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apocalypse Archives - Amanda SledzAmanda Sledz

12
Sep 13

The Falls Apart, or a Case for Hope

Headlines are murder to my eyes. Today’s reading allowed me to learn than the top 1% of the country now controls 40% of the America’s wealth – the highest percentage since 1927. These people send peasants in RVs to Burning Man ahead of them to establish elaborate camps they can parachute into, wearing the standard uniform of fuzzy legwarmers and cowboy hat and clip-in dreds for one-week of alt-culture tourism. The art they observe is also crafted by peasants who crowd-source funding to make the models they photograph and climb on happen for the adoring star-struck masses. This art is photographed by people holding Apple-emblazoned products envisioned into hand-held existence by a tyrannical man, and produced in factories so heinous that suicide is the only retirement plan.

Many Americans shed one-third of their bi-weekly income to taxes. They argue viciously against socialized medicine and government funded higher education, without realizing that they pay the same tax rate as most Canadians with none of the benefits. Medical care is either unavailable or discouraging of preventative medicine, resulting in Americans having the shortest life expectancy of any westernized nation. 36% of recent college graduates currently live with their parents, and cannot comprehend both eliminating student debt and paying a monthly rent. This is when they can get paid employment at all.

One percent of the country, those folks with the ability to take private fuel-wasting jets to exotic locations with tiny dogs trapped in purses, pay 35% income tax at most, and reduce the burden of this with a slew of deductions pushed through again and again by the wealthy politicians that defend the interests of their wealthy friends. They thank us for our labor by squabbling over the salaries of teachers, keeping the minimum wage a pittance, making bankruptcy laws more complicated while bailing out banks, failing to comprehend student loan forgiveness but allowing white collar criminals to walk, and considering the exposure of funds stashed in international locations a breech of privacy while having nothing to say about what Snowden sacrificed to expose how 1984 our world truly is.

Racism and sexism and anti-gay wackery and all its bullying offspring are all alive and well, and often captured on Youtube for international astonishment and horror that celebration of terrible exploits trumps desire to enter adulthood without jail time. Organized media outlets pay more attention to a legal-aged starlet gyrating on stage and singing about molly than they do young women still forced to grapple with virgin-whore dichotomies useless to modern society, and black women used as stage props for wealthy people unable to reinvent themselves unless it happens on-stage and thoughtless. Despite the disappointment expressed by parents about someone supposedly once a role model for young people, many would testify that they never saw themselves in the perfect skin and teeth and predictable hair colors of any of Disney’s darlings, and therefore emerge from the non-scandal gif-happy and undamaged. Young people who want to see themselves are better suited to Canadian television anyway, where the transgendered, queer, bi-racial, cancer-stricken, stoned, and gun-totting reality of the waking world happens on your pimpled prickled face, whether you ace the SATs or not.

Back in the world of guns and ammo and soldiers that aren’t supported during or after service, we’re prepping for an unsupported and unpopular war with a country most Americans can’t locate on a map, supposedly to defend citizens sadly murdered by chemical weapons. Our leaders seem downright annoyed by anything that slows bomb drop, and international news outlets can’t isolate a villain since we so loudly stormed the castle before facts were readily available for dissection, with a mission to solve killing people by killing more people more swiftly and brutally that their last best efforts. That’ll teach em.

Sometimes I fantasize about what would have happened if we’d made it all the way through WWII without dropping the Atomic bomb. Maybe we could have spared ourselves becoming the world’s hypocritical high-powered policeman in favor of actually developing our country and supporting art, the environment, and education. Instead we continue on as the final scene of Dr. Strangelove, a cowboy straddling a bomb like a bronco as it sails downward on the winds of mixed information and haste.

And honestly, I can’t even write about the environment at this point, as even the word threatens to squeeze the lump in my throat to cancerous proportions. Between the radioactive waste and oil regularly dumped into the ocean, to fracking, to the oil executives and big oil supported scientists that continue to deny climate change, to the few cities that can’t get their shit together enough to have a recycling program (the most basic of environmental efforts), to the dwindling rain forests and reefs…I just can’t. It makes my outsides cave into my insides to consider that there are still so many that can’t clock in to the simple fact that we share a common pulse.

So why do I feel such an unprecedented sense of hope and joy?

As the financial world becomes more and more depressing for all of us without a financial world to speak of, what we truly do with our time becomes more interesting. While I recently read that broke people have less time for creativity, on account of being overly preoccupied with said brokeness, I’ve found that acknowledging its potential to eat away at your time pops the bubble and allows that dormant creativity to resurface. The broke world is populated by eccentric artists, dedicated bloggers, activists, musicians, self-styled pirates, and comedy gold. Absence of easy-buy solutions leads to things that are pop-up and brightly painted and salvaged and re-purposed and spit-polished into shine. It’s a challenge that pushes the brain beyond immediate convenience and into daydream, where many of us are better equipped to pilot anyway.

Maybe it’s because, as someone who once volunteered as a sexual assault survivor advocate, I know that rapes in all hideous forms have been happening since the dawn of man, but this is the first time in my lifetime they’ve been widely reported and loudly condemned as heinous by all but the most out of touch CNN reporters. Headlines from India happen alongside our own, making sexual assault an international issue of shared outrage and demands for change, and bold women like India’s Red Brigade taking to the streets to defend their own while the slow wheels of justice finally begin to turn in their favor.  Sure, advertisers continue to objectify women to sell body spray and bad music, and this will likely continue until well after I’ve taken my permanent dirt nap, but dammit if there isn’t a loud, articulate opposition finally assuming center stage and forcing the uncertain hands of prosecutors still hesitant to paddle the powdered bottoms our fortunate sons.

Internet activism is often a mix of the serious and the hilarious, and can be a terrifying hammer capable of shutting down the sites of big banks and disrupting Amazon sales with tech savvy anonymity and aggression. It’s an unscripted and masked mass of millions that’s been sorely needed for too long, and the inability to pinpoint a single voice to silence makes the collective roar ever louder.

Cities throughout the country are choosing to take a turn for the green, from Detroit tearing down deserted neighborhoods and turning them into large community gardens, to the addition of bike lanes and vast recycling and compost programs in places as traditionally conservative as Columbus, Ohio. Many folks moved to radical outposts like New York, Portland, and San Francisco to get away from the stranglehold pillage-the-village sorts had on Midwest communities, and as that grip loosens the mood of the country changes to one that values local farmers, big trees, and clean water, and favors change over fostering a world built on a vision that was never responsible or sustainable in the first place.

There’s also the exciting return to a craft-based economy, after years of relying on employers to doll out cookies and raises and actually treat individuals like human beings instead of cogs in the machine. Even brief perusal of outposts like Etsy makes it easy to see what people are doing as alternatives to day jobs — and this sort of things was barely possible just twenty years ago.

The Falls Apart, a young adult story I’ve been working on for a long, long time, is about a group that exists to witness and record an end. Our end has been snowballing from ball to boulder since 9-11, a day when many Americans awoke to join the rest of the world in feeling anxiety and uncertainty towards the tools of our destruction. It was, quite literally, our Tower card.  I feel very much a Falls Apart, and that it’s a cause for celebration, not depression. It’s something that will allow us to understand both our privileges and the ways in which we needlessly suffer, and how to cultivate joy in the midst of such challenges. Each headline I read that pains me and seems to hasten this end inevitably also brings joy, as we grow ever closer to the kind of break that brings great revolution and enlightenment. The next birth will be as painful as the last, but it is, and will be, change.

In 2014 I plan to take to the rails and roads and hit up as many festivals and celebrations of expression as my personal economy allows. There are so many people producing outrageous creative exclamations that it would be a shame to not record these, and the way they reflect everything happening in the world and the impact on everyday people. This creativity also reflects the early stages of great new things, a physical representation of prayer and great hope that the coming Star will be a brilliant one.

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20
Dec 12

Generation Immobilization

The bitter old woman in me

This afternoon I broke from a sweat-soaked dream of fighting bears and garden snakes circling my ankles, to thoughts of self-destruction strangling voices from my slow-moving generation of internet thinkers and human-interaction dodgers. Friends and colleagues endlessly struggling with project completion and personal progression, understanding of self as independent entity and self connected to greater whole. Friends and colleagues struggling with an understanding of self, as they hamster wheel into obscurity.

As the most thriving parasite on satellite earth with no nameable opposing force greater than outraged oceans and man itself, it’s reasonable that a certain segment would suckle suicide by time.

Some succeed in dumbing and numbing through intentional wheel-spinning masked as accident.

Others lock into directionless courtesy of SOMA-stoked bored contentment, memory tricked into knowing the times before as instances where they were not themselves, victim to erratic emotions, unboxed and venom-fanged.

Others still reprogram impressionable mind-meat into regarding unpredictable terrain and internal missiles as those engineered to thwart the influence of logic, until the boys-don’t-cry rhetoric of the 50s has been cloaked in the garb of SCIENCE to keep them quiet, confused, disposable, and apologetic.

The bitter old woman in me claims that those dodging the charms of self-destruction most completely are those willingly disconnected from a comprehension of self with greater relation to the larger world. Those whose world view is informed by their day-to-day needs and the acquisition of stuff, who complain about the cost of gas without dot-connecting to the origins, who neglect to note that many of us are born equipped with transportation courtesy of functional legs.

The bitter old woman in me claims that those immune to this elixir are those who will drunkenly announce themselves to be evolved, no longer seeking the answer since they fuckin’ found it. This holy-fuck-I’ve-done-it world view is succinctly summarized on web sites and readily available pamphlets and paperback best sellers endorsed by your favorite talking head and televised wank fest. This sort of trumpeting seems to catch the ears of invisible listeners, who can’t wait to help the self-annointed guru stuff too many people into a sweatlodge.

The people who actually do something

However: there are plenty who, by whatever fluke of science and nature and love and work, somehow manage to engage with day-to-day reality without so much pacing, who find ways to pacify dark thoughts of shame and insecurity to commit to achievement of vision. Many drinkers have mastered the grumbling understanding that a majority of the human populace is destructive or useless. Only a few seem willing to truly consider their own capacity for greatness, which can’t be measured by externally constructed models, but created ones with personal means of measurement.

(Side note: others still don’t think about this shit that much. These are the people who look at me exhausted and wonder if addiction-commitment might derail my internal circle-jerk enough to stoke forward some semblance of laugh-riot. Sorry folks. I’m the hole in your garden hose.)

In a few determined hours I could produce a toilet paper roll of 10 point font names of courageous individuals thwarting pressure to mirror-mumble until expiration date. Each instance offers evidence of a combination of luck-prayer-hard work-clarity of will-sacrifice, though only some would agree on this list of ingredients.

Some would dismiss the luck component, neglecting the winning lottery ticket of being born in America where we don’t have to fear being recruited into a machete-wielding child army after observing the massacre of people we once adored.

Others might laugh off the prayer with a ho-ho-ho they won’t credit to Santa, insisting their repetition of heart’s desire was just for the sake of clarity — nothing was overheard.

And some of this group of achievers won’t even clock their achievements, will even shun the word success based on a definition constructed by some other, and will therefore express ingratitude, an inability to comprehend such good fortune. These are generally those who have achieved in a realm undefined by material rewards, who interact with culture in its birth canal, their material sacrifice for vision-preservation a mark of bravery without the badge.

Few among us planned on the luxury of so many decisions, only some of us even observing how many options truly exist, and many observing the endless rings with panic and paralysis, not willing to risk drowning to join a more interesting raft of refugees.

It’s important to take a moment to be astonished by human capacity to accomplish nothing. Even with no prison sentence offering boxes and walls to circumnavigate, no international crime lord rifling through plastic surgery records to uncover an assumed identity. No demands from a family of thirteen that each mobile adult take an extra shift at the shirt factory to provide a bag of beans that will last a week. No full body paralysis to explain the catatonic state.

So how does we crack alive? How do we muster together art and words in the midst of base survival, which calls for day jobs over daydreams, doldrums over danger, donuts over….just donuts.

How do we create anything to completion in the stranglehold of sloth, how do we break away from this pocked understanding that with science on our side we’ll live forever?

How do we smother the perception that opportunities are to be considered, not seized, as there will always be another chance for life and love and greatness?

And is it fear of death that keeps us locked behind invisible bars, or fear of life and our ability to navigate new complications that will inevitably present themselves as our decision-making grows riskier and our life choices become harder to defend?

 

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19
Jan 11

Death Posturing

You’re done for. There’s one thing, then another, and there’s nothing after that.

What does that mean? A cleverly concealed pocket-knife could wiggle me away from a railroad tie-down, and suddenly my sour mid-life expiration could alter to paper-skin ancient, eyes pearled and body bent to occupy chairs that wheel and rock. Or maybe future-me belays from broken cells to cyborg, monocle red-laser eyes special-crafted to aggravate cats and melt thicker thoughts from enemies. Half of me bones braced for dusting, the other half sculpted new, locked in with hook and screw.

No: you’re done for friend. Tally your hoe for the waltz-step through endless white curtains before frail begets faint and both retinas blink blank.

Huh. Well, movies suggest quaint segments of life should be summoned from my switchboard for long walk companionship.

- A hair-pinned and pressed grandmother I never had, apron-clad and bespeckled and pulling a tray of cookies from an eye-level oven.

- Running around an endless oak my Midwest backyard didn’t know, not pursued by a bell-bottomed sister screaming and swinging a neon-green plastic bat.

- A chaste slow-dance sponsored by Hallmark, swaying driftwood to puritanical tracks bleating of love as candy-hearts and water-spun roses, embracing someone well-washed I wouldn’t love.

In this canned universe no one is giggling maniacally in a way that inhibits oxygen intake, and never at creatures who audibly sigh and scowl “Come on!” after eighteen agonizing minutes in a pharmacy line.

No. My friend, this isn’t a movie.

Switchboard triggered even still. Images summoned from sun-baked scalp:

- Me tent-locked during green-sky opening, water rushing underneath (vinyl surfing), testing stakes. Outside wind speaks a more threatening tongue and activated ears ask eyes to answer.

- Mambo bullwhip-crackling wet green ground to coax drummers furious as she summons lost Africa from belly slumber for Papa Legba. Oh, Papa Legba.

- Me fay-cozy between two monstrous redwoods, boots pressed to one trunk and back suction-cupping the other, daring tension to inch me upward, or rigid curve me catapult.

- Freshly plucked baby in my thrice-born arms, learning air without water. Me drinking in. Spirit lands unseen.

- Tomato caterpillars caged in Styrofoam egg cartons, round padded feet slow stepping fresh-clipped leaves for rapid gobbling post antennae inspection.

- Wild-haired man burdened by backpack, patterned and pierced, blue current skulking the street after me so I don’t leave – not then, not ever.

- Bodies thick on a fire escape suddenly more dangerous, talking in spirals about events that lightning struck uniform corpses to make us all mad magicians, striping our eyes, dotting our lines. Then many are two and touching.

- Lying on a blanket in the high desert plains, techno-blasted and cowboy-capped, dehydrated mouths calling sounds from lost dimensions where all are copper and exterior-wired.

So you’ve accepted death?

Not for a second. Three times this bell has rung for me, a stale drone from far-away towers eating air for the ankle-grip. Three times you’ve finger beckoned and I’ve snaked away in debt to doctors and water. I could still learn to swim a little bit better, could still highlight heart with a kinder crayon, could still find words to darken white pages (no curtains, no waltz) letter-sparked by anonymous alchemists to leave me better remembered.

Does any of it actually matter?

I can’t hear you. The sky is breaking. My palm boasts six stars.

No one’s read to me in awhile.

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02
Nov 10

Career Day (Plotting of Future)

Mad Rambler

This uniform feels familiar. Unmonkeyed thanks to mittens, swaddling clothes for anxious digits twisting accusations. Thumb-tacked. Shoes shower-capped. Paper ribbons tied loose to yarn-spooled hair flat-ironed with heated horseshoe. Downright LUCKY.

No: unglued and unshoed. Everyone knows the only horse has feathers.

Fruit-juice in washpans from the bed of every foot at the foot of every bed from the spool of every head. This is the future friends, the future. Ask the army of ants exiting ear and evolving to pink-eyed plastic prior to window blind climb. War for the Pane, antenna-fired shots don’t bang or pop or pow or fizz, they squirt and pink eyes pin-drop. Koala with an x-marked spot escapes a neighboring narrative and inquires about the absence of bamboo. What the hell is there to eat around here? Giggle escapes mouth; not leather grip clutching wrist.

This is the future, friends.

Scavenger

Bottles and cans bottles and cans dumpster dive donut dollar rushing rusher bottles and cans bottles and cans thank you sir thank you ma’am bottles and cans bottles and cans.

Office Nutcase

Gather round wayward masses winking corner-office twinkies, foot shuffle downtrodden druthers! Did you see that one commercial with the guy from that show, not that one the other one, who wears the tie and does that thing with the football by the watercooler with that girl, the blonde one? Wasn’t that AWESOME? Oh tomfoolery, oh hapnappery, oh shenanigans hooligans happenstance, oh shitty mcfuckernuts, get me out of this habit or into a habit and unsex my dead nether forever. Required form in triplicate, two-6-dash-9-niner. Profits are down people, profits are down. Submit your request, submit submit, and for God’s sake get down from there, we only have the one bucket! Sign here and here and initial there.

Cult Leader

hallways slide from exit signs lined with sufficient logic for one uncomplicated thought colored neon with quotes from dead others, underscored passages in yellow holy books tucked quiet under eyelid. Agreement inspires declarations of being On To Something which satisfies small ego cookie starved since childhood. Now the stage is REALLY set. Little On to Something read this book and sign this paper and oh yes such a generous donation, I’m glad you were able to pay I mean play and oh here we go with that single thought (credit some other), giggle into the A-HA! more coaching and working of the One Thing already said (you’re really On To Something!). About this second thought – whoa, whoa, slow down, let’s not go complicating the story, let’s stick with what works, these methods have been tested and these thoughts have been thought out by other thinkers with thought pre-thunk for your thinking, so let’s just stick to the thought now why don’t we, don’t you think? This is love, my friend, a great bear hug swept under rug, oh come here fragile little flower, tucked and untucked, come here little hungry cookie drunkard for your mittens.

Firestarter (Arsonist)

CrackerJack offers a REAL PRIZE, fortune tidy foil-wrapped. Damp fumbling fingers scry the six-point font warning whispered through the 1950s into Emergency Exit of Here and NOW: THIS IS THE MESSAGE.

The beginning is only beginning.

This is the future, friend. The future.

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16
Sep 10

Two Crows, 2:36AM (1)

2:36AM

Two crows on the fence, waiting.

They tell me: Listen.

I do.

Listen harder.

Am I dreaming?

No.

Perfect.

Listen.

Fine.

Triple-lock the door.

I peak through the blinds. Two crows on the fence. Still waiting.

Caw.

Do humans turn crow as purgatory, trapped observing the living with their kind-of-a-funny-stories and toddlers tied to harnesses and watch-checking clip-cloppers stomping concrete carpets rolled out to welcome rigamortis? Do crows bring death? DEATH, not scare-the-shit-out-of-movie-goers Tarot Death, where the card is played heavy-rings slow and the actress screams her curlers free before bolting from a candle-farm table glittered with moons and stars to meet piano-to-head closed-casket FIN. Not even real Tarot Death, where the hummus is surprise expired, or a cell phone falls into toilet and spares a happy unemployed the salty sulk of job offer.

And, okay this had better not be the Big Done, I’ve only just stitched the golden eagle to my crest, I’ve only now unrolled my scroll beyond the first few lines to reveal the big a-ha. You creepy trash collectors burdening my bins, what are you waiting for? What are you ready for? What do you know?

Caw.

Will their stink of death render me gothy, prisoner of cliché adolescent silken moon POEtry, liquid black eyeliner streaking white-washed sun starved cheeks, costume coffin bookshelf dark magicians Latin names red and gold print jackets internal juke box Death in June black metal Jay-Z? Different just like everybody else, symbol to the air Ra-Ra, subversive just like everybody else (as above, so below) I’m a pirate I’m a fairy I’m a witch I’m a Tim Burton movie I’m a fucking black stain at the picnic. Look how well we all match at the funeral, parasol stars with corsets clamped. Not a spot of dust on the top hat.

They’re waiting for you, Crows, in the graveyard, by the angel statue that sometimes weeps. They’re waiting for both Thought and Memory. Come as a set, come as you are.

CAW.

Well dammit, shit, for God’s sake, can I still read Rumi with your feathers in my face? Do crows fancy dervishes, whirling God intoxicated holy holy on earthbound playgrounds? Do they fancy Freyja flickers like me, twirling hair feet in air, Loki robbed and revenge plotting, deeper in the well for better sword crafting? Do black eyes seek amber mine as you peak through the blinds, do your feathers want my fingers, have your claws pre-drawn portraits? How did you find me? Did Odin send you? Tell me: how did you find me?

Caw.

They follow me and my bike five miles over the river.

Caw.

They sit on the wire while I wait for the bus, listening to an elderly man with a handlebar moustache (I name him Frank as all old men are Frank) tell stories about Belize and Coast-a-Ree-Kah to an Asian man half-listening between iphone glances. Frank sips coffee from an uncovered mug, like he walked out of the kitchen knowing his status as World’s Greatest Dad needed announcing exactly today. Ha ha ha, sip, ha ha ha. Crows?

Caw (Listen, Descendant of Fenrir.)

Frank lowers his cup and a droplet drips from lip, the concrete BOOM drums awake my hidden fur-lined ear.

(Close your eyes.)

Eyes closed (hear first, look later, it would be too much). Ghosts, nursery rhymes trapped in sidewalk cracks, spirits hobgoblining life from the nearly-living, prism locked reflections two dimensioned in humid air, at once alert to open. Yes. I can hear you.

Holy wow how’s it going she can hear did you notice she could too rah loo skippity skip skip hey she never loved me get me out of hello hi are you still listening ha ha hooray good to –

Caw.

This is not the stuff of bus stops. I should be nude for this amniotic slip and slide, this running up the rabbit hole. Bus arrives  my eyes dart to wire, amber to black, black to amber.

We will follow you. Twenty pairs of two, each two speaking as one. Caw.

At the top of the hill we’ll be waiting. Whisper when you ask of crows. Remember to whisper.

“Ladies first,” Frank gestures to the bus door. World’s Greatest Dad.

Whisper when you ask of crows. We’ll be waiting. Whisper.

Caw.

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12
Aug 10

Drinking Games of the Future Part 4 – Present Tense

Sitting in my own lap, thumbing through messages dispensed from self ankle-deep in almost-sleep. Dreamy awake state summons her most dignified 1940s radio baritone and announces: Present. What about the present?

Hakim Bey and Robert Anton Wilson and Carl Jung and Frederik Van Eeden and a thousand philosophers and dreamers and writers and dead white guys have argued that there isn’t any becoming, you already are, as a means of pressing face into the dog pile of present.

Of course, reading is not comprehension (remember those separate scores on standardized tests?) and I’ve never been the sort inclined to let others figure things out while I take them at their word. Especially dead white guys.

So: 14 hours of trance space and free writing. 150 pages scribbled and scrawled reveal Not Much in the way of worldly reflections. Instead somber mug slapped by sitcom, MadLibs filled in with fart jokes, ancient gods warning the studio audience when to laugh or clap. Still I probed for something nothing to do with me or any BECOMING.

Myth figures are stubborn.

Presently, my dear, you’re supposed to have fun. Shenanigans and giggles, Sour Sally! Look, that trumpet was blown years ago. Made a sound like ArrrrroOOOOO. End times take time. Mind yours. All you can alter is your here and now. Yours. The star of handwritten myths.

Awake. Present. Now.

Now: pressing finger to swollen spider bite, the first of the season but not the last, angry against sun-starved skin. Eyes rise to giant trees with turned down tops circled by hawks hunted by a furious murder of crows.

Present: dancing with other women conjuring maiden-mother-crone, and feeling shoulders previously trapped in permanent curl mimicking Lake Erie’s summer storm waves release and puddle floor, feet stomping memory and mist. The alchemy of sound and internal waterfall frees golden wings, and in a burst my howl unseams. The whole room is active alive and partly cloudy, Oregon’s always skies.

Awake: interacting with Named Trees, skin meeting familiar/familial bark. A message from the sticky top branches: why should dead gods and fanatics have all the fun? There’s plenty of story. What is your super power going to be, maker of legends, creator of myths? What will it be, today, for me?

Dream: speaking an alien tongue punctuated by clicks and intentional stutters, sliced by extended hums and aums that roll teeth over tongue. Charcoal stained hands hover over a table while giant cards slide and form towers and pyramids of cups and swords.

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07
Aug 10

Drinking Games of the Future 3 – 2013

Just like sci-fi authors thought cars would fly but mimeograph machines would crank out purple tinted sheets of paper forever, our predictions of maybe-tomorrow are likely wrong.

Envision the world noticeably not ending in 2012: hundreds of thousands of saluting citizens standing holding hands on the edge of a cliff, eyes closed and breath held, waiting for the kick from behind…only to find that time is passing and their hands are getting sweaty and they have to breathe and let go, and well…get some sleep. The alarm is going off.

The calendar rolls over into 2013 and everyone stands around, nail-biting directionless, hoping for another apocalypse promise potent enough to renew the tail chase. Monday morning splinters every survivalist dream: garbage trucks feed the landfill; mail trucks drop-off garbage; the bus driver is in a bad mood; the passengers stick plastic devices in ears and hunt for a glimpse of future happiness through the window; the passengers leave the bus and walk through doors that automatically open and tightly suck-seal behind them. Later the same passengers don’t enjoy a miserable ride home, where they log in to their computers and social network sites and update their statuses, maybe with a solid sentence of abbreviation. In 2013 words are officially inconvenient.

2013: an unended world leaves everything ruined. Hundreds of thousands of former college students receive love letters from the number one unstoppable apocalypse cockroach, Sallie Mae. Great Idol of Whoops-What-Was-I-Thinking, she hovers above the growing broke class with her hand out, the smirking Statue of Liberty officially christened her mascot. Boston Harbor fills with box upon box of useless degrees, delivered to students in unopened cardboard tubes. The government huffs and balls up tight fists, raping checking accounts and tax returns, directly docking pay. Former students fire back by paying off student loans with credit cards prior to declaring bankruptcy, or asking to be paid in cash, or ceasing work all together, electing to erect tent cities or be perpetually in motion, running away from the empty expectation that the dollar would ever inflate, allowing us to earn more or at least as much as our parents. Burn the whole thing down. Tent cities. Forest Park.

Meanwhile, somewhere on universe-earth, one or two rogue citizens stand on front porches, contemplating the existence of kindred spirits, or maybe wondering about the last time they physically touched someone in a way that didn’t feel hurried. Then it digs deeper and they wonder what it would be like to love without caution, and each thinks that they could probably do this now, because fuck it, what better use of time than that, exactly that. It’s the only thing worth throwing at the stars. Then each one of them sighs, and opens a battered library book to read until sleeping – both certain that no one else living and thinking could possibly agree with something so beautiful and reckless.

2013 could mean anything for me, perhaps sitting underneath a tree transcribing the events of the latest war between the angels, different sides this time, but mountains still tossed while the powerless messenger cries and outlines the speeches of Lucifer and the violent retort of a sword swinging Michael. I could be pushing a shopping cart stuffed solid with bean-guts stuffed animals and empty cans of whip cream, muttering about how something was supposed to happen, on August and the Day of 8, in the 20 and 10, the 20 and 11, the 20 and 12. In 2011 there was supposed to be a tsunami and a wave from an earthquake offshore, the dam was supposed to break and flood the river, Portland was supposed to be underwater. And the green turned brown was supposed to turn to ash, and all of the mountains were supposed to start speaking, these mountains that are really volcanos, seconds from being burped awake from some new magnetic pull, and all these auroras were supposed to speak to me, to wrap my head in a multi-colored cloud during some lost Sunday morning.

Or maybe I’ll have a family passing strangers label “nice” and someone somewhere will color me a “good person” over coffee and inside my burning ears will be the faint tingle of satisfaction. When my head hits the pillow I’ll summon sleep in an instant, and my dreams will be fields of flowers and a gentle hand tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear, in a sensation so far beyond soothing my deepest sound rings true, if detectable only by bats. I don’t know.

I don’t know.

Somewhere in 2010 reality revealed itself to be a system of mirrors arranged to pull me deeper into maze. In a blink I switched the maze to corn, so the aliens can leave a footprint, you know, if they want. Then I peeled off my skin to activate, to consider the possibility of love as LOVE, of human as super, to embrace what never comes next. The only thing worth throwing at the stars.

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26
Jul 10

Drinking Games of the Future Part 2: This is Not Awake

In the future we’ll name our children for colors and other things we used to know before everything greyed to ash.

We’ll throw invisible spears at visible gods asking why nothing was done to stop the burning of sea turtles back when all our gods were idols and our cars were filled with gods.

In the future tomorrow we’ll spend decades crafting time catapults to hurl unclaimed corpses back to good old days, because if we want anything in the now it’s the old good.

Fuck it. Let me stop trying. Stop sickle-mining underwater when this word shit begs for flame.

I’ve glued my chairs to the ceiling and glued bodies to the chairs and I’m Lord of the Flies sharp-stick pointing and screaming, “Pinata!”

Sour. I’m not sleeping anymore. Experiment unplanned. Efforts were made to exit awake, the assumption of a horizontal position, generous time spent on the tuck-in, a salutation to invading spirits that have their own ideas about chairs and glue. This, prior to ceiling stares with no reward, just aggravation from anticipation of dreams growing feet and pushing me up trees before dropping me back bark-covered. Instead I’m basket tossed (awake), scribbling tirades against an army of cats clawing new entries with loud single-tone language. Evolve. Grow thumbs.

In the no-sleep the now is Real, lost minutes tick-tock on metronome clocks I pretend not to watch or memorize each morning before flipping double middle fingers to my anime pop rocking dark-circled (and laughing) mirror selves.

In the soothing hum of pseudo awake shaved heads are beautiful, designed to activate human purr and every nerve ending from fingertip to clit until eyes turn fire mid flutter.

Pseudo awake I’m more than adored, shit-fit marinating bile dark into love and loving.

Pseudo awake he is the inhaled breath of a-ha, eel-eyed green pilgrim of the ocean’s ocean, alien device buried in a hand pretty enough to distract inspection and howl-spark me the adored. His hovering others may never land. He’s never landed either.

In the pseudo awake the War of the Worlds reading ends a bit different. A nation duped by a shot-charged radio reading isn’t duped twice by those eager to convince them they fell face over fist into processed panic. You know, like made up and put on the radio. That wasn’t real or anything. Ahem.

Silk static transmissions slide down walls, stumble over the philosopher’s knots of my word-angry hands, future fall apart escalated to giggle-splattered red-eyed now.

In the soothing hum of pseudo-awake Pan has no ick. He’s glued to a chair, and underwater.

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15
Jul 10

drinking games of the future (part 1)

The one guarantee of me post-apocalypse is that my logic-brain will abort, leaving behind a slope shouldered droop-mouthed mumble to paw through clouds of I-told-you-so. A full 90-degree antenna adjustment will be required to pick up my frequency, the same oh shit sputtered at the start of our universe.

My in-the-now mind is a teaming mass of riddles, one worm crawling over the other and poking at eyes and adenoids in hopes of hasty escape. Let’s saddle them all.

The apocalypse will be sponsored by everything in your medicine cabinet, everything string-walking your carcass through the vacancy of waking before coffee, everything floating in the water.

The apocalypse dictates that you need to be where I am as soon as possible, covered in some colorful fur. Synthetic shields ward off zombies inevitably sent out in droves to salvage our mutating DNA strands for the preservation of our black hole birthing species.

Modern-day medicated marvels will make convenient zombies. All the xanax and ritalin and zoloft popping pseudo-humans will find their brains in uproar when neutral shifts to high-octane and unexpected serotonin floods leave them feeling, unfocused, and horny. The brain freeze that trapped them in adolescence or their twenties or whatever age they consented to cease evolution for the sake of assimilation will thaw, and either they’ll access some mightily repressed thunderclap of survivalism or they’ll wander the streets whining that their heads have come uncorked.

Or something else entirely.

Maybe the end of convenience will send my own brain into mudslide, and I’ll join the hoards kicking out the glass walls of empty pharmacies, shaking the shoulders of the four remaining doctors and begging for a chemical-charged escape hatch from the holy shit.

Feeling, unfocused, horny: why aren’t we fucking in the street yet? As soon as public copulation becomes part of the day-to-day we’ll be too distracted to complete our morning commutes, accelerating abandonment of bills and rent, reducing us to squatters defending paper huts with makeshift bows and dirty grandpa shotguns. Then time can be occupied with better things, like recalling movies we can no longer watch, ruining all the endings. We can trade quotes until we’re bored enough to consent to a sober round of “I Never” featuring new world statements like, “I never drank a clean glass of water” and “I never had sex without wearing a gas mask” and “I never fucked a man without a tail.”

Of course, the giggle sucks dry with the ugly realization that most of the survivors are coal-faced drainers of the happy tank. With their generators dead and fish growing feet they’ll get angry some fuckers have the nerve to start a pillow fight. There’s a lot of organizing and filing to do. Children could witness the pillow fight, and think for a second that survival isn’t only continuing to go even if you don’t know where you’re going, or why.

Even in a post-flood world some will be too busy hiding in their shelters to ask.

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29
Jun 10

August and the Day of 8

For the past several years I’ve written down my dreams, some of which are conversations that carry on for hours. In the first few minutes following waking I try my best to transcribe these ramblings, but they’re never coherent and weren’t meant to be. This collection of riddles and numbers came from a dialogue with Odin/Merlin, who exist as one and the same on Planet Amanda Dreamworld.

August and the day of 8, 2010 to start, 2011 to end. Set your clock to tremble. Eyes wide and ever chattering, blinking forehead wink. Will you rise orange like the cloud-splitting sun?

27 and the month of 8

9 to carry the 9

10 fastened to the 26

and 8 to follow

(29)

The 6, the 6, 10 and 26

Shake and erase – all emptied.

Listen well on august and the day of 8

when the final petal falls and summer surrenders and silver staff splits antler stands and ash covers the dust. Goodbye, kentucky fried. a single boom chased by a rumble confused as thunder turns all eyes skyward before the scream. Don’t hesitate to point the finger. A single A points to B. Ear to track for coming train. Did you feel it vibrate so close to your ear? Do you hear the whistle? Wet finger to sky, testing air. Nothing can prepare you.

Listen for the laugh track tumbling from the bumbling mouths of bookstore prophets. All skull-capped and rocking, tearing fingernails, waiting for the right question for the answer. He’s never been asked. He’s never been asked.

Ask him.

There’s no place to begin pacing. There’s no center to this stone. There’s no smell to trace this memory. There isn’t a map. There was never a map. Just a spiral and patterns in sand.

Pulled in from skyward glances. This is the bait. Do you see it dangling?

Call your glamours home. There’s no gateway to hold your linger. No tank for what would have been. There’s only boarding, seat 23A.

Stop waiting for your watery home.

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