wings right above me

after hearing your voice just a few times every year

finally, i see you

usually when it’s dark and i’m about to

get some sleep, to enter dream land

that is when you would begin speaking

from the big oak or maybe the big pine tree

across the alley in back of my place

you invisible, but loud and clear, i could hear you

so glad to finally see you

 

at dawn, thursday morning

returning from work in my car

turning into the alley in back of my place

suddenly wings flapping and flashing

wide beautiful dusty white wings right above me

i hit the brakes, ducked, went holy f…

you were swooping down after a small bird

flitting like a spark through my head lights

and as you twisted around the corner chasing after it

i saw no hawk’s neck

just your big round face

your feather coat dusty white, gray, with rusty brown streaks

that’s when i knew, you’re unmistakable

a pleasure to finally meet you

my barred owl friend, talk all night

now i know who’s speaking

[self-as-center OS] is currently updating please wait

( THEME MUSIC BEGIN, 3 2 1 AND FADE IN )

3 2 1 AND ANNOUNCER VOICE:

yes, the [self-as-center OS] updates continuously, it will automatically withdraw from your card on file, yes, update payment method today, if you don’t like it just pay in other ways, yes have you updated yet, ok update now and save, 25% today ( [self-as-center OS] is currently updating please wait ) have you played the latest algorithm today, yes, update your face on file ok, download the prettier / handsomer modules for enhanced power number$ and go slay the latest face game today ( in game purchases of fraudulent equations will apply, and will be automatically withdrawn to fake laughter algorithmically contorting a weirdly eerie ai face, umm, automatically from the account on file, click ok, everyone else is doing it, so go ahead, do it today ) update re-upped, update re-upped, ok ok ok

( THEME MUSIC BEGIN, 3 2 1 AND SLIGHT RAMP UP IN TEMPO )

3 2 1 AND ANNOUNCER VOICE:

poor me thoughts all day, failures looping all night, then hey, update your [self-as-center OS] to the latest version today, it’ll have you asking why sacrifice anything for anyone else cuz hey, put a self in the center of the universe today, the [self-as-center OS] will help put a gold framed selfie at the center of it all, who know’s, it could be yours (faceframe nft’s sold separately), it’s all that matters anyway right, ok, more AdvancedMod nutrient packs will be released on this date, more EgoAvatar lifeshells will go live later today, download completed ( [self-as-center OS] is currently updating please wait ) re-up, re-up, if you’re authorized, click pay, click pay, pay, pay, damn, what, wtf, payment declined, payment declined, payment decli…

 

stop. stop. cut. c’mon. wake up. no, wake up. it’s just a nightmare all of us humans go through when it gets stuck on play

computational free flow #2

human, being, look

the river is sky reflecting

cuz the sky is a river flowing

there’s no line between, there’s no edge to see

look it’s constant, look it’s fluctuating

breathing

 

in a 24 hour period how many breaths did i take

because of another being

 

better run that algorithm through our narrow social media hallways

so our ego avatars learn how to stop choking

so we can start breathing and growing

 

eyes, open

don’t turn away

lungs, breathe

pandemic underway

 

human, being, listen

the river is flowing

cuz the cloud is growing

where’s the line between, there’s no edge to see

listen it’s constant, listen it’s fluctuating

breathing

 

in a 24 hour period how many steps did i take

because of another human

 

time to execute that code in our self-as-center operating systems

so we can bust out of the selfie cages we’ve stacked in server farms

so they start flying apart and smoking

 

keep those hearts open

don’t turn away

keep those lungs breathing

pandemic underway

 

human, being, feeling

the ground is growing

cuz all the insects, the fungi, the animals churning it

there’s no line between, there’s no edge to see

feel it’s constant, feel it’s fluctuating

breathing

 

in a 24 hour period

how many swallows of food did i take

because of another organism

 

better compute that on our machine learners

til this earth is modeled as a living cell surviving in the empty blackness

and greed as inflammatory disease

 

eyes, open

don’t turn away

lungs, breathe

pandemic underway

 

human, being, believing

our babies, eating

long as the green leaves, growing

where’s the line between, there’s no edge to see

believe it’s constant, believe it’s fluctuating

breathing

high definition oblivion

nice, you got one of those 120 inch 8k screens

with that immersive curve, yeah nice, nice

is the resolution so good that when shit flashes on it you smell flowers

is the resolution so good the lies on it become true

what’s that, yeah, look at you high definition oblivion

how much do you make in a minute of work? really, nice

congratulations, that’s outstanding compared to most humans

oh sure, all your principles about pulling oneself up

from the bootstraps, about not relying on the government

but then paying employees $10.50 an hour

and then scratching your head in front of the board

if they bother to ask

about why employees aren’t getting ahead

why can’t they get to work on time in a car like you

why can’t they climb the ladder, why can’t they raise their children right

while working two full time jobs

while trying to stay healthy during a pandemic you bungled

always passing the buck for someone else to fight

 

high definition oblivion, you’re the one always whining

about how they have to work harder

and your solution, oh well

maybe if mom and dad each worked 3 full time jobs

you know, 120 hours a week

then, then they could make $30 an hour

then, then they could afford a car without a loan

food without food stamps, housing without government assistance

without getting caught up in one of your real estate loan scams

raise their kid right, yeah sure man

your corporation made something like $_00,000,000 million in profits

just in the last quarter

you took home $_0,000,000 in pay

just in the last quarter

but your lowest paid employees

making $10.50, $12.75, $13.25, an hour

can’t afford housing or healthcare or transportation

out of their own pockets, no government involvement

and you’re bitching about the government making you pay $15 an hour

 

high definition oblivion, what you’re really saying is

you can afford to be a capitalist

by paying your employees such little money they can live on welfare

while they work full time

at your job

 

high definition oblivion, what you pay is called a welfare wage for a reason

right, oh sure, sure high definition oblivion

the high salaries are necessary to achieve high performance

but that fundamental motivational principle isn’t true

if you only pay enough to apply it to you

and not the contract custodian vacuuming your corner office too

 

high definition oblivion, you say you want to win all the arguments and destroy the left

and put the government out of business

but then you figure out how to pay the lowest wages possible

not the highest wages, the lowest

lol

all your big think tanks, all your economics phd’s

all your speeches in front of hard hats, all your plans for victory

doesn’t mean shit if you’re too greedy to pay the wage for it

go ahead high definition oblivion, double down on it then

repeat the same thing over and over again

that’s just a sign you don’t really believe in what you’re saying

that just means you’ve run out of ways to defend it

and have nothing left in the bank to say for it

 

high definition oblivion, oh shit bro, look who’s calling!

not the bank, but your principles

this is not a margin call, this is not a margin call

no no, that is not your problem, no

this is your principles calling, making a principle call:

 

there’s nothing in your account

 

high definition oblivion, we all noticed you jumping up and down

hooting and hollering with a smile on your face

when that player who was born of that race

scored a goal, a home run, a touchdown, the winning 3 pointer

worked solid shift after solid shift, who helped your team win

and a day later you were making racist jokes about that player’s race

completely unaware of yourself

cuz that stupid shit you say means you’re not a real racist

and you’re not a real member of the team

so wtf are you, high definition oblivion?

all twisted up into contradictory knots

double speaking out of your ass, too clever by half

what, did you say something high definition oblivion

oh sure man, sure, your racism game, your sad little sport

essentially it’s you scratching at your stinking misery index every day

as much as you feel like shit about your life, as poor as you are

as long as that other person feels even worse than you

is even poorer than you

then you can feel a tiny bit more pride about your life

 

high definition oblivion, you got so tweaked you didn’t notice you were asleep

couldn’t see how your hatred was making you sickly and weak

choking on life

instead of breathing in life and breathing out life

sure oh sure, how angry it makes you man

when they demand special treatment

but that anger blinds you and then you can’t see

the special treatment you’re demanding for you

is just the same thing

you like saying your special dna is the magic ticket

“i look like this, i don’t have to do this”

“i look like this, i can automatically treat you like shit”

heard that baby talk before, when you were being pushed out the door

you’re not better, not superior, just hypocritical for sure

just another voice whining for the easy cure

just as selfish and pathetic

as the rest of us here on this earth can be when we’re weak

so welcome to the human race piece of shit

you’re right down in it with us

 

high definition oblivion, you’re on something man and it shows

your head spinning around and around, your eyes glitching

ego avatars marching up and down in rows

little faces in little boxes riding algorithms into cages

into social media formations

you speaking gibberish out of both sides of your mouth

something about how you’re the party of law and order

the party of personal responsibility

yet before the eyes of the entire world

you actively tried to bring law and order down

and then came up with excuses and tried to blame someone else

yeah we saw it, we all saw it high definition oblivion

you were so tweaked on preserving your own personal piece

that you had fallen asleep

your head bobbing, your shoulders slumping down

america’s beautiful crown of brotherly love and freedom

too heavy for you

so you tried to drop it on the ground

 

high definition oblivion, freedom’s not falling to the ground

our freedom’s not being chopped up like it was some catalytic converter you stole

you’re not selling it to some russian or chinese smelter you know

for another twenty bucks

so you can go buy another plastic bottle of power trips

and pass out in your truck

desperately combing the dash for crumbs of power to smoke

when you wake up

 

high definition oblivion, hey, c’mon, get up, wake up

put the fucking phone down and keep your eyes on the ball

here comes democracy

here comes the results of a free election you freely voted in

here comes freedom and liberty

here comes another vote on november 8, 2022

and another vote on november 5, 2024

and another vote on november 3, 2026 

on and on, enshrined in justice and the rule of law 

here comes the united states of no american race

the united states of all of us

even you, high definition oblivion, even you

perp walking into jail

it’s just we’re not all going down with you to your holding cell

to watch you fling greedy racist shit on the walls

and tell us that it smells like flowers

we are the united states of consciousness

we are the united states of freedom breathing deep

we are the united states of all of us

the united states of america

behind this mask

in this winter cold, this hi-def screen, all there is for company

i can’t stop imagining, i can’t stop wishing, for what i’ve been missing

the block parties, in the open streets, for minneapolis, in the summer heat

eyes open, screens off, masks done and forgotten, like winter coats in closets

restaurant’s cooking, bars rocking, like new year’s eve, but hot and steamy 

evening’s light glowing, in the new leaves, in the crowns of the tall trees

soon a new day, a new year, a new breath, a new belief

please, bring our humanity til it surrounds me

the sweat, the dancing, the sounds of us

of music just pushing, of bodies just moving, every one of us, grooving

see the skyline’s in moonlight, and we are the crowds in the streets tonight

for a new day, for a new year, for a new breath, for a new belief

but now the frigid cold, now the darkness, now the hard days ahead

 now doubt, impatience, nothing’s changing, nothing’s changing, it’s the same thing

now the news, flashing in, a tragic tally

of all the pandemic has taken from us, and buried

yet when i rise, if i keep my head high, work hard, play it smart for us, us

snot running and itching, behind this mask, in this cold air, for us

in my eyes, on my skin, dawn’s light, here it is

glinting off the distant spires, of empty downtown skyscrapers

on this new day, of this new year, with this new breath, a new belief

to still be rolling

built up in the head, then drifted with snow

desired in the heart, weeks later callusing palms

felt in the gut, pandemic taking employees and customers

snow packed pavement, cold heavy air, quiet dusk

beautiful blue snow, grayish purple winter sky

neighbor’s windows golden warm

draped in christmas lights

neon reds, smells of restaurants cooking

flashing brightly corner store

always a crowd, even when everyone needed more

one more light bouncing off the clouds

hung up over downtown tonight

dripping with dreams, caressed by hands

figured out by two hearts, years later a family

warm baby feet, seconds later softly touching a cheek

highway glowing

engines connected to souls

how much longer til we get where we’re going

hush, let me tell you all the blessings it took to get this far

all the hard work to still be rolling

eyes open kid

it’s hot, it’s humid, it’s dark

the cricket’s and katydid’s songs are syncing

and there’s vines growing on everything

hazy downpours cooling hot night heat

it’s the mid 1990’s, northern virginia

i’m a young man growing

it was overwhelming

eyes open absorbing everything

 

this hot summer night, the crew

as we would often do

we all decide to throw our skateboards in our trunks

get in our cars and ride

to meet at this smooth concrete on grade foundation slab 

some kid had found and spread by word of mouth

if you knew the spot, you knew it was called white banks

and we skated there in the dark

on the lobby floor of a future office building

where the slab thickened for the elevator and stairway cores

there was a nicely rounded hip about 24 inches high

i wasn’t good for much on a skateboard compared to the rest of the crew

i can count on one hand the number of flip tricks in my life i’ve ever landed

but i remember having fun popping some big backside 180 ollies and pop shuvits

all of us busting tricks off that corner for hours

thunder claps, skate deck slaps

huge lightning bolts zipping to the ground

whipping and arcing between clouds

massive thunder clouds pulsating and flashing close to us

just on the other side of the dulles toll road from us

but not right over us

i remember watching closely

the kids i knew were landing tricks

the exact moment lightning bolts split open the air

dude, dude, you just landed that and the lightning it, it, it…

i couldn’t skate, i just stopped, i was silent watching, saying nothing

felt like everything was connecting in that moment

my eyes so open

a memory that comes back 25 years later

like it was yesterday

 

sometimes i’m still that eyes open kid

absorbing everything

silent cuz i can’t figure out the words to say after all i’ve just seen

hey, no, eyes open kid, yo, yo, wake up, say something

it’ll be alright, it won’t be overwhelming

what’s important is what’s connecting

like a lighting bolt between us all

all footprints let go by the sand

5y2zMKyxSSOsz3GGDye2cA

( all credit for the carving above goes to original artist. these words are dedicated to the human being who carved this and placed this )

 

my feet rising and falling

my eyelids blinking up and down

the river sparkling and reflective

as if the sky above was liquid flowing over ground

it feels like i’m walking barefoot careful on the shore 

trying to pick up the hidden pieces of all our broken glass

buried in the beautiful sands of all our lives gone past

broken promises, broken reasons

how long until love and forgiveness

grinds them down into smooth tiny pieces 

like the sand of this river’s beautiful beaches

so your trail walks peacefully

all footprints let go by the sand

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