we are in suburbia, my home, amber loves it

she wants to move here. it’s quiet. i say what about those planes flying overhead.

she says what planes. i say what about all of these big box stores going out of business.

she says have you seen how cheap houses are?

i say what about all the malls dying. she says i have seen zero homeless people.

she says look there are kids playing in the streets. look theres black kids on bikes.

look theres woods everywhere and green grass and clean streets and fresh air.

no grafitti. the cops wave at you. there are two high schools, one just for the freshmen and sophomores so they wont get beat up by the upper classmen.

look at all the land people have. look at the colors. gas is only how much!

lets move. lets move lets move she says.

i say, this is all an illusion, a siren song, a mirage of the lotus eaters.

for winter is coming, sweet valley girl.

and soon the white walkers who bring with them black ice. wind chill.

and all this green grass and leafy trees and happiness

flees to california

where it’s safe.

she says lets move here.

hello from the other side

i ran into some racism growing up in the sticks outside of Chicago but thats not why i flew to LA the day after high school graduation.

i came here for the weather and the pretty girls and a fresh start.

they say you are capable of completely changing every seven years and they say that lots of people do it.

even though i was popular in school and had lots of good friends, i knew from visiting california in the summers that there was something here that was me that would be very difficult to fulfill in the midwest.

there is a drive here. a spirit of creativity, acceptance, freedom.

now 33 years removed it shocks me sometimes to read the things i do on facebook from the people i went to high school with.

the racism is out of control, not to mention the fear and hate and absolute close mindedness.

where did it come from? why does it fester?

we see it so clearly in and around St Louis and gradually now in Wisconsin and Indiana but Sweet Home Chicago?

and why isn’t it here? i know in the 70s and 80s the gangs in South Central were serious business, all based on race

but maybe that was just a totally different thing.

of course theres racism here too but it’s more “i will Not buy a house in Inglewood, Mandy.”

not “omg please don’t ask me to take yoga from Jamaal again.”

i think the secret might be in the stirring of the pot.

in the midwest everyone pretty much stays in the same neighborhoods and area codes.

in the west people are moving in, moving out, swirling and mixing.

especially when you’re young, if you meet a group of people and you call women “girls” or “gals” or “bitches” thinking you’re funny you will get pushback reminding you that you are not funny and if you wish to be funny, make some, you know jokes. real jokes.

but if you grew up with a crowd and you say dumb shit, they’ll let it slide because thats how the tribe survives – you can’t eat your own, you adapt TO THEM not to the whole wide world.

but in the swirling pot of the west you have to adapt to the whole wide world because you want to get along with your neighbor, your boss, your new friends, and that hot babe across the table from you who is from a totally different country entirely.

and so you learn that certain words are unacceptable, but better, that certain ways of thought will stop you from getting laid.


if you wanna be some narrowminded racist sexist modern day archie bunker AND get laid, you might be able to find a small portion of hot babes who will tolerate that sort of nonsense but the world will not be your oyster.

because the world, in general, does know the deal.

and the deal is racism and being a fucking dumbshit is for another time

and another place.

namely the past and not here.

here is the place where new ideas sprout up and solve old problems.

here is the place where i want to swirl the best of what ive got

with the best of what youve got and i dont mean surfacey bullshit things

but things pertaining to the soul

as a starting point.

when i get depressed it is when i start thinking that i have not lived up to the great potential that i dove into when i moved here

and im not living up to what i am capable of.

i know i am no longer slacker from the sticks.

and it’s liberating to know there is nothing here to hold me back

but it’s also frightening because then why are you still back.

why arent you front.

why am i not front.

leading the way.

or even close to the light.

and thats when i appreciate the supportive words of the enlightened who say

your concepts about front back darkness and light

are old

and wrong.

do better.

which is what i almost always need to hear.