Saturday, August 10, 2013

prison bars

the problem with using news as a kind of resting point in your day, an escape from reality, is that the news is horrible, and it just keeps getting worse, although the mass killing and outright slaughter that used to be commonplace in wars is pretty much gone. what i mean is, you no longer have these holocausts in places like rwanda, or the balkans, although maybe syria is an exception, but much of the pointless killing these days is much more under the radar, and instead you have all this other stuff that just makes you feel like everybody is getting way too broke and desperate.

for example, these guys that go around grabbing wallets from open cars while people are getting gas. or they grab virtually anything that isn't locked down - what are we supposed to do, lock everything, all the time? or this new yorker article about police stopping people, taking their money, and their cars, even their homes, and reselling them, just because they can. all this money is supposed to go straight into crime-fighting. and it's supposedly all taken from people who were "committing a crime." or at least under suspicion of it, or maybe appearing to be similar to it, or, in some cases, generally related to some suggestion of a crime. in the modern world the banditry and general greed goes undercover and masquerades as all kinds of things, and the honest or average working person might just as well have "victim" painted on his forehead.

in a way i sheltered myself from some of the hardships of life, intentionally or otherwise, by being in education where you serve sheltered people who all have the money to sit there and listen. now the last bastion of any middle class in the country is really right here in texas, where they still have universities, still have a middle class, and people still go to universities in hope of getting what few jobs are left. i sound very bleak here but in fact our students, middle class for the most part, are not unaware of the general direction of the economy and the general closing-in of this bleak picture on the state. i'd always held out hope that, if the states totally tanked, there would always be canada or peru. canada because it seemed like they still had resources and a good spirit as a country, peru because it seemed like down there they avoid getting sucked up in enormous, costly pointless wars with other nations. but lately it's come to my attention that even these places are suffering the general malaise of the rest of the world. canada is digging up its oil and gas and opening up the arctic which is now all water, poor thing. south america reels from a story i could only read about, that to me showed a little about the repression fostered by years of catholicism; i couldn't even finish reading it. do i really want to live in these places? i grew up here, it was our mistake, when bush stole the election, to do nothing about it, but, now i feel like a frog among many in a large cookpot that is steadily getting warmer. how do you know when it's too much?

all this is blatant negativity and cynicism, i realize. but at times like this i'm unable to write, because i feel that any entertaining story, art, whatever, is merely an indulgence when the world begins to burn around us and the cruelty of the human race is so thinly concealed that it oozes out of the woodwork at every turn. why do i read the news? i'm not sure at all.

i struggle with the degree one ought to jump in and help or interfere with adult children's issues. in a sense i feel responsible in that i didn't prepare them for this world, i thought the u.s.a. would evolve positively, i had no idea everyone would fortress up and polarize into the well-armed and the masses, the insured and the broken. what can i say? i can't make it right. i'm just a leaf in the river, and even my insurance, which i worked twenty five years for, doesn't ward away a sinking feeling that even the medical is part of the monster.

alaska, or minnesota, way out in the woods, rugged winter country, but fresh air, and plenty to eat, and no shortage of water. those are the last possibilities as hope for the future, i figure, the lower forty eight can burn, those places will go on with their few people out in the rugged wilderness. down here in texas, it's kind of an abstraction, kind of unreal: we have thousands of people, active oil-drilling, hard traffic, and a radio full of hate. or maybe everyone has that. anyway we have the hard-burning sun, no water for miles, nothing like a sea or lake. we thought of going to new mexico again; i'm still thinking of it. one thing i read said that all of humanity has to stop burning fossil fuels now...what can i do?

put all this stuff in my novel, is probably what i'll do. you can't stay depressed forever. i put all i had into this one song, called prison bars, then made a movie. the movie took everything that i felt was really bugging me, the dangerous street i cross every day, the glass in the street, the crosswalk, white sands, the vastness of the territory. prison bars is really in the mind. you get out here, the wild wind, the flatness of the earth, a canyon here and there every couple hundred miles, not a speck of water anymore, and you realize, ah what the heck. time to get back up north, maybe. ya can't let it get to ya. the music, now that i hear it again, leaves something to be desired.


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