Archive for the ‘Kind of true’ Category

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Absolution

April 19, 2017

Can we be saved? How easy would it be to walk up the steps and lower ourselves into the pool? How easy would it be to sink our heads below the surface of an ever-flowing river of sanity?

But if we do not accept absolution soon, if we do not wash away the sins of our choices, it will be too late. Our nation is a piece of paper that starts on top of the water, slowly taking on volume, the words blurring, then dissolving to nothingness.

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Losses

April 15, 2017

From the BART windows, passing through West Oakland, I spotted a man sitting outside an RV in a trash-filled yard, a set of empty deck chairs around a glass table, forty retired dusty mailboxes lined up in the corner of the post office’s back lot.

If everything goes wrong, most people might not miss these things. But I will ache for the liquor store at the intersection of 7th and Center, for the rumbling line of trucks awaiting containers of cargo at the port, for the multi-colored loops of tags on the wood siding of houses glimpsed from above.

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The wall between us

April 11, 2017

There might be places where one can slip back and forth from Mexico like a jackrabbit in the desert. There might be letters about eminent domain arriving in poorly located mailboxes. But here, in America, we long ago built gerrymandered walls between the ones who think we’re getting greater, and those who gnash their teeth at our demise.

Far from any boundary, I walk past a car bumper decorated with a particular sticker. The barrier between us is so real, I could put up my hand and feel the cold steel of it along the curb between us.

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The chance to cross paths

April 10, 2017

At the play for preschoolers, another mother and I commented throughout, giggled at our children’s behavior, shook hands at the end, introduced ourselves last, as if we needed to go through all the rest before we moved beyond the label proscribed by birthing.

I murmured her name again and again on the way to the car, defying my exhaustion-addled memory, committing it so I might retrieve it if I see her next season.

And yet, in the car, I remembered the weekend’s news. I wondered if we’d have the chance to cross paths again before everything goes to hell.

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Improvisation

April 8, 2017

In jazz, improvisation weaves the pluck of the bass to the scat of the saxophone, off-time chords riffed along the piano, the hiss of the brush on the high hat. The music spins up something magic, glistening, beautiful.

Some leaders can improvise equally magical strategy, spinning diplomacy like silk. But when leaders are simply unpredictable, decisions become cacophony, actions become noise. There is no artistry in change for change’s sake.

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The upward trajectory

April 7, 2017

The missiles launch with a pop and a hiss, like fireworks at the ballpark, like a bottle of champagne opening at a party. They arc skyward, lighting up the American flag as they pass, then disappearing off into the distance like bright, hot birds.

These days, the Navy posts videos to YouTube, one-sided excerpts of the execution of a plan hatched in a dark, screenlit room. We only see the upward trajectory, the positive flight. No one films the landing, the damage, the last breaths of the recipients of this particular message.

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The wasp

April 5, 2017

At the bottom of the hill, a wasp skittered across my windshield. In the carseat over my shoulder, my son muttered about a train, but his voice slowed as the legs of the wasp touched glass, one foot, then another, then another. Its stinger undulated as it crossed from right to left, and I held my breath though I knew all my windows were rolled up tightly.

The wasp bounced off my driver’s side window, then careened off into the world, where it might threaten someone, or it might not. Inside the car, we remained safe, privileged, behind glass.