The future is a hydra
With many grinning heads.
It can only attack
With one head at a time.
The future is a hydra
With many grinning heads.
It can only attack
With one head at a time.
You know what I hate?
I can’t look.
I avoid it because it makes me sick.
I don’t watch the news because it’s poison, twisted scenarios, biased accounts.
Is there even such a thing as truth?
Or is truth in the eye of the beholder?
Science cannot measure ethics.
Science cannot measure a human heart.
When people look into their own pasts,
All they see
Is what they need to believe.
Even history is a tenuous thing.
I know people who believe in history.
It is written by human hands, filtered through human hearts, wrung through the gossip machine over and over.
They say Ramses was king from such to such a year.
This is all the truth that remains.
What does that matter, what does it mean?
But there are patterns of truth
To a discerning eye.
I see the future
Because of history.
I know where we’re headed
Because of history.
There will be no apocalypse.
But the age of America’s empire
Is coming quickly to a close.
Our decay as a nation is imminent.
It will not happen suddenly
But it will happen faster than any other empire’s close.
Technology is a joining of hands.
It accelerates everything.
We learn faster, we forget faster.
We share language and culture faster.
We are running on fast forward.
People are jaded more quickly.
People can see the patterns
In their own behavior
Like they never could before.
And when America falls,
Many of those joined hands
Will be pulled down with it.
Amidst the chaos,
A dictator will rise.
We will choose security over freedom.
That is what humans choose
The world will not end.
The world does not end.
Humanity can survive
But we repeat our mistakes.
Sometimes we even worsen.
Yesterday was beautiful.
Our biggest problems
Were sexual harassment and bullying.
This was a mark
Of our success as a nation.
The cultural backlash
People are getting shunted into camps
Driven away, caged.
Rights and freedoms for all are shrinking back
Into rights and freedoms for some.
I fear we have witnessed the peak.
Today begins the decay.
Maybe it’ll just be
A bigenerational thing
But this feels stronger.
I’m afraid our time is up.
We’re due for an economic depression
We’re due for a major war.
I’m not afraid of death.
I’m not afraid of poverty.
I’m afraid of my own inability to act.
The situation is disgusting
And those in power
Are equally disgusting.
Everything is disgusting.
It fills me with frustration.
Watching the news
Is just a shitshow.
We are watching ourselves
Flush ourselves down the drain.
There are millions of people
Who know how to fix it
Who want to fix it
Who cannot fix it.
I want to fix it
But stronger is my want
For personal freedom.
We might influence culture here and there as individuals
We might start a club, write a book, invent a tool
We can devote ourselves to a cause
And leave a small dent in evil.
But nothing brings true peace.
“DON’T TOUCH THE MYOPATHIC SYCOPHANT PLANT!” The sign read.
The plant was a sickly purple-green. It had wobbly knobbles everywhere, broad leaves, and a great big flytrap mouth. It grew in a cowering shape, looking up at her from its position on the floor.
The little girl wanted to touch it.
She touched it.
It opened its mouth and screamed in pain. Then it collapsed. Upset, the child kneeled and cradled its head. Once this attention was received, the plant immediately started complimenting her and begging for money for its gardener bills.
The exasperated gardener approached. “Who touched that damn thing!” She said, one fist balled angrily on her coveralled hip, the other leading a hose.
The child screamed. She collapsed. She started complimenting the gardener and begging for money.
“You want to act like a plant, you’ll get treated like a plant,” the gardener said. She took the little girl by the shoulder and watered her thoroughly.
The girl stopped complaining and made gurgling noises instead.
When she considered her lesson well administered, the gardener pushed her back in the direction of her mother. “Learn to read,” she said. “Save you a world of trouble.”
The child tottered away, coughing and gasping.
The sycophant plant had seen what just happened. It huddled obscenely at the gardener’s feet in fear until its stem gave out and it collapsed completely.
“Oh, oh, oh,” it said. “You’re so strong and patient, won’t you help me up?”
“Ugh. I’ll get something to help stake you up,” the gardener said. As she headed toward the supply closet, she questioned her life decisions. Plants were getting to be too much like people. Why couldn’t she just garden roses? Roses were beautiful. They didn’t whine or moan or beg. They didn’t even think.
Sure, there were roses in this garden. But they had to be defended by increasing measures from the floral predators. Genetic engineering had gotten really out of hand here. The garden was a noisy place. The plants got into a lot of arguments.
She unlocked the shed and popped the door open. A slight resistance and then a tear. Oh no.
One of the plants and migrated into here and was rooting across the door. She knew which one it was before she even saw the tattered ficus leaves.
“Wandering Masochist! How many times do I have to tell you. You have a home.”
“But I like doorways,” the Masochist said.
“You don’t have to torture yourself like this. You have a home. Go where you belong. You have supportive friends there.”
“I don’t want to.”
“If you don’t want to… then isn’t that all the more reason to do it?”
The ficus’s leaves turned upward cheerfully at that, and it wandered off. Hopefully it would go where it was supposed to be, but she doubted it. It was sure to find a new doorway to root across and wait for the tearing roots again. That thing…
She grabbed a stake, a few ties, and a towel, then locked the door behind her. She stuffed the towel under the crack in the door. That might keep it out, for a little while at least.
On her way back, she tripped over the Deciduous Package Hauler, who, for lack of a job, had grabbed a handful of Panic Pansies and was attempting to haul them to the other end of the garden. She stopped to free them from its clutches, then gave it the stake to deliver to the Sycophant. Package Haulers were working plants, bred for factory life. They struggled in a lush botanical environment.
Letting the Hauler go ahead, she paused to take in an abundant overgrowth of peaceful pink blossoms. Beautifully formed, quiet, unassuming plants. She hung her fingers on the chain link fence before it, careful to avoid the electrified wiring. The fence couldn’t keep out their perfume.
Life used to be simple, back when she gardened with her grandfather. They would pull the biting weeds and spend a guilt-free evening watching them writhe instinctively on the burn pile. They would give graham crackers to the Ghost Cactus. It loved chewing on graham crackers. And as for the roses, all you had to do was plant and water them.
When she sighed and let go, she turned back to work and saw with a shock that the Orange Lynx Fungus had been watching her. Its eyes were dark spore holes, its teeth black drips. It knew the fence was electrified and had been staying away, but now that it had seen her touch the weak spots in the fence, it was sure to figure out a new way in. This thing’s life ambition, it would seem, was eating roses.
Along with everything else in the world.
So what if roses were things of the past. So what if they could no longer hold their own against a rapidly changing environment. She would remain a gardener here as long as they, too, remained. She would protect the roses, even if she could only ever see them through an electrified chain link fence, through razor wire, through impact-resistant terrarium glass if it came to that.
Reading about Huntington’s
Brings back memories of caregiving
The stress, the pain, the joy, the pain, the guilt
The pain, the pain
My heart aches, it’s full of love for her
But I’ve got nowhere to put it.
She knew what she meant to us.
We told her we loved her.
Remember her calling “I love you” to our backs as we left
When she finally managed to get her tongue around the words
Was it three years ago that we lost her?
Is that all?
Is that a lot?
The wound has reopened
And it feels like she’s still in the nursing home
I’m once again feeling that terrible weight
“I have to visit her, it’s been a while.”
Seeing her crumpled up
Like an empty can.
Sitting in my car
The car she gave me
The car she loved so much
She would still ask after that car
Say things like, I’m glad you have it now.
I would sit in the cab
In the nursing home parking lot
Stare at my young hands
Resting on the wheel, just where hers did
Wonder whose hands they were
Building courage, every time
To go see her
For her sake, to go see her
Because of what she did for me
Because she gave me so much joy
Because we laughed together in that car
Getting pizza, renting movies
She drove me to college in that car for a year
We gave rides to a pathetic classmate of mine
Mom scolded me for not talking nice about her behind her back
Although we were both exhausted by her unending need.
I would sit in that car
Behind the wheel now
Despair gnawing on my brain
Dread gnawing on my gut
Knowing I would have to face her again
Face her dying again
Face her confused tears again
Watch her cough and choke again
Her hands clenched into cold blue granite
Argue away her demands for ice cream, diet coke, diet coke, one more diet coke
They said only two cokes mom… okay I’ll sneak you one more
In my childhood I said yes ma’am
I obeyed without question
It was my joy to obey
She accepted me well; I never rebelled against her
Until she was dying
I finally learned to tell her no
I’d spend an hour
Either fielding her demands
Or talking her down from a mental precipice
On good days, I just got to listen
As she rambled through her own fanciful mind
Picking gems here and there for me to examine
Her imagination truly unfettered.
Every day hurt.
I’m going to have to go through it all
All of it
The spiral is coming back around
And points this way.
It’s still far off
Barely visible on the horizon.
I’ve done things I’m afraid of before.
I’ve gone to the dentist
I went and went until I wasn’t afraid
I’ve taken the worst they can throw at me
And trounced that fear.
I’ve ridden roller coasters
I’ve jumped from great heights
I’ve walked alone down dark hallways with the lights off.
I visited mom.
I can face fears.
I can face reality.
I can face grisly horrors
I can face and embrace the darkness.
We all gotta die.
We all gotta lose someone.
It’s okay to be scared
But being scared is a waste of precious time.
I am strong
I am brave
I can take a lot of fucking punishment.
I can take a lot of grief.
I can take a lot of burden.
I’ve been there.
I will be there again.
I’ve been well taught
How to bear things with stoicism and grace.