American addicts

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It started with a collective itch, absorbing unseen elements. Seeking and searching, we all left and met here. Hopeful the unknown would be better than the known. But still craving, switching spaces. On to the next psychological shift. Give us options, and we’ll name the poison. The united states of faces falling to the ground. Another cage of syringed bodies. Just human. Still animal. Sure, we can migrate to a new state. We can evolve. But what’s next? Mental awareness morphing into mind control. He talks like a robot. A meditative/medicated existence, far removed from the jolts of the past. Blacking out the rising sun. Looking out turns in. Don’t let them see muted emotions. Fear and insecurity tucked into a belt. Veins popping out. Red with misplaced anger. Blue with pain. A splitting people. Either you care about others or you don’t. They say it doesn’t affect them, it isn’t real, but their children will singe. Blur this dirty scene, a failed humanity experiment. Phase from consciousness. Lean on the mind and leave reality. Or leave the mind and enter reality? Maybe it’s not that simple. Who cares if we can turn it all off? Focus on the breath. An unthinkable chance for many. Those who cannot escape. Those before us. Stoned apes eating mushrooms. Circling around the fire. Making sense of sounds. They couldn’t afford to shut it all up/off. Why do we think we can?

Vehemently speaking

Mixed thoughts and feelings from the last few days. A prose poem about the Kavanaugh hearing & repressed memories of sexual assault.

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Drinking parsley tea, watching the hearing. Disgruntled by the dirt in the details. The shit in the obvious. Read this, mister. You should be worried we don’t believe lies like they did before. Muddy the facts and make it about his résumé (cool), his basketball practice (well done!), his grades (congrats!), and wait, his faith (still his, not this). But sir, one thing does not lead to the other. Let us explain in simple logic. Boil it down for you. Heat up the water please. I need some more tea for this anxiety. If he lied about that, then would he lie about this? Distract from the past. I don’t even wanna think about him anymore. Maybe buying a new bra will help me ignore. Can always fall back on this capitalistic bliss. Our small is their extra large and it’s starting to seem like we’ve bitten too much. “Oh you don’t like underwires?” laughed the salesperson, “that’s cute.” This isn’t working. Flashback. Manhattan, 2011. 2012? Couldn’t even tell you the year, let me check my calendar. Flashback. The guy who drugged me, pulled down my pants, and threw me in a room with his friend. Woke up on the bed, from open eyes to open eyes, with him behind me trying to do something. Still not sure what he did. Fuck that kid. Fuck all of you. Few of my exes too. The one who wouldn’t take no and the one who told me to go. To be quiet. Who gets to show rage in such a high place? Oh wait, can I show my emotions now or should I hold off a bit? Please oh please keep telling me how to be. Ha. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.” Truth and lies can both cry. It doesn’t matter if you “like” or “don’t like” politics. Let’s call this place the divided states. Rewrite the compromise, draw a new line. Really wouldn’t give a damn, just preserve the land. Or let it burn and I’ll escort you to those fiery gates of which you believe, but don’t worry, you’ll still wake up in your bed tomorrow morning. Smash open the eyes on your head. Everything will be the same. Welcome to yourself. May that face never change; no one will ever know your name. This was not written for you, or you. But, you. We see you.

West

Three hundred years ago he moved from Bern and changed his name from Aebi to Avey to sound a bit more neutral, a bit more American. I’ve been thinking more about what it means to be American. Who, how, why. I have some reference points. It was easy to move to Germany. Music I know is everywhere I go. My Colombian father-in-law told me to hide my passport because it might get stolen. I underestimate that blue cover. The public schools and libraries. Hiding a heritage of human sorrow and potential. Somehow still allergic to this land. Poison oak forms a resistance on the trails we blaze. Oozing with red bumps, making me question the way. I’m the non-native species. Make it more American. But how? From the jazz to the mundane. Paint the spectrum black or white. The distance between what you know and want to know lies in what you create. Between places you’ve been and places you can’t imagine. How could it be so hard to write under your parents’ roof when they gave you every neuron? Drive north on the 1. A loud bed and breakfast might be awkward. Let’s take a quarter and go explore. Another pioneer couple walking on a boneyard of tree branches. Looks like beach cheese. Sitting halfway up a Monterey cypress. Staring at the setting sun with the moon to our back. This place makes me sleepless. I heard a man inside the wall with a pickaxe. Crumbling down the structure from the inside out. But then the mother of slumber blacked out my vision with her placement of fill-in-the-box. I’m home. Horace Greeley might have told you to “Go west, young man,” but I’m called by the wild poppies and cortaderia. Those here before us. Junipero Serra paved the way, killing with faith. Priests on a mission overlook young women. Left out of the literature. I’m pulled in by the Pacific, the way redwoods hold on to their neighbors’ roots. Prioritizing nourishment. A church turned grocery store. Looking at another “All Are Welcome Here” sign made Sam ask what that says about other places. A bold statement against a dark reality. But damn this place is hard to reach.

Mist

You struggled to park an invisible car on Fillmore because your piercing was stuck to a fire hydrant. Stuck like the rest of us. Under another spell of moral authority. Believing real emotions drawn from deceptive acts. A medium slips voodoo bags in all the right places. A spiritual advisor advises a touch. A guru reaches too far. The priest hides it all. Power seeks vulnerability, speaking in silence. Those who can’t afford buy lotto tickets. Talking to God, never hearing back. Hoping and hopeless for another chance. Anything to divert attention and responsibility from this current mess. Enters the magician. Playing with projection to manipulate. To create a feeling of awe, allure, amazement. Shock value. And we love to feel, even fear. The heightened pulses and rising temperatures. Cranking up fields. Just the way the man behind the curtain likes it: wrapped in a mist of confusion. Divine delirium quiets. Shh, don’t question it. No reason to reason with fog. But what really happened? Pure deception and perception. Hinging until it breaks and you see the truth underneath the pain, the shame, the neglect, the harm. A universal craving for psychological attention. Falling into traps and release.

Thoughts on a tropical vacation

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The privilege to pause. Under the fan of a whitewashed Colonial deck. That’s the first mango tree I’ve ever seen. This place reeks, humid with humans. Reserving a spot to lounge all day. Smoothing out stripes under mutating rays. A welcomed breeze. The bluest blues. Beers and fries with lunch. And this expectation to love everything about it. To match the atmosphere. Don’t worry, be happy. How could you be anything but in a place like this? Doused in SPF 50+ and bug spray. Still the only one with mosquito bites. Just five more days… Should I have a drink? “You can swerve on the road, you won’t get pulled over.” These bridges are empty anyway. How is this even Dutch? Was it peaceful, was it violent? It was violent. Abandoned multicolored mansions built on sand. We reminisce the past, but can’t remember it. We were never there. Hand picking parts of a whole. Thousands of slaves passed through these stone walls and I couldn’t find a sign. Just a mall. “Real Curaçaoans don’t like the Dutch,” she said. But so it is. They pour in to sleep and swim and pose on the beach. Fly in for a season or two to take the better service jobs. Front of house, pouring French wine. A hostess from the Hague said she likes it better here because the people greet each other. Hi ma’am, yes ma’am. How do you do? Can I ask you a question? What’s the source of that custom? I’m just looking for some sugar. The locals work the night shift  the cashiers, the janitors, the guards of gated communities. Descendants of stolen people. Pay the price to enjoy. A golf course in the desert. This island always catered to his comfort. But the checkered families brighten my mood. Feeding stray cats kipper snacks. A live band rotates at the Miles jazz bar. Drums, bass, timbales, congas, piano. La vida tiene sabor and it’s thick. Culture rich. A quarter later, gigging in my highchair. Now I can relax. “So what..?” written on black shirts. Dutch punks with tattooed arms serving Curaçaoans straight. Cuban rum, Italian grappa. The first Pernod I’ve found in Latin America. Ass sweat on a wood seat. The kid’s frown itself was jazz music. The kind of rhythm you don’t learn. Hands so fast you can’t see. The lights are shaking. Rastas speaking Dutch. Music as resilience. A lineage of pain. But somehow smiles and tunes so unifying. Warm. Sam, wake up, there are pink flamingos outside. Of course the church habla español. Why is Daddy Yankee headlining the jazz festival? Spoonfuls of full-fat European yogurt. Gouda and salami. We met a Dutch guy who’s been living here for 14 years over rolled tobacco. He showed us on his phone the finca he bought outside of Medellín. Said it cost close to nothing. His son speaks four languages at four. Almost stepped on broken glass on the floor. Tiny shells in my pocket. A lizard came to my call. Question where you lay to rest. We have access to the information, but will we use it?

Inside a high mind

The urge to preserve. Keep my few things organized. A pink case for my fineliner and gel pens, separated from the pencils, separated from the markers. Within the case, a small bag for my eraser and sharpener. Everything in its proper place. Set aside to ~save~ some future time or ease this high, racing mind. Compartmentalizing thoughts into objects. What’s the point? It’s a Thursday morning and I don’t know what to do with myself. I could open an app, any app, but they all give me the creeps right now. I could read, I should read. I could pack. We’re picking up and going again in two weeks. But I can’t be bothered to pack. Maybe another bowl. I don’t feel drawn to anything in particular, just pulled by various keys I type into this board. Launching sites and distractions to new stimuli. So much to know. So much to see. So much to hear. But right now I just want to turn it all off. Airplane mode, wifi off, just a notepad. Maybe a book. Why is it so hard to turn it all off and focus on the words in front of me? Others take their place. Sentences keep lining up into endless thoughts. Of what? Mush. This to that to this to that. People places things. The music in the cab home last night. Some concepts of reality and insanity. Things keep moving and I don’t know why. “Slow down, try meditating.” If I had more or less to do would I think less or more? This strain of weed doesn’t work well with me. Override. Overkill. Overthrown. It was free, and it works, so I can’t complain. But it must be an indica. A weird one. Prefer the way sativa rearranges my mind and tricks myself into thinking everything I’m working on is the most important thing I could be working on. Illusory efficiency in doing. This high makes me want to melt into a sandwich or watch HBO or mindlessly think about what to do next, until there is too much or nothing to do next, until I spend an hour, or one minute, thinking about what to do next. Uncertain. Where’s Sam? Maybe if we were both high we could figure out what to do next together. Instead I’m just looking towards west-side Medellín and wondering if I’m capable of reading this book in front of me. One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’m nearly half-way through, but I haven’t picked it up in a while. Read others since. I don’t remember where I was on the family tree. Which generation? So many characters. Trying to find where I left off in lines and names across time.

Away

It’s easier to establish a voice after leaving home. Surrounded by expression so foreign from my own makes me feel more alone. And there’s comfort in the solitude. Background voices merge into a mush of sounds. Hidden in a cafe, away on a train. Language becomes noise. Until I hear my own. That familiar accent pierces past and I distract. Mind deciphers meaning. “We sold two so far.” “She was so wasted she couldn’t stand.” “Should I be writing this all down?” The words of others crowd my mind and expel any I want to read or write. Familiarity pauses attention. Everything stops. I fall under a spell of the known, craving the strange again. Lips moving in silence. Everywhere I go, one language turns up the volume and pulls me back. Drowns out stream of thought. The others become a sea of sound I can sense, but not grasp. A loss of comprehension can liberate. Submerged in the unknown, searching for significance. An inner voice becomes more clear. More distinct. I can think.

La ciudad de la eterna primavera

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Where the sidewalks stop. Sending a letter in the mail can cost you 120,000 COP/41 USD, but a joint 2,000 COP/.70 USD. Every new apartment comes with servants’ quarters attached to the laundry room. Buses and trucks push black clouds into your pores. Would you like meat with your meat or more meat? Men, this. Women, that. Everyone is looking. ¿BIEN O QUE? Run before you get hit. Breast and butt enhancement. Worship God and a virgin. “Oh my, how this place has changed.” Hasta abajo. High interest rates at banks. GOOOOOOOOL. Thunder. Fruit you’ve never tried. Grocery lines that are never express. Rat tails. Arepas con quesito. Please take a number. Maximum capacity. “No, no, really, hire a driver.” Mr. Tea at the country club. Pico y placa. Unfinished buildings, unfinished business. Días violentos en la comuna 13. Mazda, Mazda, Mazda, Renault. Venezuelan migrants trying to get their families out. Saturday sin, Sunday mass. “Yo no creo en las brujas pero que las hay las hay.” Numerology readings and pink quartz somehow under your pillow. European backpackers flocking to resort hostels to sit on the beach and drink beer. Selfies so they know. Chicharrón everything. “Restaurants don’t let me park my taxi outside when I’m a customer, so I don’t really eat out.” Don’t question, have faith. Buenas. Nonconsensual reggaeton. Got cut in line for the cable line. +DMT, -TV written all over the city. People say hi. Hooks under the table. Don’t give papaya. White lace on a five-year-old girl. Her brother almost went priest. Juice with added sugar or milk? Postobón brings the family together. Weekend lunches into TV marathons. Magic realism can’t extinguish the trash fires, but the butterflies are real. Long tees asking if you wanna buy some coke. More likely perico (not the bird). Trauma. Un tinto, porfa. Bricks. Near misses on motorcycles. Feedback loops break with a punch in the face. Two condors poisoned in Tayrona. “It’s God’s Will.” Cream paint job with tinted windows. Still a patrón. Don’t say his name. Salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia, vallenato, champeta. Brave bicyclists wearing facemasks. Nada cambia. Single/American/male tourists who often refer to themselves as digital nomads and openly cackle over the conversion rate. Parents hustling candy at traffic lights. Sniffing gasoline will suppress the hunger. Medellín es una chimba. A child begs for money while an older man watches from a distance. The leaves will breathe it all in and spit it all out until the valley suffocates.

Goodbye Berlin

Saying goodbye to Berlin. All the history, the hofs, the cafes, the dark hallways. Messages in bathroom stalls. Strangers and smirks and lit uBahn station tiles. The haircuts, the black. Dogs waiting outside Lidl off-leash. Seven spätis on my block. The canal. Sourdough brötchen for breakfast, with extra butter. The zimt rolls. Working at Clue. Kotti. The first time I tried to pronounce Straße. The complaints and the appreciations. Grey skies in winter. Fucking February. Sonnenallee. Hermannstraße. Karl-Marx-Straße. An apartment all to myself. Quiet mornings. Summer sidewalk seating. The smell of cigarettes. Nah? Sunset at 4pm; sunset at 11pm. Candle-lit bars. Clubs with no phone policies. Femme attire including white sneakers on the dancefloor. Faces full of speed and ketamine. Event poster on event poster on event poster on event poster. The first warm day of spring. 3€ slices at Pazzi. Buying groceries at the Schillermarkt. Cherry blossoms and momentous parks. Eyes on thighs and catcalls. That one pitbull on Dresdenerstraße. She’s not there anymore though. Grunewald? Bad pot at Hasenheide. Learning the proper sauna regimen. Nudity. Being scolded by an aufgussmeister. Seeking bougieness in Mitte. Falafel und halloumi teller, bitte. Azzam. (But Maroush is better.) Reminding grown men not to litter. Open air festivals. Feeling empty then full. Looping thoughts. Australians, Australians everywhere. Natural wine. Getting into Berghain. Not getting into Berghain. The wedding caravans of honking Mercedes. The wedding dress shops of Neukölln. The chocolate cake at L’eustache. Ambulance sirens. Keith. Blaming and praising Angela Merkel. Sitting topless at Tempelhof Airport. Funkhaus. Being called Frau. Spilling gluhwein at Christmas markets. Unapologetic PDA. Still saying hella. Babies in backpacks and bike baskets. Abandoned TVs and mattresses. Cryptic heartbroken messages. Gold plates under your shoe. The Ausländerbehörde. A mountain made of rubble. Trees you wish could talk. Rides on the front of his bike. Music everywhere. The people. All seeking and leaving and finding and hiding and yearning and making and changing. See you soon/never/always.