one more warm november day

it’s a bit freaky in minneapolis

this fall and early winter

i’ve been riding my bike so much more

cuz it’s been so unseasonably warm

no snow, no temperatures as cold as they could be

but honestly, it’s difficult for me

riding my bike wearing a pandemic mask

my green cotton cloth bandana

from the 2019 minnesota state fair

which shows

in white logos

a local brewery “on a stick”

cuz my hot exhalations into mid 40F air

and the cold bandana tied tight

up against my face

means my nose runs everywhere

when i’m riding and breathing heavy

just yesterday i had to stop and pray

after riding for an hour

that in my messenger bag there was something

some kind of thing

some kind of napkin, some bit of paper

i could blow my nose into

cuz i had a waterfall going on behind my mask

so i stopped against the curb

out front of the movie theater on st. anthony main

un-clicked the buckle, swung it down from shoulder

and opened up my bag

then untied my wet bandana

two streams dripping off my lips

sure enough i was lucky

there were three dirty napkins

from some take out place

crumpled down at the bottom of my bag

so i blew out my nose and laughed to myself

snot management now in effect

gobs and gobs so heavy and warm filling up the napkin

but i could breathe again

and looking around i see no trash can

so fully sopped napkin goes right back into my bag

and onward i continued up to northeast

suddenly shaking my head when the absurdity hits me

i’ve suffered so little, been so lucky

have yet to lose anyone or anything

so why am i letting

this tiny inconvenience of the pandemic get to me

riding my bike on one more warm november day

slapping a sticker on a surface covered in dust

how we try to attach a name

to a human who’ll change

like trying to stick a label

on a situation in flux

trying to cram a soul

inside a selfie cage

like trying to slap a sticker

on a surface covered in dust

how we wonder why the good moments

turn into the most painful times

like we forget our most painful moments

will change into a better life

if we’re strong enough to accept the pain

without denying it, without grasping it, without fear

to let it come, to let it go, so we can grow, so life will flow

that moment moving into this moment

breathing out an old thought by breathing in the new

how we try to define our lives

with one moment caught in one memory

like trying to yell stop

to a river falling gently so relentlessly to the sea

model ≠ know

a nonhuman mouse model

a nonhuman, 3-phase primate model

a nonhuman, feed-them-this-tweaked-news-feed-and-see social media model

a nonhuman, highly advanced, predictive behavior matrix presented by a start up to a venture capitalist for a series-b funding round model

a nonhuman “our algorithmic AI achieved spectacular ad revenue results this quarter” press release model

a nonhuman if you analyzed my face a million fucking times could you even fucking recognize my humanity facial recognition model

all models models models, all nonhuman

all non me, all non you, all non them, all non us

the [ data sets ] poor

the math therefore lacking

the picture delivered out of focus

the focus thus distracting

the cognition marred

the conclusions inaccurate

the decisions, incorrect and incompetent 

the results, guaranteed and happening 

the confirmation bias, pressed down and compounding

the bandwidth to care about a world bigger than individual daily survival, throttled and slowing down

the acting out of threats made on a screen, already upon us

humanity’s thinking, confused and impoverished

the hours and days, the faces and lives, streaming by

faster and faster

thought lung #7 – calm sync

comlink located, thought lungs open, calm sync in progress

got that next level update yet

?

 

how can we talk with our fellow beings

the way sunlight through green leaves creates the oxygen of dreams

the way our co2 exhaling brings life energy

to growing breathing believing

different from us beings

getting to calm by

getting to communicate like

the ocean waves washing up and down the surface of the ground

how there’s no static line, no frozen edge

just one shared moment, by two different worlds

like a lover’s skin pressed soft and sweet against us

we all breathing

the exhalations of other living beings

living out what they breathe in

living in what they breathe out

comlink located, thought lungs open, calm sync in progress

haven’t we got beyond that [ self-as-center ] update yet

?

 

how do i live with my fellow beings

the way sunlight through green leaves breathes the oxygen of dreams

so that my garbage, my excrement, my stinking life brings energy

to growing breathing believing

different from me beings

getting to calm by

getting to live like

the river flowing up and down over the surface of the ground

how there’s no static line, no frozen edge

just one shared moment, by two different lives

how my love can hold them up when they are falling down

we all living

the energy of other living beings

breathing out what they live in

breathing in what they live out

comlink located, thought lungs open, calm sync in progress

it’s called selflessness

it’s that next level update

cuz “i voted” stickers aren’t hand outs

damn, even voting a day early and all these people ahead of me…

the line to vote stretches around 2 sides of the block

after a long day at work i’m standing in line outside a recreation center

outside on a warm sunny afternoon at longfellow park in minneapolis

standing in line to vote in the low slanting november sun

and then i start looking around, start breathing, start noticing

it could be windy, could be cold, be raining, snowing

there could be no voting

and the sun shining through my eyelids stops the poor me shit

cuz it quickly occurs to me there’s more to this

there’s more to see

like all the lives ahead of me

standing

and all the lives behind me

stepping

all my fellow americans ahead of me

walking

and all my fellow americans behind me

rolling

all the free thoughts ahead of me

thinking

and all the free thoughts behind me

flowing

all the free to do and make and say anything ahead of me

learning

and all the free to do and make and say anything behind me

building

all the free to meet with anyone ahead of me

talking

and all the free to discuss anything with them behind me

knowing

all the free to love whoever i love ahead of me

healing

and all the free to marry whoever i love behind me

breathing

all the free to choose whoever i want ahead of me

being

and all the free to choose whatever i want behind me

voting

computational free flow

hey, is what’s going off in here

[ 0,1 ]

what’s going on out there

[ 0,0 , 0,1 , 1,0 , 1,1 ]

?

 

cuz damn, these self-as-center algorithms letting us down

 

smokey air, drought and fire separating us from our homes

rumors and lies, a pandemic’s viral dna turning our lungs into foam

tripping out cuz falsely conceived algorithms on social media

rack up points for acting out insults

hating someone cuz hi-def dis-info streams freely

creating poisonous antisocial results

 

yo, got enough bandwidth in here

[ 0,1 ]

to know what’s going on over there

[ 0,0 , 0,1 , 1,0 , 1,1 ]

?

 

cuz damn, these self-as-center algorithms bringing us down

 

over there in the life of that other human

casting a vote different from our own

in the life of that other being doing it’s thing

the ant churning up the ground

the coastal redwood tree standing tall

sunlight glowing in it’s crown up above the fog

one more breath in and out

shared between us all

 

now

[ selfie level ]

next

 [ portrait of me made by you as understood by someone else level ]

?

 

cuz damn, these self-as-center algorithm’s slowing us down

smoke and signal

america, these smokey deep orange sunrises

 

these flames of forests burning, smoke of trees homes dreams lives dying

first responder sirens all night wailing, pandemic still taking

flames of blame burning, smoke of conspiracies whirling

a 4k oled screen trying to flash, in a cloud of fucking ash

 

pushed along, carried and spread by wind raining white hot embers and sparks

pushed along, carried and spread by humans being human and moving

cuz they had places they needed to be, faces they needed to see, a life they needed to be

on planes, ships, buses, cars, bicycles, feet, finger tips, on a cough, by a sneeze

pushed along, carried and spread by desktops, laptops and tv phones, on anything with a screen

 

all all all of our billions of beautiful screens

and all that power to see anything anything anything

but we choose to see only only only

what we want to see

if that’s the sorting algorithm, here’s the philosophy

if disinformation streams in high definition

what definition is the information

when the rumors and lies are delivered for free

does the truth cost too much to see

 

america, these dusty halos hazing out the sun

 

centuries ago, what we once could not name or explain

we ascribed to a god above

but now, confirmation bias spreads like a virus

so a digital edge gets caught up in our heads

this can’t see a human

being human

just a race

just a tribe

of our own assuming

for some algorithm’s amusement

so now, what we don’t want to deal with, refuse to see

we push away into conspiracy

just turn away saying get the fuck away from me

 

pandemic dna from 7000 miles away

wildfire smoke from 1400 miles away

a deepfake video produced in a country far away

but the mistrust and bloodshed these create is right here

between you and me

between the united states of all of us

distracting blame games, backfiring false flags

the social media shit talking, the boasts, the braying

the open threats made

they flash on our hi-def screens

inches from our face

 

america, these smokey deep red sunsets

 

these emptied out downtowns hurting, a family’s empty storefront burning

helicopters all night circling, particles of a virus swirling

words of blame burning, smoke of conspiracies churning

a gigapixel camera trying to flash, through a rain of fucking ash

 

when i see the sun rising darker and hazier than normal

over the minneapolis skyline as i’m driving

the work truck east down 394 these autumn mornings

when i see the sun falling darker and blurrier than normal

down into the minneapolis skyline as i’m biking

across the franklin avenue bridge these autumn evenings

i try to imagine the burning forests of america

or maybe it’s just me caught in the burning forests of my mind

i’ll meet you there, outside these fucking selfie frames

find me there too, at that place beyond disinformation’s games

and they, they are there, very much alive despite our shit talking

despite their own hard earned scars of surviving

and all of us, we can trip out and push away

or we can turn around unafraid to stay and face the news

beyond these smoking screens of fear

what’s smoke and signal is clear

blue cloudy, too loudly

morning glories, i can’t just pass them

i have to stop and stare and touch them

make sure i’m not seeing things

blazing into this blue cloudy september morning

the way morning glory flowers radiate some kind of electric energy

i stop walking and reach out to their downy petals

touch their baby blues and dark purples fading into white hot centers

touch them just to make sure they’re not miniature supernovas

exploding from a dark green vine

swirling around a telephone pole

2020 summer, resolve

minneapolis, north east

i’m biking down a tree lined street in slanting late summer sun

it’s still hot and the big big trees arching 40 50 60 feet over this quiet street

throw down a lot of nice shade

the big big tree’s green leaves rustling and flipping in that midwest ocean breeze

sunlight flickering over all the front porches

their folding chairs and pool lounges empty this evening

now the sound of lawns being mowed and the smell

of the two stroke engines and the cut grass and the barbecues in the back yards

merging into one another under the big big trees

since i didn’t take a pic wouldn’t put it in a jar

this is how i’ll take it with me

as the pandemic’s still going it’s winter approaching

traffic still not flowing through 38th and chicago

cuz still nothing has reformed or changed

how many more names until it’s obvious that justice came

as deepfake scenes start messing with our dreams

as hate tripping streams and courses through our social media os’s

flashing and sluicing across hi-def screens

this is how i’ll get through

i’ll stand steady and breathe like the big big trees

who’s in control when the phone flash go

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