train of thought or loosely structured essay? it could be either...
i’ve been watching interview after interview and thinking gratuitously as a result. imma try and sum this up as best i can because i think it’s an ambiguous topic at times that we actually have at our fingertips and yet don’t really always address, understandably though. culture is something you’re entrenched in, inescapably at times, and when you’re in the middle of it sometimes it’s hard to see the way every day and everything is a possible opportunity for affecting the main narrative.
first thing i thought of when i started listening to eddie huang and heems discuss growing up in the 80’s and using their forms of media representation (blogging, food, music, etc) to introduce different ideas to mass audiences, was that kids in the 80’s and 90’s have really been given a valuable (though sometimes harsh) lens to view the world through. in that two decade time period media gained fuel and tech rapidly increased, and we had this rare upbringing of being detached enough from media and technology to develop authentically within our environments, learn to think critically and observe what was going on around us in the world, and yet also had enough exposure and time to evolve with the rapid change of technology to understand it better, and learn almost by necessity how to utilize it to our best interests, ration parts of our identity from it, and share parts of our identity and contributions into it.
we grew up in this transitioning time, when technology and social media hadn’t yet taken as rooted a role in life yet, but were still a big part of our lives, and where we harvested some, often much, of our values and ideas from. people began realizing soon that we had access to mass information, and the spreading of. this was a tool our parents hadn’t had at our age, so we were kind of the pioneers w/lotta internet frontiers and subcultures.
for instance, the internet has managed to foster a subculture of kids and teens finding and learning about their identities. before the internet, queer was a slur, some older people still think it is, but now it’s being reclaimed by the community, and there’s a widespread narrative from queer folks addressing their identities and re-purposing what ignorance made a weapon.
before the internet, there was no mass outrage being sparked over rape being brought to justice or innocent POC behind bars or the quality of education, or culture and global issues, these are discussions that have emerged from the information at our hands paired with our world views and personal struggles to navigate that world. and in it’s own way that’s power. we have a form of mass media where, if we try hard enough, our ideas, influences, power to empathize and communicate to spread ideas and educate on a widespread basis, can be influential. we made it what it is, and we mold it into what it is going to be and the ideas it will spread hereafter.
what’s interesting to me about this power of the internet, is dominant vs subversive narrative. 80’s/90’s gen reached teen/adult years as the US went into a period of political confusion/a dominant media main narrative of misinformation. hearing eddie and heems talk about what it was like to be a POC after 9/11 at that time was intense. eddie talked about rich white 1% kids in florida displaying an unfiltered level of brutish animosity after the event, being that many of the people they knew and their families’ claims to wealth were being threatened.
he seemed mostly horrified and interested simultaneously in the way they simplified “their problem” to a sweeping generalization; people of color, similar to reagan’s own scapegoating of POC in his personal secretary’s diary. obviously that’s wack. but what he said about these kids really intrigued me because i felt like he put words to what i’d observed myself about many middle class and upper class kids, and recently been contemplating how to get around; “these kids are like…media-trained by their parents. [meaning those who benefit from dominant/oppressive culture use the confusion tactics the media uses to run people in circles about issues to avoid actually discussing them] you could talk about these things with them forever and you’ll never have a real discussion with them until you stop taking them seriously. they understand exactly what you’re saying, they just don’t give a fuck.”
it’s compelling that 9/11 created this thought point for both of them, born in the same era, that caused the incubation of ideas surrounding dissemination of tolerance and thoughts about avoidance of discussions surrounding racism/classism/oppression in the US, and how to use education and communication to change it and repurpose allocations of power taken from cultures by the main narrative.
recently, i’ve definitely been aware of these points eddie made, in that i spend less time responding to others’ thoughts that come from ignorance or anger and more time building my own. less time responding to trolls and more time trolling trolls because i just don’t have time to waste farting around with dipshits when i could be reaching and talking to people who get it and also want to engage in discussions and environments of tolerance and respect instead of more ignorance. social media gives us that horizon of expansion, those resources, and hopefully that ability to recognize that despite the people that make us sad and cranky there are all these people still to be heard and to hear and to respond that we can reach, and the power is in our hands, it’s just about how we allocate it.
when i was about 17 i met a guy who really changed my perspective on what you can actually do to make your own voice. he had a successful career, he was a natural with business, well known for his graffiti, and pretty much lived and dressed well for free because of his social reputation and involvement in menswear. all these different factors of his individuality came together to form a career and reputation he was able to live…better than most people i knew, off of. and he had dropped out of school before he’d even walked across the senior final stage. that impressed me. who knew you could be that successful without a high school diploma? pretty fucking sweet.
we now know how to utilize social media and work your way up based on who you are not what job description you fit. how to create forms of representation and send a message through art, and actually make a living and have everything you need through applying social media to your pursuits. with the unstable economy and prices of school people began to become more aware of how they could get educated outside of an institution, get a job they loved without going to school for it, have a career because of who they knew and their networking abilities as opposed to their resume. and with how much a lot of us have to say and contribute that’s a valuable venue when used correctly and used as a vessel for the right message.
and i think, this mixture of being connected but not completely has given us a rare perspective and ability to contribute in many different ways, with many individual voices, to the narrative. we have the ability to, essentially, drown out the main narrative which we all know is a bunch of bullshit.
look at the way we even just use social media like tumblr and facebook to fuck around with advertisements and different perpetuations of culture in media, like those gifs of billboards that have a picture of a cat on it instead of an advertisement, or clipart that has been fucked around with. how, for fun, some people fuck with facebook and click on ads that don’t apply to their interests to confuse the site when it tries to collect their personal web browsing data.
in such simple ways, we tweak and rewrite the main narrative. and then we can share that with millions of people if we want to, and they can all share that too and so on. social media can be such an amazing tool. because someone can share a post on tumblr saying “does anyone else feel like…” and 50,000 other people can reblog that and suddenly the idea that you’re not the only one with this running around their mind is planted in 50,000 different minds at once. that’s basically creating awareness in a way.
i’ll stop thinking, but i still have tons in my head in response to all this stuff. just wow, really interesting. i’m getting all inspired by these 80’s babies bringing the power back to the people by dominating media with their insights on how to use it as a crux to transition into change via widespread communication of ideas. this is kinda a crucial point in time when we have an advantage and weapon, to create the world we want to live in, with.
The gray light filters cold through the blinds.
You look old,
Keep sleeping off last night’s debt;
your consciousness and your pale blue eyes
to midnight ignorance
and a few hours of freedom.
A few hours of feeling strong but yeah that doesn’t last long,
and by the time the gray light filters cold through the blinds
your bold laugh has died away;
all I hear is your fragile breathing.
I’ll stay barefoot this morning and I’ll wash your plastic tumblers again,
toes curling on the cold tile and fingers growing old under the faucet.
I’ll hum the song you were singing last night and remind myself to
tell you about
your lovely cracking voice.
It says that you’re happy but your hands were so cold
and your face somehow too old
and your eyes whispering no,
there’s never been a choice.
I hear you, I see it.
But hear this: I don’t believe it.
Still, I’ll be the one to laugh at your jokes and dissolve in the smoke,
to hold your fragile wrists together and keep your skull intact.
It’s only half an act.
The other half is me watching your chest rise and fall in the cold gray light,
wondering at your heartbeat,
I want to know the love;
The love that feels.
Holds you in it's depths-
Don't think, feel the way our skin meets.
Your eyes hold the world in their glossy depths
I wish the feelings inside me would be more easily expressed.
Your arms carry my dreams in them,
You take away the pain with a touch of your fingertips.
These close moments hold the depth of my soul in relation to yours.
These words I write are the life I need to stop the pain now...
In the day I fear little; in the night I fear your god-
The power he holds over you.
Homesick for your missing hands,
The thoughts leave my mind in slumber.
The pure white blankness of my dreams-
Dreams aren't always blank.
To hope never to die with a scream on my lips, but beneath the weight of your love is all I can ask.
Dear, release me from this coma of passionlessness.
Watch me til you're gone
The soft little words you've left will be my life vest;
The perfect acceptance to believe your sweet heart and it's devotion, my buoy above the water's dark depths.
Moments with my hands in your hair; your hips on mine, are the only ones that I feel the pleasure of purity.
Isn't that ironic?
When there's snow on the ground,
you are the ocean
you are too large,
for frost to move
more than polar parts of you.
You will struggle to swim to the equator,
but once you get there
suns are high,
and you will be warm and cozy;
But, more than once
the tide will drag you to your arctic.
and I will kiss you through your shivers
but nothing I can do
will stop your blood from running cold.
but baby, it will pass.
You are the ocean,
and ships have recked
to kiss your curves
and love has been made
inside your blood
and one day
you will love the way
you shudder without cause
and you will find beauty
in your hurricanes,
even if that day is not today.
I could right a thousand sonnets
about the way it feels
when your blue hands hug my hips
and your salty lips brush my neck.
So when your lost
in your dark blue,
remember that there are those,
dreaming of your turquoise.
and I am wading in your shallows
to brace your raging torrent,
and remind you
that baby, you are the ocean,
and the storms will always pass.
San Francisco, CA
There isn’t anything I don’t love about winter
The cold air
The frozen ground
The painted sky
And you, next to me
Wearing layers, making us look three times our normal size
And the snow, that is, if you’re lucky enough to get snow
The lingering presence of happiness in the air
And the sound the ice on the ground makes when you step on it
Pale faces and rosy cheeks
And the burning of your hands when you go inside
And the idea that every single snowflake that falls
Is not like the other
And yet, they’re all beautiful
And those mornings when the sky looks like the shiny ombré pattern
On some dumb t-shirt of a 12-year-old girl
Who isn’t quite ready to grow up just yet
Who enjoys the cold air and the frozen ground
And who loves the snow oh so much
And sees the beauty in its flakes
And is devastated when winter ends
Because everything must come to an end
Much like this poem
A shudder in my chest,
Violence in my hands,
Clouds past my eyes,
A pain in my brain.
A Temple ruined,
Once for sacred worship,
Now only for memberance,
And maybe a lost follower.
"God, I know what you did."
Kneeling, he keeps praying,
"I know you're not perfect,
But you're perfect for me."
Hopeless turned hopeful,
A light turned black, then back,
A God losing faith.
A worshiper who didn't.
I cannot feel my legs and my mind is numb
I refuse to hear your breath and my mouth is dumb
I can feel your hands, but I am not here
For I have gone away now
Away, to where you cannot find me, the real me
To a place where i finally feel safe, where i can be alive.
I have switched off my soul to survive this place
My flesh is detached and floats away from my face
I can sense your thrusts, in a different world
You may touch my body, not me.
me, that was a long time ago, before
Before the monster that paid a visit at night.
Now look inside me, and see the curdled mother's milk
that courses through my veins.
Twisted molecules of white, distorting purity of thought.
Do you really know how you destroyed my life
With your fatherly tone and that emotional knife
Held up to the heart of a vulnerable girl
Oh, how I wish I were dead
and yet, part of me is, for some of my life is over
Bud plucked, never to bloom the flower of unbridled youth
The black hole of the past pulls me back to those arms
I struggled so hard against those paternal charms
Alas, what chance a girl, who loved daddy so much
Please make my pain go away.
But it won't, deep inside, under granite blocks of hate
Hate for you and hate for me, how did we let this happen?
Grown up now, and struggling to cope
Life seems so hard I often have no hope
it all looks so black, here within my soul
Oh, to wipe the slate clean.
A vehicle of love used as a weapon of betrayal
How sick we all must be!
Half forgotten memories jump out of my mind
Oh how they came, and when you were so kind
Couldn't you see how tormented I was
God help me, for no one else will.
Time does not heal my angst, nor will it ever
You and you, father and friend will you ever comprehend?
Chameleon colours play a role in my life
Artificial boundaries, coping with strife
keep out tomorrow and push away the past
but somehow today sneaks on in.
i have left my body now, detached, flying away to safety
All males left behind, good and bad, partitioned off
Even as I ignore it, the past comes right back
biding its time for a surprise attack
How can I cope with this onslaught of love
So get out of my life right now.
The past, the past, those nights, oh revulsion, oh confusion
Lust, love, like, remorse, pain, a wailing cacophany of lost childhood.
I attempt to embrace a man, maturity found
But I lose my nerve, looks like dangerous ground
An immense struggle for a girl so fragmented
Can I ever become whole?
I wear my clothes, loose around my body
Passion and pain walled off from prying eyes.
Alone, am I sentenced to spend my life alone
for who will throw this dog an intimate bone ?
I need the courage to embrace my shadows
oh please help me face the past.
The light of your affections just cannot reach my soul, deep inside
The escape velocity of my sanity is not enough
I so want to let go, have my feelings reign free
Yet I can't, for the hurt residing deep within me
Imagine, for a minute, the cross that I bear
No wonder, I stay out of sight.
You see, i only feel connected when i am alone and safe
Yet i so yearn to love and be loved, vulnerable.
Finally, today I held you tight and felt your manhood
and it did not remind me of my childhood
Agony past and pain retreated
Will this last forever I ask?
Those boundaries that were so cruelly invaded
by one who said "I love you", left me exposed.
So brick by brick I built up my self esteem
Self confidence at last, but is it all a dream
Open my eyes, will this all fade away
swept off on the winds of self doubt.
One step at a time, out from the abyss, that cave of betrayal
I will hold this moment tightly and treasure it.
Dare I believe in this place called trust?
A handhold hacked in the rockface of my tortured mind
Will it bear the weight of tomorrow's reality?
I can only hope the silver thread that pulls me up
shall guide me forever forward
away from that sickness of him who is left behind.
I am a survivor and I shall reach the summit
of life's possibilities, although I have to tell you
Base camp did not help my journey!
Ever have one of those nights where you listen to Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt on repeat while you drive your car into the city and proceed to climb the steps of a parking garage while you try to get your ex girlfriend to answer her phone and when she doesn't you stop sit on the third story railing look down and think maybe if I fell I wouldn't quite die but then she'd have to acknowledge that I still exist.
Ever have one of those nights where you're hanging out on a roof with your friends and you're standing on the edge and you really want to jump but instead you step back and freestyle the bars "Fuck love it ain't a beautiful thing/ it was created by the Devil and all his demons/ and everything's swell til its fucking ending/ then you're slicing through your left wrist's fucking tendons."
Ever have one of those nights where you're in the driver's side back seat and your best friends are filling up the rest of the upholstery and you're having a good time playing "have you evers" and "would you rathers" and shit get's real serious when you friend turns around and says "Jon, do you cut yourself?" and you just feel the tears run down your face a nod you head and they all tell you they love you and they're always there for you and you know that and you've known that.
Ever have one of those nights where you put on one sneaker just so you can stomp on an old disposable razor spend thirty minutes picking off all the plastic pieces and then carve a train track down your forearm in hopes that all your sadness will climb on board a locomotive travel out your veins down your finger tips and crash land on your bathroom floor.
Ever have one of those days where you’re ten years old and no one’s home besides you and your two sisters and you end up getting in a fight over something you can’t quite remember but you end up in your bedroom crying and decide it’s a good idea to take a belt and wrap it around your throat climb onto your dresser and jam the buckle into the slot at the top of your closet door.
Ever have one of those days where you jump
Where your body swings like a pendulum
Where your toes claw at the side of your bureau
Where your sister holds your dead weight until your feet can find a flat familiar surface and you can breathe again
Sometimes I look at myself and think why have my scars healed so seamlessly as if there were never wires strung through my wrists like a marionette manipulated by the hands of hopelessness maybe the last time I drove a razor blade into my forearm the puppeteer made a mistake and severed the strings he had laced deep inside my tendons.
I once filled a bathroom sink with my sadness and walked away I still don’t understand why if Earth is 70% water God allows so many people to be walking aquariums why he gave them leaky faucets and hands that could turn them like a door knob.
Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like there are not enough “do not disturb" signs in the universe and you've had this growing curiosity your whole life about who is knocking on the other side.
Slain in the Spirit
Walking amongst the clouds
Hand in hand with the Savior
Oil flows through my hands
It’s dripping from His side
And I am beside Him bleeding out
A heaviness is upon me
But not one so oppressing
It’s like a warmth and blanket
Baptized in the Spirit
Where “He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.”
You've got all these people exclaiming their creativity
and all these people whoring on about the special value of a person
but you'd never see any one of those people acting as if what they were
saying was true. Never would you see the popular guy go and talk to
the lesser girl. Never would he know her past her name. He wouldn't give
a shit either way about what made this miracle of a human being who she
is today. He couldn't care about how tough things are getting or
how lonely she is or how she feels about his eyes or how she longs
to make love with his soul.
You've got people claiming purity and innocence and how they
would never dare stoop so low as to degrade another human.
Put your clean hands out to the world. Show them how much
you've been scrubbing. But when the lights go out and nobody is
watching, all of those pretty people get together in their pretty world,
to laugh at all the rest, while they fuck like a bunch of animals and
talk about how many drugs they've ingested within the past three days.
We wonder about the human condition. Why things are the way they are.
People crying everyday because of being treated less than human.
That is such an incredible amount of bullshit.
Want to fix something? FUCKING DO IT ALREADY!
You want to change your life? Want to say, "It's too hard! I can't! Life sucks!?"
There are people dying everyday, praying to gods they don't believe in, just
for a few more seconds on this earth. If you want to change your life,
go talk to that guy who's crying. Go ask that girl about what her real passion in life is and what she'd rather be doing.
Go get to know somebody. Go and really get to know somebody. Inspire somebody.
Be somebody's reason to get up in the morning. Be somebody's reason to stay up at night.
Be somebody's reason to not give up on themselves. Be a savior. Care. Just please care.
Tell them that they should do the same. Change is not always something to be done alone.
Changing the world is a process that involves the whole world itself.
Don't just say how great you are and go on about how everybody has worth. Show somebody.
Mean it with all of your heart. I swear you're bound to make a few friends along the way.
I swear you will save somebody's life. And I promise with all of my heart that somebody will save yours.
Make a reaction. It has to come full circle.
And YOU if you're still reading this. Thank you. Really.
If YOU need somebody to talk to, talk to me. I'm here for YOU I mean it with every fiber of my being.
I love you, whoever you are. You don't have to be alone.