If I could push you an upgrade.
Straight into your data stream.
Gray matter, matters.
Lack of intelligence, matters.
Lack of intellect, matters.
All the books I’ve read.
All the documentaries.
Topics on Culture. Society. Evolution.
All the stories of tribalism.
War and pollution.
How mankind has always battled ideas.
Ideas that don’t exist.
All the creation stories.
To show how a creator is our common thread.
To show how we are one tribe.
One race, that migrated out of Africa.
To let you know, no one is taking away your country.
No one is taking away your religion or guns.
No one is taking away your identity.
That your country does not even exist.
Because we can never truly own anything.
We can never take anything with us.
Because you are disappearing a little as you read this.
If I could push you an upgrade
it would be open source.
Globally upgradeable. Free.
To make you not see race.
To make you see ONE human face.
Each one different but collective.
Love our common directive.
You would understand quicker. Faster.
Search the past and look for facts.
Not to seek hate but to relate.
Using empathy where there is discord.
If I could only push you an upgrade.
just to let you know, it’s hard. just to let you know, even with everything just right. everything in its place. everyone in love. everyone forgiven. it is still hard. this human race. to finish. to find your place.
have faith. faith in yourself. faith in your neighbor. that there is more love than hate. more likes than differences. be true to yourself. always question. never erase mistakes. work through them. use them. learn.
entertain the mystery. believe in science and magic. let the tragic slide off your plate. laugh hard. learn to be safe, move your body. rejoice in spirit. WE are alive. together. full of grace.
So many years in, when I learn they have a name for this feeling. The feeling I get between MRI scans of the brain. With no pain. Just 3D models of what’s inside. What has been taken and what is growing or even glowing. I thought it would get easier.
That I would never fear another MRI. After so much nice treatment. Cutting, poisoning and radiating. I have run the Western world’s cancer treatment plan for brain tumors. I’ll be going back for seconds and thirds if it gets worse. If it’s a buffet it’s a real curse. When will our lives be turned, upside down. Again. Waiting has always been part of the plan. Not knowing, surviving, not trying to show it. My stomach is upset as I’m typing. It feels like stage fright. Maybe, I should imagine my tumor naked, maybe my doctor too? What are you wearing?
I recently described this feeling to my doctor. I’ve had it for years but it’s had no name. This feeling. Knowing the clinical name for what our family goes through she kind of laughed “Oh, that’s scanxiety.” I asked, “is it natural?” She said, “Oh, yes it’s common.”
You take a lot of anxiety add in a quarterly brain MRI scan. Put the two together and create a new word. Don’t let the patients know what they are feeling was natural, for years. Snanxiety. What a screwed up society? Creating a new word through disease, anxiety and technology. I have scanxiety everybody. No need to worry.
to see them moving back and forth. the bodies. the clothes. the culture. the differences and likeness. in motion. coming from the suburbs to the world’s city to the country’s capitol. seeing is believing. we are more alike than different. we are more one than many. we are all the words written in stone. all the figures captured in bronze. all the monuments to war. all the buildings built to reach the sky. all the bridges passing by.
we went to one world view. looked down into the two square graves with their infinite pools of tears. from above we could see far and wide. into the five boroughs. lady liberty. ellis island. go to ellis island and learn your history, America. learn how we are a country of immigrants. how we all endured hardship together. waiting. worrying. sending for our families to come from abroad. finding hope. here. fighting together for our future.
we walked the capitol mall. looked at all its memorials to our leaders. saw the archives. saw the papers inked to set our country free, as they disappear behind bulletproof glass. the signatures of our forefathers inked. we read quotes of Lincoln, MLK, Jefferson and FDR. the words of progress. their collective call to go forward. to learn from the past. to let equality be universal.
if we could all come to terms with the past. the civil war some still immortalize. the war was about slavery. segregation was about slavery. marriage equality is about slavery. women’s inequality is about slavery. is about power over another. to subjugate. to keep the other down. to keep the past alive, we need ignorance. we need stagnancy. we need to keep the traitor’s flag flying high.
to continue into the future. we need to read the walls. we need to look forward and not fall. to not repeat the past, our forefathers created records in stone. created Washington D.C. so you can travel and understand the death of our ignorance. our fight for independence. to see for yourself. so there would be no doubt.
going from hamburger joint to mental pivot point. thinking of the cow that gave its life and how great it tastes. thumbing through images of mass migrations of war torn populations. being bombed. being starved out. being shaken to their core. the Earth opening up and shaking them apart. two sides of a fault line. i take fault in lies by design. fault in how to define, truth. empathy. history.
i tell my doctor i can’t remember much anymore. he tells me to get a journal and write it all down as such. times and places. facts about faces. who helped us when we needed it most. who are our friends and families, lost connections. i lost the directions. i’m taking so many drugs to survive. i wonder how and why. how did i get so lucky to live and eat like this when on the other side of the world, other side of this town, other side of the tracks, people die so quickly. don’t get medical care victories. don’t get to hear the word remission. get shot at and bombed. needing medicine and surgery. losing their families and towns. losing everything. i’ve lost nothing but memories.
memories of them growing up. memories of who did what. who to be thankful to. the doctor says i’ve lost my short-term and long-term connection. i try and connect them. i look for breadcrumb trails to find my way back. i don’t remember us in the photos anymore. i look hard but i’m disappearing more and more. i survived brain radiation for more time to say i love you.
let me tell you a secret. i don’t read books. i read mostly articles on the internet. i read through books. passages. thumb through them. then put them down. my brain can’t focus long enough to get through a chapter. i used to read. i would read a book a week on the subway on the way to work. that was easy then. there were no screens. no smart phones. the internet was dial up then. i can still hear it now. the ring then the sting of 56K. cell phones were phones. i still had attention then. i still had time.
this is no revelation to friends or family but i felt i must come clean. maybe it was the two brain surgeries. maybe it was radiation or chemo. maybe it’s just me. laziness. maybe. maybe i don’t want to know another story. read something i could never write. be overwhelmed with talent. doubt myself by asking, how could i ever write anything worth reading. anything worth sharing. i hate grammar. but i spellcheck. if it lights up red, i change it.
i want to highlight the internet with red. i want to autocorrect injustice. i want to correct headlines that incite violence. i want the media talking heads to realize how they are leading interviews. how they are pushing their own narrative. making folks say things they never want to say. i want people to know the word thug will never be the new n word. that the n word can never be replaced by another word. that words have definitions and history. that the definition of a word does not change over night.
but then i think, does it matter. will anyone ever read this and why am i so compelled to share. who would ever care what a man writes, who doesn’t read books. who has no audience or title. who has the attention span of a four year old. who doesn’t care for grammar. who wants to change the world forever. one sentence fragment at a time. no capitalized words. very few rhymes.
To have children
while battling a disease
might seem foolish.
illogical. even selfish.
to those who don’t know.
knowing that you most likely
will leave them early.
not able to help complete
not able to teach them
right from wrong.
to not be their parent fully.
to not meet their children.
to some having children
while battling a disease
should be made illegal.
but to us.
to my wife and me,
it’s the love of our children
that makes life worthwhile.
that keeps us from giving up.
that gives us hope for a cure.
to be faced with death.
reminded daily of it.
time ticking into brain and tissue.
it is our hope of living fully again
through them. fully healed.
born vicariously anew
through their free will.
for the sick and the poor.
children are much much more
than a burden on the Earth.
much more than just mouths to feed.
they are love incarnate.
every precious moment.
clinging on, to make it last.
another chance to get it right.
even while the world is pushed
towards its brink.
every day less water to drink.
to the sick and the poor
children are wealth beyond
any measure of gold depleted.
any measure of life
this world might support.
for to us their minds hold the solution.
unborn Tesla’s and Einstein’s revolution.
to one day rise above this planet.
escape its gravity and find
a new home where poverty and disease
are never to be repeated.
I hear the rain drops. outside. the air condition whine. inside. the ceiling fan glide. keys pushed down. the garbage truck off in the distance. i have a wall in front of me with taped up rosaries of love. artwork from my children. a wolf howling. a distant nephew’s scribbling, during lunchtime in his truck. to escape his now.
there is no escape only chatter. the discussions in your head don’t matter. as you miss the moment. forgetting the details. of their first steps. their first words. their first joke. now. i’m more into crumbs and shoes and socks left on the ground. details never to be remembered. the dust of life accumulating. left as detritus to change focus. stop. take a breath. refocus, back to the now.
the truck is getting closer. making its way through the cul-de-sacs. with its robotic arm pumping, making men’s muscles atrophy from lack of hard working. the rain falls solid, sowing the seeds of future seasons. more reasons to see, hear, feel in vivid detail. to scrape off the dust from our eyes. to realize that time is so precious. own it. if you can just listen. keep the moment. practice. hone it, as every thing starts to glisten. breathe deeply. listen.
we cannot see.
Make your lessons clear.
to break the code.
So that we will not veer
from your compass.
So that humanity might
our broken history.
Delete our repeating misery.
from past and future time know.
Do you see the universe as whole?
Beyond black holes.
from dimensions unknown.
Reach deep into the void.
Extract the quantum data.
For the unknown math is God.
Let us pray, you help
us find our way, forward.
Where the Earth is healed.
Where we leave our home to rebuild.
To settle new worlds.
Sprinkling breadcrumbs along the way.
So that others may follow.
Take one step at a time.
Focus on breathing.
It’s harder on the way up.
Focus on the moment.
The crunch of the snow.
The blowing wind.
Listen to the whisper of time.
Find a spot and make it your own.
Make each day an adventure.
We are all small.
We are all children
lost in your shadow.