They’re Coming. They’re Here.

They’re Coming. They’re Here.

Easter passed. Where were you last year? 

close up photography of hand near window
Photo by Renato Mu on Pexels.com

They said don’t worry a mass awakening is about to happen. They say “its” coming. They say things will go back to normal. Then they say they won’t, and probably never will. They say it’s our destiny still yet unfulfilled. They say it takes timing, effort, to go where you need to, be who you want to be. They say you need to buy more, and guess what, everything is 50% off on the website now and clearly you’re running out of things to wear. They say that we’re not free until all of us are free. Then they say we all are already free right now and that’s something worth fighting for. We say ok declare war then.

They say we’ve built our own chains just as willingly as we’ve built our own castles. They say “no man is an island,”  but he can certainly live on one, and probably remain perfectly safe. They say we’re just a drop in the ocean – salt water cures everything. They say social distancing is hard – but necessary. They say we’ve come so far but still have a long way to go. They say shut up you are full of “toxic” positivity. They say hey you owe me 752 dollars a month for that piece of paper plus your tank is empty now go buy gas. They say goodbye and now go wash your hands. We say okay my hands are clean but my gut full of wire and brass I could do more with copper plated gold earrings that dance around my nose and hold up my chin.

 

grey white clouds

 

 

They say we could be building an elevator to space by now, a rocketship to Mars. They say to create a new home there. They say that’s good because now we’d be reborn as settlers but this time without a population to desecrate. They call it “a bug” but really, it’s an alien. They say it might actually help us to evolve. They say most people who are dying in America are black. They say whites hate Asians and Asians hate blacks. They say domestic violence up, but street crime is down. They say, don’t be shocked by that, and now, back to Commercial reak. They say you ought to be most afraid of the human psyche and what it can do because unlike the globe, it hasn’t been “mapped” yet.  We study those maps. We coat our walls with the mandalas of the Tibetans and wear facemasks designed by Carl Jung, we review the brain scans and take deep evaluations of what’s produced in the thymus and the cells regenerating with every deep breath and more powerful heartbeat of an intensive herbal workout. These maps of the body-mind have always been here and always will be, just as they were before. Nothing changes, even with the clock rewinds. They say most kids don’t use analog time anymore, anyways. They say this truth is binding, they say we have a soul contract. There’s no way we could use our own will to get out of it. They say it might rain today but it doesn’t. It storms. They say you might die in two weeks of cancer but you don’t. You live for 20 more years. You uncover some secrets, on a first attempt, but come back emptyhanded like a fisherman with a pole and no bait. You wish you could just be doing “a little bit more.” Hyper-drive kicks in. You can’t sleep at night. You say you’d wish for mercy by what you find out, so you come back again, so you start swimming furiously up to the shore as if your arms could never give in. They say you are weak, but you are strong. They say not to panic, but you feel like you can’t breathe. They say it feels like drowning, but still, your arms are swimming. They ask who is this “they” you are referring to exactly? They say at the end of this motivational speech that they’ll cut for Commercial break. Promise this time. They say they promise to cut copy edit for the Communist revolution. They say shit why is this thing not working? Work dammit. Who still owns a VCR? 

….

They say okay if you didn’t learn math in school. They say if you look like me and sound like me you’ll start winning then plus one  = guaranteed happiness. They say don’t ask kids to write down what kind of dreams they had last night when they wake up in the morning. They say listen to this and remember it’s just a blip in your brain of neurochemicals and synapses firing. They say who this  “we” you are referring to exactly? 

….

They say they can channel the gods and masters. They say it’s is just a light-being hologram placebo who comes down now and then to remind us all how to live. We say okay that makes sense we’ve forgotten how to live. We say we don’t feel anything. We don’t know anything. We say it’s time to get ready, to back to work. We get back to work.  We say take us when we’re ready. We’re ready. Take us. Take us to your leader. We know it’s time. Take us, already. We know. We’re ready! We’ll give you back our crowns. 

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Ode to my Country

because just because we live in the same country, doesn’t mean we live in the same country. there could be a multitude of experiences, within one city, one city block, one apartment building, that could be vastly different from a place a few miles away. one minute i am craving the flaky dough of a croissant — was it the one with the chocolaty filling I had on Sunday? or the Jamaican patty i had from the corner store down the road just hours before i took a nap? i love the Latin songs of the construction workers out my door — reminding me of the Baizu people who were constructing new hostel with wood beam frames who worked next to the hostel called the Lilly Pad where I would stay on the weekends, and when my father came to visit chi na he was amazed to see the women in construction, why, just a few weeks ago I was researching how to get one of those jobs, a job that typically wouldn’t be assumed by someone of my sex, i hear they pay well, cuz this girl, she’s just a preschool teacher, she’s just a nanny, she’s just browsing craigslist for female modeling jobs, just for the ones you don’t have to take your clothes off, do you see? the subtle roles of gender that we fill, that are left unspoken, uncompromised, until you see someone doing it differently:

just because we live in the same country doesn’t mean we live in the same country, so aunties, and mom, and anyone else who sees this, can you still send me packages in the mail with chocolates and cashews and unique forms of cheese that wouldn’t mold in my suitcase and even better survive in an underground tunnel case of apocalypse and in the rare case we use up all of the Earth’s resources for the coming year by next Tuesday? cuz my landlord and his lady might be excited cuz they be putting a whole foods in across the street next week but i only have enough dollars and sense to shop for brown rice at Big Lots & we stil livin’ in a food desert out there and i’m not talking about the one all the cool kids go to where they dress up in leather underpants and smoke ganja in the blistering sun of /nevada nah I’m talking about


Black Top City — asphalt — city, the one i gotta cross between me and Safeway (Se fue), i’m talking about the way u wonder at the beauty of the way gum sticks to the the stairs of the portrait gallery across from the Capitol One stadium at 12:00 midnight and somebody left a bottle of French wine there, but the President don’t like French wine, u are too busy Being in love to notice if ur dash light is on and your car battery is gonna die, and ur landlord the only one who looks out for u if something like that happens, or if security cameras are watchen u and your credit card data gonna be breeched, & then we :-*’ and then i see a rat outta the corner of my, i hear the President don’t like rats, says, some people read Tweets but i just listen to the birds outside of my apartment in the morning and u say u love how quiet it is hear and is ay thank u cuz i made it that way- you see? u say lemme take me to thailadn or france or just get outta here but i think god each morning wants me to be here, asked me to be here, just because we live in the same country, doesn’t mean we live in the same country i,

know my roommate said i can’t look away from u too many rainbos in your i’s but, i’m just trying to make a smoothie here man, can u get out and get ur own boss/ but i thank god each morning, i think he wants me to be here, asked me to be hear, wondering if i’m still here, maybe not becuase i think we live in the same country but it doesn’t mean we live in the same country gotta long way to go from this country if i’m every gonna break free mama i think they might have put me in jail for what i wrote but maybe that was a lifetime ago, u know they did that in the usa but maybe only if you were gay, but i be singing that song day by day, day by day, wondering how many hours unti i am free from once upon a time inever guessed just becuase we live in the same country doesn’t mean we live in same country


https://medium.com/@merrittlw/just-because-we-live-in-the-same-country-doesnt-mean-we-live-in-the-same-country-b0e070ce0b25 

Ode to what is owned and given

 

Once upon a time I had very few possessions. And in the process of owning of very little, and feeling quite a lot, I liberated myself from much undue suffering that I had haunted me for much of my life.

In each moment, I was born anew, and asked in return favor to my creator, to deliver me what I needed now, or later. I’d continue growing, sowing, and showing, despite not knowing, where I might be going next.

It was at this time that I felt the world around me so deeply. My life was vibrant, I felt healthy. I was very rich.

How did I come to see the world as such? Wanting for so little, and not really asking for much?

Before leaving for my travels, I had bought many things, and I felt sure that these many would help protect me from myself on my journey onward.
I spent the money on the things I had worked for, multiple packages of PeptoBismol and a renewed year-long prescription on my Nuva Ring, and all of appropriate clothing I would need for a dry, desert-like climate. I could fit it all into a large, red suitcase. My cat would hide in the lining. He wanted to be a part of it too.
When I arrived, the room I had been given had come somewhat already equipped. As S, the previous fellow, had left many of her belongings, and had returned home without them due to her mother’s passing.
I exclaimed with glee upon entering the room. She had left behind many things, including a French Press and 3 bags of coffee. I had made it all the way to rural China, and now look at all the delicious treats that were waiting for me in what was now my new room.

But B, who had known S or the past year, asked me if she could see the room first, before I moved my own things in.

“We have to talk to her first. See what she wants us to send back.” I had never encountered such wisdom and graciousness as this. And from my own internal suffering I wondered: How had I been conditioned to enact such a subconscious sense of entitlement?

“I have arrived! There is something I want, so thus, it is mine!”

How would this behavior make this person whose territory I had encroached upon, really feel? The one who had given up a life here in this room that had been created to manifest a felt sense of a joy and purpose, the one who took nothing into something intensely meaningful, and the one now gone to mourn the deceased? Through these things I was asked to know the part of me that also had carried such my things such a long way, to know that upon arriving, I truly had nothing, because I had not created such connections yet, as the one that she and B had developed. One that said, “No, those are her things, and I will respect the wishes of those who have come and moved along.”
I learned to take such gifts that remained in the room with stride. A set of shelves, English flashcards, toys for the children I’d soon be teaching.

I cleaned out the room. I realized I had more than I knew. There was not enough space for all of the belongings she had left behind. There was not enough space for my own.

Please, I thought. Someone come and take S’s stuff. Send it back to America now. I just don’t have the space.

But it remained there. For many months. It watched me while I struggled with teaching, and while I fell asleep at night, hurt, crying, wanting to go home and back to America.

Maybe B sent it back eventually. I’m not sure. Maybe the pain of knowing her mother’s body had departed from this world mattered more than whatever was in the case.

I would receive many more packages from American friends in the coming years. A package from my aunt with packages full of Hershey kisses and Halloween toys, National Park flashcards from my Christian church minister, a block of Parmesan cheese from my mother, postcards from my college roommate, a blue scarf from a local teachers, a nautilus necklace from the owners of the hostel where I stayed,  and eventually, once I credited it, bushels upon bushels of watermelon and pomegranates from my good friend Uncle Yang. Giving gifts became a part of a tradition I grew to cherish as well. I purchased a book of translated poetry and a blank journal for my co-fellow, D. Adorned blue beaded friendship bracelets for my two best friends who commiserated with me in hotel rooms on the weekends over cups of Oreo-yogurts and episodes of the Mindy Project.

I even departed with a saxophone, that I had since I was nine, my father bought it for me, but did I know that it was mine? Did I need three? I gave to to Yang upon parting, with the wish that one day, it could be possible, that there was a child in the village who would learn to love it just as much as me…