If I’m rereading this I survived. I want to remind myself of that again.
How many dads never drank before they had kids? How many then figured out how to stop? Air level: 13 degrees at midnight. What I joke I’m playing on myself, running trains into tricks in total confusion. I heard these lyrics tonight:
The X of my mentality, or is personality the X or O // I’m playing violent tic-tac-toe.
The club was SO fucking dumb tonight. There’s this one client. We’ve all seen him. Every new person sees him once or twice. He’s a total annoying asshole, but yet, he pays. And that’s why we’re there, right? Make some dough, hustle some green our way, work smarter not harder. All of that work stuff.
I remember one day I found out one of my good friends had a trust fund, from someone else. I really wished she’d told me. “Just don’t be secretive about money if you have it, ok?” I wanted to say to her. I know I was always weird and special in my own ways about money, sometimes obsessed, sometimes annoyed. But shit if you’ve been hungry and cold and killed off dreams you’d be a little special too. Hustling is the closest I’ve ever been to chunks money. Making a life in hundreds. This client is one route to that. He likes teeth. He wants to rub your dress against his teeth and have you try to pull them out with dental floss. I don’t even know where he gets the shit anymore! Its so expensive and hard to come by, but fuck it for all I know he’s a Plasti-dude. So many club guys are.
Inside a City Zone and outside of one feels like I used to read about in shitty old dystopic novels, like there really are only a few ways people can dream up how to live together.
To get Inside takes a pass, and that’s given with one’s matrix of citizenship, residence, and employment or employability. When I’m inside I think of downtown Toronto. Shiny newish and tidy. Recycling bins everywhere and folks cleaning cuz being working class means at least you’re getting paid. Streets lined with bicycle lanes and scooters running on Ethanol3000, the newest fuel.
We call it E3.0 when we talk about it, it’s supposed to take us to the year 3000 there’s so much of it. Made of excess corn and kale, crops less mass-purchased than they used to be, but completely ubiquitous worldwide. It’s not every country that can pay for their crop’s genetic cleansing, and even though the US was able to reinstate much of it’s heirloom agriculture once the shit hit the fan with GMO farms, a bunch of our outsourcing neighbors had to do something useful with the extra millions of bushels that we stopped importing.
Science man — give capitalism a problem that men need fixed and that discipline steps up. Even though E3.0 won’t run in any motorcycle or most gasoline engines made before 2010, it gets the job done if you can buy a new vehicle. If. That requires one of the nicer jobs or a cute cut of down payment gathered up somehow. The professionals in City Zones tend to share them, without calling it sharing. They call it co-owning, renting, zipwheels and it requires a market mediator. I know a few folks who have trucks, old Diesel engines originally converted to run on veggie oil, which also putt around on E3.0. The spark plugs need a lot more replacement and it’s hard as fuck to go over 55, but like the van I once loved said: I can’t drive 55. Anyway these vehicles are outside. Anything that doesn’t pass an emissions test is not allowed inside City Zones. Too loud, too old, and full of unpassables anyway.
Being Unpassable means you can’t get into City Zones. This is not a dealbreaker for living life but it is a pretty much a guarantee that you have a lot less things you can do with your life. Going to school gets you a pass into the CZ but you have to prove you can pay. Loans don’t cut it anymore since you also need to show disposable income, which loans mostly don’t cover. It’s a racket. I MOOCed it for a few years myself, figuring out an accreditation hustle, but it wasn’t easy.
Why was I thinking about this? Right. Cole. They and I went to go into the CZ today. They to interview for a job and me, I wanted company on the way to work for a change. Even though I enjoy my ritual of dressing for success/passing and fully donning the persona of the person who will be safe and enter easily, putting on such an act is much easier with someone else to play along. Together we were a nice young couple, trying to make it, heading in for a productive day. Together we were beards for one another, making our personal mockeries of gender work in a twisted version of a favor stretched out on it’s stomach, everything seen from the back. Today my poor fair skin and their polished tan skin just went in.
Outside, Cole and I share a neighborhood, made up of recovered housing projects and emptied manufacturing facilities taken over, and deeply cared-for tent cities. When movies tried to act like living in poverty means dusty brown exteriors unkempt and ragged, I knew they were written by folks with money. Our small world is brightly colored and swept, thank you. The murals and tags are part of the pretty art that surrounds me in my neighborhood walk. Yes, a stone memorial or a empty building Xed out and then filled with fake flowers actually bring me peace when I see them regularly. These are the signs of life, memory, and singing in and out of the cage. Yes there are broke things and the infrastructure sucks and guess what else — people clean because they want to, not because they’re being paid to do it for someone else. Imagine that, folks even take turns. Being from the east coast this was a little confusing, to see how it was done. Out there we just say what we want and think pretty straightforwardly and I miss that. Here it’s a little more slow, time spent in process. I guess that’s good except for when people trade process for … what’s the word — PRAXIS. Yeah. But I’m an east coast-y do-er and that makes me a little different. You know?
There is quiet. I mean, it’s loud because parts of exploded buildings still fall from trees and sides of hills, where they had been holding on with too much tenacity. Sometimes trains still roll forwards on the still-oiled tracks. Sometimes someone screams. That’s pretty hard on me, I imagine my friends too closely then. Today I tried mapping the face of someone I loved onto the face of a stranger, and I accidentally said to them, “Can I help you with something?” and they looked at me like something was wrong with me they didn’t want to catch off me, a look I’m getting used to.
I was happy that the OWG went first, sad when I remembered that some of them were likable. How were they to know that planes, trains and automobiles were toxic, linked casually to human extinction? Oh wait. Someone knew. Someone knew and didn’t tell other folks. People didn’t talk about it. When they did they didn’t get to change as much as needed to be changed. Of course it’s complicated. Who is responsible for inaction? What about for lies?
A lot of people I loved were getting sick. We city dwellers are exposed to petrol off-gas a lot, even if we drive infrequently. Some people have been born with new ways for their bodies to be formed that are super challenging; Its like the fetuses are resisting coming into such a place. I guess we need them though, we need some help.
BABY YOU ARE TOO SERIOUS
I don’t miss transit. Because the wiry, inventive bike mechanics of the world seem to be thriving, like me. We are more than adaptable to change than we realize. I am figuring things out quickly, I am moving along.
I’m trying to be hopeful, I really am. There’s not much keeping me from being cheery except my own mind right? Sure. I hate basically everything and that’s the only problem, hahah… Not having communication access regularly is killing my spirit more than the time my motorcycle got stolen…
It’s probably good for me too though. I thought about being online less, right? The cell towers out here work about half the time. Usually during the day. At night, I try to work or go out. To get outa my brain. To see what’s around. Its too easy to just stay inside by myself.
OH BUT: I GOT A BIIIKKKEEEE!!!!
Tonight I went out to see a part of the not-City I hadn’t been to yet, on my hopefully trusty bike with its sweet and heavy rubber tires and padded seat. I want to spray paint it all blue and gold. THat would be pretty. I rode with the air in my face and the early evening light giving everything I looked at a sheen of magic. Why is it so hard to look at something familiar and see that glow? What keeps magic sparkling after years of habit and familiarization? If I could go back to Brooklyn now I’d see the old buildings and cramped backyards and abrasive signage and electric cables and green leaves and love them all.
All the girls who never ate, starved themselves,
Puked up LES dinners,
They didn’t make it very long.
The crew I like is called 3hZ, I found out today. Gotta find out why. What they’re up to. Meetings. Building, research teaching. That I can do, too, so I’m trying to get in. But you know, groups.
Everything I touch turns to useless garbage. This is my blessing. Instead of having to toil, I avoid. Instead of achieving, I negate. It’s a bounty beyond belief.
Tonight 14 women and two men checked me out. I’m a lighthouse – can you get to me on your dark ship? It’s cold windwhipped out here. Sailors lunge competitively and I am satisfied. Are you a lifeboat or an anchor? More importantly, I waited all winter to ask, when will you be one of those for me?
Maybe this is my first day of freedom and I cam smell for the first time in weeks, too.
This week has emboldened me. I’m not scared of boys or not having proper navigation. Cities are big but as long as you can find a local person, you can get deep enough in to figure out how to have fun.
And I’m learning the difference between butch and hot and folk and irritating. Not always easy distinctions.
I’ve known people, my past is populated: Gina is someone I met in Montreal who loves to build in skirts. Mike from Cincinatti wants rich activists to wake up. Tim in Pittsburgh books cabarets for fun. Three is more than one surprisingly amazing person in every city. I hope they find each other as much as I hope people like them continue to find me.
Have I flatlined so quickly? There are years I can’t recall – and I’m young. The last month is a blur. Here are some highlights –
- -learning how to navigate ruins [some people and I are working on a map]
- -losing track of my brother while still knowing where my ex boss is
- -realizing I am stone again.
My heart is my life. My heart is black with spots of gold, places where light comes out next to spots that are veiled thickly. Im curious, I forget that matching the worlds inside to outside was possible, worthwhile. Im full of everything potential, and all that means is: I’m gonna get to work.
I’ve been looking for nonhustle work out here too, and even though the ads promise simple work for massive pay, I keep my old friend’s mantra in my mind. We were once walking behind the traveled world, along a service vehicle path on our way to a hideout that we liked to spray paint and smoke pot in. As I huffed over the rocky, abused soil and gasped at the new fence that had been put up which we were, apparently about to climb, she said, “Ha! Never trust the promise of painlessness.”
I’m going out for a bike ride.
I am so bleak today…I’m overwhelmed by the shitty odds of everything. I was talking to some folks at Rhizome last night and from our conversations, I have the following thoughts:
There’s basically nothing to do about harm except live through it or die, right? That’s what we have. Sometimes I hurt you and sometimes you hurt me and sometimes one group hurts another group and sometimes one person hurts a whole group. Sometimes it’s an accident and sometimes its on purpose. Its easier to recover from the latter, to get to hate someone who’s evil. It’s a whole lot harder to comprehend that we’re all a little bit evil.
People will choose to get what they want when they can regardless of if it hurts someone or something else. That’s not mean or dark — it’s just true. It’s the horrible reality of living through lack and of taking care of ourselves being more important than taking care with others. This shit is so evident politically, looking at how this mess was made.
People who owned oil rigs chose to continue to suck the final drips of petroleum out of the underbelly of the ocean even though it destroyed schools of marine life, precious coral reefs, and when the rigs were badly maintained and caught on fire people died. They chose this because they wanted the money, and the power of having petroleum.
People who owned car companies chose to buy out mass transit in cities and shut it down, so other people would be dependent on cars to get around, rather than let something get built that would challenge the usefulness of the vehicle industry. And so rather than trolleys and subways being built after WWII, it was suburbs and sweet-looking cars.
People who control armies send other people off to die, telling them its for some giant national cause. Something noble. Really though it’s so the people in charge of the armies can get into books, can get shiny medals that other people don’t have, and can be famous for their way of doing things being the most effectively sneaky and violent. Meanwhile, the folks fighting see all kinds of horrible shit, take in more than they can handle, and can’t simply return to normal life again.
But barely nobody gives a shit about that fact of war, those who do are called bleeding hearts by the normal in City Zones. But fuck them, too, because there’s other ways people take care of people. There’s the healing thingies. There’s other things too.