The Time Has Come (a poem dedicated to antifascist fighters!)

The time has come,

The end of generational ignorance is near.

Revolution.

There is no more denying,

No more procrastination,

For procrastination is the rebel’s enemy.

There is no more time to waste,

Revolution

Is a formula.

A formula of transcendence,

A guide to peace,

To march,

To victory.

Kim Kardashian and the Lowest Common Denominator

Trump is the byproduct of all our willful apathy and blissful ignorance under the neoliberal life we have been leading since the time of Reagan. Kim Kardashian coming to the White House to discuss prison reform is a massive embarrassment, this is very true.

However, I honestly hope no one was surprised by this. Of course Trump invites the famous self objectifying illiterate to discuss a major political issue instead of someone more qualified, such as literally anyone else. What we forget though is that we created both of these monsters.

We created Trump by not taking anything he said or did seriously until we realized 46% of the country actually voted for him. We created the Kardashian / Jenner enterprise the same way. We let them exist and swallowed their representation, mostly out of that diluted sense of “irony” that made us watch Jersey Shore or whatever else MTV shat out in the late 2000s. My point is this, by letting them exist in our world, by letting their followers continually validate them, we are guilty of enabling this white nationalist, tasteless trash of a presidency.

Trump and Kim are both symptoms of the system of capitalism. Both exist and succeeded because we consumed their work, either we did it “ironically” or we allowed their actual fans to validate them without realizing the repercussions of allowing it.

By letting Trump and Kim have their shows, their products, even if we choose to ignore them, we allowed them to grow, to exist.

So it should not come as a surprise that two people who are famous merely for existing in our media would be treated to the perks of societal influence. I’m not shocked or enraged that either one gets to sit in the White House, I am simply annoyed that we let these fucking idiots exist and receive validation to the point anyone would ever trust their opinions on anything. There is nothing cool or ironic or edgy about following or dissing either the Kardashians or Trumps anymore considering how saturated our society is to their influence.

Sorry to spoil the fun, but they aren’t just annoying pigments of the media anymore. They are threats to the structure of our society. One is a white nationalist who is infiltrating our federal courts and agencies with people supportive of his imperialist agenda, the other is someone with no knowledge or authority on anything who is constantly validated for some reason as a source of knowledge and authority, on what I do not know but when you have 20 million twitter and instagram followers people listen to you even if they do not know what the fuck you are talking about.

To hell with them both. Revolution is the key to finally dimming the spotlight we have kept on both these idiots for too long. End the stupidity, take the fact these people exist seriously, and get rid of them.

What good is a broken man?

What an era to be alive.

Yet how can one call living with no dignity living?

Crawling on knees to get to a safe place to release your bowels,

Begging from mercy from an overweight class traitor with shit aim

Only to get 6 bullets in the back.

For a cell phone.

Can it be called it living to beg for help?

Only to be denied it?

Only to be killed for it?

Only to be mocked for it?

Can it be called living?

So many men,

And even more hurt women,

All because therapy is either too expensive,

So we put the burden on the femmes.

Therapy,

Too expensive,

Or not manly enough.

Wouldn’t want weakness, or tenderness to show,

No,

That’s how you end up with six bullets in the back apparently,

And lose your ability to walk,

Think,

Or breath.

That and skin of deeper tint which will act as hate’s magnet,

For what good is a broken man?

What good is fear?

What good is pain?

What good is a broken man?

And who can love something that is broken.

My Recent Car Wreck; Trauma Will Not Win

Like many young writers who play the professional game I picked up a part time job for some extra cash and experience to keep my resume flowing while I still look for the door to kick in and put my foot. I started canvassing for rent control in the city of Sacramento and felt wonderful about it. The hours were flexible, I was working with friends from the DSA, BLM and the other organizations as a part of a cause I whole heartedly believe in. I was getting a work out from walking door to door, it was everything a young writer needed.

Then, on Wednesday March 21, 2018 at approximately 945pm, as I drove home from a normal shift, it all happened.

A sedan in front of me was going 30 mph in a 40mph zone, both of us were in the right hand lane. I merged into the left lane and raised my speed to somewhere between 40-50 mph to pass the car, who I see in my mirror has slowed down because they were texting. I merge back into the right lane, then within ten seconds my windshield shatters, my airbags explode, and a loud series of thuds batters my car into a circle off the road like the Hell’s Angles stomping a narc.

Somehow I had lost control, spun out, and hit a tree on the side of the road. Within ten seconds, my leisurely drive home was to turn into one of the most traumatic ordeals of my life. Within ten seconds my right hand was full of glass, my neck throbbing with whiplash, and my legs trapped under the dash.

Yet I never hit my head, I never lost consciousness, I never went into a panic, at least not until I realized I was trapped and my door would not open.

The impact had shattered my drivers side window, when I realized I was stuck and that the smoke from the engine was growing I bellowed out onto the street. “Help! I was just in a major car accident and I’m trapped! Can somebody help me, please!?”

Within seconds, a man in a blue sweatshirt caring the mascot of a sports team, I cannot remember if it was pro or college, was by my window.

“Hey, are you okay?” he said.

“I think so.” I knew it was only because of the shock, but at this point I felt no pain, and could not think about anything else except getting out of that car.

He proceeded to ask me what happened and while trying to suppress my panic I told him the details as I told you. He assured me I was okay, and he also assured me that I seem pretty cognizant so he didn’t think I was drunk, which I wasn’t. He kept me calm, and called the paramedics, and stayed with me until they arrived.

While we waited he introduced himself to me, “What is your name?”

“James,” I told him, my voice cracking because I felt like a frightened child who just needed an adult, any adult.

“Hi James, I’m Philipe, you’re going to be okay, I’m right here and the paramedics are on their way.”

Philipe, you are a total stranger and you might have saved my life. If you are reading this, contact me. Needless to say I owe you one.

Soon after three cars had stopped and pulled over. One stayed on the corner by the street with flashers on to keep other cars from hitting me. The two other people stayed by me to keep me calm. I never screamed in agony or hyperventilated, I never did anything accept breath and trust my life to these strangers, I felt there was no other way I could survive the situation.

The paramedics and fire department arrived. They shattered the glass on the passenger side to get the car unlocked, but still the jaws of life were needed to pry open the door to get me out.

Once out, I realized I could put no weight on my ankle, so I was immediately put on the gurney and taken to UC Davis Trauma Center. Of course once your on the gurney they could be taking you to Mexico for all you know.

Once you are on the gurney, all you can do is look up, you can see nothing from side to side or even your own feet. I have no idea what roads they took to get me to the trauma center and once there I had no idea where I was going when escorted from room to room. The blood on my hands had dried to a horror film prop crust. The neck brace was chaffing to say the least. I had no control over anything, I do not like that.

The intake nurse made an insulting joke about how I was lucky I only had one beer, and next time I should “use uber.” The paramedics reassured me that I was fine, that they knew I wasn’t drunk, and that nurse was an asshole. I do not want to obsess over it, but I will say that I hope this nurse gets fired, you do not make jokes to patients in the trauma intake center.

I do not want to relive the rest of that night, I do not want to go into all the details because the details are the hell that traumatized me and I just don’t want to relive it, not now or ever again. I will say that all the other staff at UC Davis trauma center were very kind, very understanding, very tender, all of which I needed at the time.

The night was a series of tests, and waiting, and tests, and waiting. Waiting, alone in cold sterile rooms warmed only by a set of blankets haphazardly stacked on me. Waiting. Locked in a position unable to sit up because you aren’t allowed. Waiting, stuck looking only at the lights and ceiling tile because of a neck brace, then more x-rays and tests. All getting wheeled to an from, never knowing exactly where or for what test. Waiting.

When I first arrived and the doctors started their first tests, just after stripping me of my clothes, a social worker asked who they should call. I gave them my mother’s name and both phone numbers. I did everything I could to share every detail I could whenever I was asked a question, no matter what the question was.

I went into detail with the paramedics about Sacramento’s Rent Control Movement that I had been working on when they asked about my job in the ambulance. I told the nurses about the Irish Socialist themed birthday party I had on St. Patrick’s day when they asked me about what I did on St Patty’s, and when it came to the important stuff, my name my address and phone number I made sure to give as stringently and calmly as I could. I think I was doing that to prove that I was still cognizant, still aware of the situation, still myself. I do not know if it was to prove it to them or myself, but I think maybe I just wanted to prove to myself that I was still here, as if knowing that I was conscious would remind me that I can get better. That I will get better.

My parents arrived after my first x-rays, all I could do was cry when I saw my mother. A cry like a child cries when he wants his mom to make all the pain go away. “I just want to go home.” I told her as she took my hand with tears flooding my face, “I just want to go home.”

I was not released until 5am. My poor mother had to call in a substitute teacher for her class that morning and my father was passed out until 10am the next morning. My poor father, a disabled person himself and he compensates his nerves with humor, he is the kind of person to laugh when he is anxious. The whole time in the ER where he had a lot of time just waiting he was fidgety, making comments he should not have, but he knew no other way to process the situation. He has a bad history with car wrecks, at my age he was in a similar situation, he was hit on his motorcycle by a drunk driver near Torrance, CA. He almost lost his leg and because it was poor working class hippie versus rich Cadillac drunk driving estate agent, CHP wanted to cite my dad for being in his way. Not twenty years later, my father lost his own father in an auto accident that is shrouded in mystery. My grandfather had issues, so many issues that some of us wonder if this death was actually an accident. The point is between my grandpa, my dad, and myself we are three for three for car wrecks. I do not think that was an easy thing to process and a legacy I hope ends with me.

My mother has been in Mom-mode ever since. Like when I was sick as a boy, she has been doing everything to make me comfortable, but not only that, she is keeping my father grounded because I know this traumatizes him in a way the rest of the family just will never get.

Then there was my sister, my poor sister. She loves and supports me so dearly, for her to see me in that state in the ER, for her to think she might have lost me that night, I cannot imagine what she felt. My sister is an Empath, yes like in Star Trek, she can just look at someone and feel what they are feeling, I know she felt my pain that night and I wish I wasn’t in pain, because then she wouldn’t be either. Later, she was not pleased because the day after the accident I made a point of showing up to city hall and the outskirts of the Golden 1 arena for the Stephon Clark protest. Yes, I was there even with a broken ankle, a bruised lung, and whiplash. We all have our own ways to heal, mine is to keep going. My wounds will heal, Stephon Clark won’t.

My road to recovery could be long or short, I am still not sure. All I know is that in a matter of seconds everything about who I was was taken from me, and that I never realized how dependent on being an able bodied person I was for my identity. I know I will recover, be it weeks or months I will walk again and march again. I did not get the word “Invictus” tattooed on my arm just because it looks cool, I got it to remind myself that I am strong, that I am unconquerable. Yes, I am traumatized. When I am alone for too long I have flashbacks to the accident, to the total loss of control and the moment that the thuds came thundering onto my van. But I will not let this trauma define me. I know this passage has been mostly about pain, fear, and a loss of control that I had never experienced before, but I am not despairing over a few boo boos. I will not let a simple twist of sad and painful fate rob me of who I am. I will recover, I will be fine. But what I will never understand is the how, or the why I survived.

All the paramedics said I was lucky. That when they saw the car they “expected the worst,” and were amazed I was conscious. The doctors and nurses all said the same thing. I do feel lucky. I don’t when the cast on my ankle itches or when the pain meds where off and it throbs but I do feel lucky, and curious.

How the hell did I survive that? How the hell did I not hit my head on the air bag? And why? Is there a why to my survival? Is the God that I do not believe in telling me my life really does have a purpose? Do I just have enough good karma that when the bad things happen to me they aren’t as bad as they could be? Or am I just so lucky that I ought to take a road trip to Reno or Vegas when I recover? I do not know, and to be honest I do not want to care. I do not want to care about the, “Why did I survive?” but I do. Every time I close my eyes and relive the crash, whether I want to think about it or not, I always come back to that question, “Why the hell did I live? Is there even a why?”

I firmly believe in Occam’s razor, that the simplest solution is probably the correct one. What is the simplest answer to my question, “Why did I survive?” Well in my opinion it’s “Because you still have work to do.” I will not trifle myself with questions about meaning or God, the way I see it I survived. Yes, I need to slow down, to recover, but I survived, so I can keep going, because like I said I have work to do.

Rambling About Depression in the Dark

I sit here writing this in the dark because it’s 5am and my ceiling’s light bulb just burnt out. The darkness is fitting though. It is fitting to write about one’s depression in the dark.

Mental illness is a funny thing, the slightest thing can trigger the worst of episodes. What is even worse is that when big things happen it can make the worst episodes even worse.

I will not go into excessive detail, my business is my own, but I have screwed up a few times in the last few months. No more than any other human has I think, but the list is growing. I am only human after all. I always view life’s mistakes or failures as lessons learned to be used for the future. To demand perfection of oneself is toxic and to pretend you will never make mistakes or accidentally hurt people’s feelings is just moronic. To think you will never err is to err.

But it still keeps me awake thinking about the lines I have crossed, the bridges I have burned, the damage I have done. I have heard of a psychological phenomenon called “negativity bias” which exists within us all, perhaps that is all this is. Perhaps this is just my brain choosing to remember the bad days instead of the good ones, the fuck ups instead of the successes, I honestly don’t know what the hell is going on in this organ in my skull.

Mental illness comes down to two things, our environment and what it triggers in our brain chemistry. What is “my environment”? Well I take a global perspective, I am no nationalist. The world is my home, but one reality is that I live in America 2018 which is enough of an environment to make even the perkiest yoga instructor get into goth.

Ramblings, all of these are just ramblings in the dark with no beginning, middle, or end. I’m wondering if I should even post this, if it wouldn’t be better to save it and come back to it when my head is clear. No, no, I must write and share it now, as is, I want people to know what it’s like to fight off the voices in your head that tell you to kill yourself. I want people to know what it feels like to be mad at yourself when something isn’t even your fault and to hate yourself when you know it is.

I want people to know what it is like to sit in the darkness.

Yet, oddly enough, I also do not want people to wallow in despair nor pity me. People with depression don’t need or want pity, they need support, they need patience. In due time I will go to the hardware store and get a lightbulb and I will have light again. My depression is not as simple of a fix, but I still feel the metaphor is there. The darkness is never a permanent situation, it never has been and never will be, and I tell myself that over and over again, until the light comes back on.

This is what it is like to sit in the darkness.