurgence of white supremacy has been thinly veiled behind the idea that white people are being discriminated and hated for the color of their skin, but you absolutely take out the legs of that argument when the opinions and motives of anyone who is not white are unprotected and warped without even a modicum of fair consideration.
The easiest example of this is the kneeling during the national anthem protest that has been happening in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick first took a knee to garner attention towards “many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system.”- Eric Reid,. So much has been said about whether this is respectful or disrespectful to the point where the conversation isn’t even about what their protesting. There’s a saying: if you don’t like what’s being said change the conversation. This is exactly what has happened here. Yes, it’s irregular to kneel when you should stand for the national anthem and that’s the point. If protesters get in the way of street traffic it’s not because they hate cars or people getting to work on time, it’s because it causes an inconvenience and disrupts the normal-everyday that gathers all the wrong and hides it behind just how O.K. and smooth normal life is for the average person.
But no, the narrative was changed and became about all a manner of different things from disrespecting veterans, the country, the flag, etc. No one against Colin, and now a large number of players, kneeling addressed or said a damn thing about the dialogue he was trying to create. Instead Colin Kaepernick was fired, and the NFL has been in its own civil war ever since between owners, players, and even the president himself.
Why could this not have become a discussion about the race issues that African-Americans? Why can’t Lebron James, a man who is heralded as the best in his sport and someone that is held responsible with positively influencing thousands, if not million, of people looking up to him, choose not to support or encourage a reckless president without having his intelligence questioned?
If it’s not about race then I don’t know what it’s about, because it certainly isn’t about a man who has been praised for his mental capacity and “the almost curious power of his mind” , or about a group of people defending veterans and military families while the republican party does little to show them their actual support.   
Some evil creature laid, or perhaps forcefully smashed, an egg in to my lower back. The pain was debilitating from the very second it pounded snuggly in to in the left-hand side like a meteor, and the immediacy of it had me second guessing if I had always been in pain and simply forgotten? We were suddenly mid-conversation without an approaching figure in the distance or a greeting at the door.
The yolk spilled down in to the depth of my hip to then drizzle drops of acid on to the taut steel cables of my muscles and bands. The erosion cancels any plans of subtle resistance in letting anyone else in on what’s happening: I’m hunched and hobbling like a mad scientist’s assistant when not clenching my jaw and fists. After a day of keeping most of the pain’s layers underground they break the concrete in the night: pretending my legs has been torn apart when it’s really intact but reminding me just how many parts there are to tear in to with pain. It’s the lullaby in to sleep and the trumpets that shake me awake only an hour later in harmony with the sounds of my own muffled and spiteful chorus of pain.
When the night is done I’ll take the ginger steps to settle how upset me leg, hip, and back have become: hopefully loosening everything up enough to allow some space for everything to stretch themselves out and relax. The storm has only just landed and riding it out is all there is to do.