On One Hand

October 30, 2005

My Defiance

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:18 pm
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When my coworkers and I were getting notes from our boss about how bad we were doing at work, I didn’t care because I was doing well in school, and school was more important.

Then I started doing poorly in school after working 20 hours a week, but I knew I still had friends who could take care of me, and I was living for being creative and for the newspaper.

Then I started struggling with the newspaper. One week I worked every afternoon from the day an article was assigned to the day it was due, and my editor told me that I needed to “actually do some reporting.” My article was cut. So maybe journalism isn’t my thing, I thought, but I had friends still, and I was finally doing better at work.

When one friend dropped me from her life I knew I could spend the night with another for a long hug, and when he pissed me off I could go back to the first. I always had somewhere else to go. I had somebody else’s arms in which to sleep, and nobody was permanent. But when you live like this there is a point you come to, when you realize that everyone and everything is undependable and inconstant, and you start feeling cynical about life.

That’s why I try to be the best person I can. Not because I really care about people, and not because I think good would come to me. I try to be utterly honest and utterly loyal and utterly genuine because it is my fucking protest against everything I see. I need to prove that a human can be good. And I don’t know if that’s really a noble motive.

I’m always searching for that one person who won’t betray me, who I can trust to always forgive me, and who will always be loyal to my needs. I would do the same in return – that relationship would make everything meaningful. But I don’t think there is such a person in the world. So I got to wondering: in an inconstant universe, what’s dependable? Who’s actually worth being good for?

Some people would say that’s God. As much as I try to be rational and skeptical of intuitive thought, I know that part of me has always beleived in God or some sort of universal everything that is real and permanent and meaningful. It’s what makes me who I am: if I didn’t beleive in God, I would join the Business school because I know I’m smart enough to get rich that way, and there’d be no other purpose to life but to help myself to whatever I can get. I would shit on poor people and shit on the environment because there’s no reason to care about things outside myself. I wouldn’t be a Conservative because I’d still want to have sex, but I’d get rich easy while others spend their lives working hard around me yet I’d call them lazy because they’re poor. I’d read Ayn Rand and Capitalism magazine, and I’d support the war. I’d want to stop immigration and lower taxes. I’d mark myself up with plastic surgery to look absolutely perfect and worship myself, then I’d stop writing because it’s not going to make me rich. I would stop being creative. I would join a wealthy Evangelical church for the business connections.

That seems awful; I have no desire to do any of these things.

Or maybe I’d realize that happiness is all that matters, and in hopes of being happy I’d ditch everything and live in the woods for a sane and easy, healthy life. I’m not sure what I would do if I was certain God didn’t exist. I might just kill myself, figuring I might as well get it over sooner. I doubt I’d carry on the same way I do now.

But though I believe, I don’t beleive in God enough; I still think that my own merit matters because humans are unequal, though I know that if God is real, everyone is. I still get upset when my friends do things like talk shit or move on hoping to do better than me. Even the best people do that, myself included, and I think it’s horrible. But if God is real, I’d trust things to work out. I still get upset when people don’t understand how hard it is for me to focus and instead call me lazy, or when they don’t realize that I’m stretched very thin. If there is a God, at least someone sympathizes.

I’m not sure if there’s a God or not. All I know is that the world is clearly flawed. I don’t know if I’d call it “fallen,” and I certainly don’t believe God is so particular as to demand a sacrifice to redeem it rather than just redeeming it by will. The world might be flawed for a reason – maybe we’re supposed to reach out and find each other in spite of our selfishness, to find meaning. Or we’re supposed to realize that we’re not individuals, that all matter and laws are of the same substance, which the Buddhists and scientists are simultaneously, slowly uncovering. That’s what I see as true as of now.

What I know is that I’m willing to follow any clues, and in the meantime I’ll sit here trying to make sense of the ambiguity. And I’m still looking for good people, and trying to do my best.

On an Empty Stomach

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:47 am

Four+ beers
Two cups Jungle Juice (everclear and punch)
Two everclear Jell-o shots
One game of beer pong (won by 3 of 20 cups)
Four cigarettes
Candy corn wedged between friend’s boobs

Party BUSTED! but escaped,

& walked home.

Yet it took a glass of water and half a slice of stale bread to feel really fucked up.

I’m kind of hung over.

October 29, 2005

Clouds

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:19 pm
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If I ever leave Colorado, I’m going to miss the way the clouds here look.

Clouds may seem identical everywhere, but look closely and they’re not. In Hawai’i even the small clouds are thick and heavy, trailed by whisps of mist. They loom silently over you. In Seattle they’re gray and indefinite, linked together like hazy smoke by a general blur of moisture-laden air. In Southern California wedge-shaped clouds are smooth and sparse, unmoving and far-off while the sky behind them is high and dusty blue.

In Colorado clouds are light and cheerful, the purest white I’ve seen in nature against the deep blue high-altitude sky. They appear suddenly and drift quickly past, growing new tendrils and flinging them off like stretched cotton being pulled apart. Thunderstorms are deep and noble, churning from streaked base to ruffled cauliflower-top with crisp, unblurred boundaries. The air around them is perfectly clear to the end of the horizon. White blankets sometimes pour like waterfalls over the high mountains, then spontaneously lift halfway down to leave the foothills open and dry. They’re layered and distinct at their respective altitudes; I’ve seen more types of clouds here than anywhere else – but none look like smog or mist.

I accepted these qualities as a given nature of clouds until I began to see other places.

I’ve longed to live in ecclectic oases like Seattle or Portland, each where an endless sea of green ripples around an island of shining skyscrapers. I love green and trees, especially the huge conical Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce of the Northwest that grow uninhibited under repeated waves of dependable moisture. But the trees here have a different depth and character, as reslilient fortresses that battle constantly with snow, wind, and drought. The Front Range is like a meeting of the arctic and the desert – where snowcapped peaks abruptly give way to the dry plains. Everything about Colorado is borderless abrupt, and I’m in love with the contrast.

You were my first

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:14 pm
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We got away with a lot, you know. Whatever happens you’ll remember our time together as the last time you felt innocent.

I will too.

October 28, 2005

My Nicene Creed

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:05 am
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My Nicene Creed

I am your “flag-burning blue-state godless homosexual muslim-sympathizing tree-hugging communist.”
I beleive the fires of Hell are fuled by burning oil-soaked dollar bills and I’ve seen dribbles of infants’ blood inching down Rupert Murdoch’s cragged chin.
I snort lines of cocaine off the New Living Bible and roll my joints with pages of the Book of Mormon.
I beleive that the best place to keep my gun is sealed in a half-ton block of hardened concrete.
I beleive that a living tree is superior in form to the finest work of art and in structure to the most intricately engineered man-made object.
I beleive that the Whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I believe that Karl Marx wrote the Communist Mannifesto based on Acts 2:44.
I respect the Constitution for what it could say today rather than the “original intent” of dead white bigot slaveholders revered as icons.
I believe in the consent of the goverened, that the United States of America was an illegitimate state until August 26, 1920 and was not free before July 2, 1964.
I believe that the proper target of war is upon war itself.
I believe that the way to increase wealth is to want less – I have seen the hollowed-out eyes of stockbrokers scrounging for a fix with shaking palms and wise men pile straw worldviews of self-interest around their own pride and I do not want a part in that heroin-urge toward deluded evil.

This is what I believe and I do not apologize for nor attempt to defend it against anyone with the eyes to see what’s in the world in front of them.

October 24, 2005

Terminal

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:40 am
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“Herpes?” an attractive twenty-something howled into his cell phone as he rose to his feet. His loud voice caught the attention of travelers lounging in the quiet airport terminal.

“But herpes?!” he howled again. He cocked his head as a garbled voice responded through phone. A red-headed teenaged girl covered her mouth to stifle lighter, while her mother buried her face deeper into her a book.

“Oh no, not me!” he yelled.

“Not from me though.”

“Oh no!”

Slowly the boy’s furled eyebrows began to relax. His face, twisted and anxious, lightened with each moment and his eyes quivered in thought. “Actually, that’s not too bad,” he said, “because if we really both have herpes, neither of us can give it to the other. Oh – we’re boarding the plane – I gotta run!” He flipped the phone off and slipped it into his pocket, turning toward the terminal gate.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:34 am

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October 19, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:35 pm
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President Bush speaking to 1000’s of Boy Scouts at the scouts’ “National Jamboree” during which three or four troop leaders were killed by lightning: “You honor these brave men by living up to the values they lived and died for.” Right, values like knot tying and putting liquid butter-squeeze on absolutely every kind of camp food “so you all stay warm.” I was a Boy Scout so I know this.

Trade

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:14 am
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To write something and expect a lot of people to read it is conceited. In real-world relationships, attention is traded for attention so it’s fair. But if you write a short story and a million people read, you gain a million quarter-hours of attention and you won’t have time in your life to give a million back.

The only way to justify the situation is to offer a different kind of trade: the readers’ hours for pieces of yourself. That’s why writing has to be honest. There isn’t room to hold back on sadness, humiliation or insecurity. Then at least they’re getting something authentic, gaining as much worth as time they spend. It’s only fair.

October 15, 2005

Sandwich Poets

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:34 pm
Tags:
those damn
sandwich   poets
lyricizing between
   cold cuts
        and
day-old pizza,
bursts of laughter
    ringing
 among them.

one comes up
at a party
     - i haven't seen him
       since high school - 
tells me he's so
glad to see me   human
now and those years
spent    sledding
and      keeping up
from 12th grade back
       through cub scouts
    he 
hasn't forgotten.

i wonder, sandwich poet,

have you come into
some        wisdom
these years past
or are you
      just
      stoned?
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