Moving Forward

This story is about an inexperienced wandering I who is thrown into a present which sends the past into complete disarray. Futures and pasts conflicting and loving each other. The environmental collapse swirls around us, it is past the apocalypse (that grew slowly) and a time which resembles our own. It is a futile attempt in the scheme.

Moving Forward

 

I woke up walking. An orange sun burning over my head and an endless field of dust surrounding us, the whole world a shade of brown. I was on an urgent mission to the top of a mountain. As I looked around, our tour group and guide seemed to have been left behind, only her companion was still leading our small party. It was a skinny wolf, with the colorings of a coyote, and eyes that would never touch you. After a long time of walking up this mountain, one incline, I turned to the others who had decided to keep pace with the dog and leave the others behind. I asked them, “Where are you from?”, and turning to them I realized they were lovers from a time past, when I was a thief, living off the meat inside the broken shell of law. We three had made love in a squat as best we could, loving each other in turns, kissing our anxieties into the pillows, rolling in our own heat and our limits undoing. Now in front of me they were like strangers again.

They told me, “We came from another planet, the skies and their children began to change, everything died, and we had to leave. We received no solidarity, the air was empty.”

“It’s like what’s going on here. The climate is changing and it feels like we’re all being buried alive.” After uttering this sentence I realized that I had no idea if I was still on Earth or not, what its state was. Were people still going to the bodega and buying lottery tickets and scavenging from dumpsters like they always were, or are all the towns empty now, but the movie theaters keep their projectors glowing.

In Another life, these two were guides on the refugee trail that led into fortress heaven. Now we were all tourists on a mission. At the top of this mountain surrounded by bushes and dust, there was a train, this train led to an airport, the plane inside this airport led to another place. We returned to the silence of our thoughts and footsteps, slowly approaching the top.

 

I have been dreaming recently of being a guerilla. I thought that once not too long ago. Now I am sticking a metal tool into the holes of a Lamborghini, opening it up under the wheel. The car comes to life and me and one of the lovers get in. We don’t have guns although we should’ve brought them. We had a conversation beforehand about how strange it is that people do assassinations mostly with guns, but never with cars, even though in reality they are a far more common means of destruction, assimilating thousands of bodies per day into the pavement to the rhythms of work. Our target was some energy CEO, a face we had memorized. The place was at party in a gated community where he was to make one of his few appearances. The only people there are leaders, CEO’s, grand mages, their families, and their body guards who swarm the place with black suits. We raced up a small twisting road surrounded by big oak trees that leads to the top of the hill where the party is. Cars are parked on either side, I gently twist the wheel to make it dance around the curves. As we move farther and faster up the hill the trees begin to disappear and turn slowly into concrete, our dance becomes tighter and smoother. Eventually we reach the top. Our headlights pointed into the middle of a party, everything is normal. Servants serve drinks, people laugh and smoke, and suddenly I see him right in front of the hood. I never noticed before, but our target really resembles my father’s old boss, he was a kind old man, with deep set eyes that bulged out from their caves, a hawk’s nose, and a talent for respecting the young. Do all bosses look the same? I only noticed their similarity as my mind rested on the gas pedal and I consider it all again. His brief look through the windshield at us, having no idea that his death is coming, just a car, just people, just a final moment.

I hit the gas, he continued walking slowly away from the car. We race towards him and he makes a small step out of the way, or maybe I swerved at the last moment I don’t know. Now we are about to plunge off the hill that he is walking down, we ditch the car and fall and the car takes off. The car flies over his head, he doesn’t seem to notice, and lands in front of him and continues rolling down the hill into the middle of a fancy suburban Beverly hills road. None of this has made him blink or even look around, he strolls towards his home. We run after him, as he looks back at us we hide behind a minivan. He has seen us though. What can we do? We don’t have a gun, we don’t have anything, only our hands. We look at each other, she looks away first and walks straight after him. I try to find the car, but can’t, its turned into a Prius. She meets him and immediately gets hit in the face, she falls on the ground each kick hitting her ribs, she stops moving and I can feel her slowly becoming a memory. I rush to turn the car around and suddenly I’m on the main boulevard. Stuck behind lines of traffic, red lights, a thousand wheels stopped, the whole world saying wait. I wait at every light except the last one, and when I return to the scene, they are both gone.

Entertainment Anxiety

A deadly distraction latched its mouth to my eye

its body is translucent

it flies at 30000

its a cramped chair of innovation

its every face forward

its a like illuminated on a wet road

its an apology for smell (of indian food)

its a carousel spinning into a CGI galaxy

its the ultrasound of an aborted audience

its a field goal of suicide

its collectively tagged to a sneakers image

its the rubber accusation of makeuplessness

its waiting longer because you already waited so long

its the echo of endless checking

 

entertrainment anexiety

Identity, Art, Immolation: Trust with the Gun in Your Hand

 

Our points of departure are our imagined walls. Our society functions in a collective manner through the coordination of exploitation and the distribution of the things we ‘need’. ‘Need’ means every piece of the world that we experience (or look over), especially in the urban centers (rain and sky included). Every chunk of rubble, every averted gaze as you walk through the park at three in the morning, every chocolate bar at the checkout line which no one seems to pick up, they all pay their part. Every-thing is a commodity, art helped turned the gentle unpronounceable nuances of touch, one of the hardest things to quantify, into another precious moment which makes that romantic comedy worth going to see in its three-thousandth variation. Artists are dangerous soldiers of perception, their craft is ‘problem solving’, and making wanderings productive. Art has also played an integral role in creating the big tribe, ‘the nation’, and is our only way of understanding capitalism or even strawberries in our present stage of civilization. To look at fruit in the supermarket shelf, is to imagine the poor brown hand somewhere hot picking, the boat crossing invisible lines in waves, the ‘far-east’ plastic stickers slapped on the skin, the fridge truck, then your world, where one worker passing put its shiny body under the fluorescent lights. But where it comes from is the same place the white bare feet in the grass come from in an ad for antidepressants. To imagine the line where it became ours is to imagine a place where ‘our people’ exist, which means a similar reference we can all conjure individually.

Is there a tribe which isn’t mostly conjured/mediated? Is it always about scale? Sadly human beings have a certain size and we have to deal with these limits until our bodies are transcended (uh-oh). Our imaginary communities are becoming larger as our real ones decline. Not only that, but the imagined community because of American cultural imperialism has started to become universal (if malls are our embassies, is Spongebob our Esperanto?). Our real tribes include everyone we interact with on a regular basis. It isn’t chosen, it isn’t based on love, what makes our people “ours” is as based on resentment as it is on respect. Love comes from and with the little annoyances. This essay is about destroying our walls, the primary one being identity.

Everyone knows about walls: they are constructed lines of perception and feeling. A house is nice because you don’t have to see your neighbors and they don’t have to see you, the cold doesn’t come inside and you don’t go in the cold. Our fiefdoms, our domains, are not without regulation however. We have housing catalogs for our design, we have appliances we must posses, we have building codes which determine its body, and we have to keep money in order or else a paper will be signed and our little fortress will be under siege. The dialectic of walls and of homes are identical in our popular discourse. The walls of a prison aren’t the same as the walls of a home in terms of perception only because the whole outside of the prison is our home. And for those inside walls mark the atmosphere.

The struggle against prisons necessitates the destroying of prisons and of the category of ‘prisoner’ (hopefully ‘criminal’ as well). Making a friend means opening up, making yourself vulnerable, and in doing so, materializing yourself by breaking through your own image. What was perceived of you, what suit society has chosen for you, and which you personalize with pins, tattoos and experiences becomes transcended in destroying that suit or through recontextualization: you can try and throw away your TV memories or connect Homer to your father. Fantasy is true in as much as we all dream, when we dream ourselves is it based on words or feelings?

We organize in our tribes based in real lies which cannot be underestimated: racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. have material consequences, you get hit with this law, or this baton, or with this noose, or this gas, based on what the imagined baggage is. Organizing on the basis of shared oppression, we both get hit by this bullet at around the same time so lets get together and grab the gun, makes sense in this context, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are being defined by being shot, and by the historical legacy of being shot for a long ass time. Our enemies shouldn’t be able to pull our smiles with hooks, and we shouldn’t appreciate it just because now we can see each others teeth.

I am proposing that we make identity what some make of revolution. In communisation discourse, there is a critique of the 20th century movements for liberation which goes something like this: the workers never succeeded in building communism because instead of trying to destroy themselves (the category of workers), they wanted that category to rule. (This can be seen in a similar way with some decolonial movements as well). They wanted to take the wretched position of making things for the market and being defined by how you sell your time, and have themselves take over the formal management of that position, to make a society of masterless slaves. To succeed they had to take the thing that made their movements so enormous (their shared condition), and unite in order to destroy their unity of oppression. Lets go to the root, organize, and build with what we love so that we can destroy everything. Why does youth still get the burden of praise, of hope? Not just because they embody the cherished aesthetic (of being far from death), but because they have the ability to get a desperate breath of air above the water of norms and boundaries which floods our society, they can taste the air beyond our fetid walls. Their definitions are constantly in flux, and encouraged to be so (cause it could save us all, or make us an extra gold brick). They are the identity which is encouraged to break the others, until a certain hard limit when the tanks get brought in.

Our identities have to be fractured as well, or reimagined with such careful destruction that they resemble their old selves only in their choices. We want a careful adulthood, past the rebellious teendom which caricaturizes so much of anarchism (plain negative), taking our ancestors to task and not being afraid of that symbol of friendship: criticism. Our movement in the US is small and fledgling, it has the self-aggrandizement of a toddler who views all of the world and its objects as its extension, but we can start to make it ours and in doing so destroy the categories which hamper us. We also have to carefully examine our traditions and not idolize them so that we don’t end up playing dress up as ourselves.

To overcome our own identities we need bravery, we need spaces of random encounter, we need the active resetting of environments (so that their implications are in flux and so that they can compare to normality), we need to understand friendship as an organizational structure not in the activist way because it can ‘get things done’, but because it puts you in a state of vulnerability in which you can view yourself honestly and adapt, because we have to fight the false commonality of our perception, we have to fight the generalization of life as mundane and identity as historical and bounded. Identity has never been owned until an idea could be sold. Unity is a falsehood and one which attacks our integrity and disrupts our ability, we are not looking to love everyone, we are looking to be free. What is in need most is sold to us poisoned, we have gotten self-creation only along the rules of the commodity (social media, gig economy, networking, avatars, etc.). What we need is the reskilling of sociality, the deep steps of self-creation. What we want doesn’t exist inside of us, but between us.