Another Town hall

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One of the local Congressman left his townhouse in the swamp to brave the sound and fury of the Elitist mob. He stood on an auditorium stage smirking has the Liberals did their best imitation of the Koch backed Tea Party. A political circus short on substance. Long on usable propaganda reinforcing the narrative. What was different happened when it was over. The shouting continued in to the hallways. Empowered Trump supporters confronted the emotional pissed democrats.

Who won?  The Congressman will spin it as he bravely faced the turbulence of the unruly mob. The Liberal and Democrats will stay they exercised their rights to protest in the environment where that right is being curtailed. The Conservative feel all their deeply held beliefs were being attacked. Along with the civility of American democracy. It all makes for great TV. Who loses? Everyone.

I’ve tried very hard to not post or share any of the memes attacking the President directly. Do I agree with of them? For the most part. Those that are based on actual actions or deconstructing Tweets with facts. My attention has been focused on the powerful currents underneath the surface waves. The distraction ideologues live for. These folks operate best in the shadows. Away from the short attention span sound bites that push emotional hot buttons. One commentator called Steve Bannon the most dangerous man in the inner circle. A deep thinker on a crusade to remake America according to his narrow vision. The Neo Con playbook used so effectively to high jack Bush II first term. Undersecretaries in key position to influence policy are the Commissars of today.

Divide. Distract. Conquer. That’s the plan now. What About all the rest of the non Senate appointment he could make? Trump answered why should he. Reagan had the final say on every single one of the 2500 or so. They were notifies with a letter from him. Think about the loyalty that attention to detail engendered. Of course he had been a Governor of the largest state in the US. In spite of the economic poison he and his cohorts injected into the country, he was a very smart man. Reagan finished the job Nixon started with his Southern strategy. Conservative Southern Democrats became the ancestors of the Right wing single issue Republicans. Whose bastard children are the Tea Party and Alt Right.

Two days ago there was a protest at a mosque. A diverse group stood in front of the building. One that outnumbered the five or so small group of open carry white men were going to save America from the Muslim hoards. The difference this time was the third group. Members of the Black Block. A militant sub group of the ANTIFA movement. ANTIFA stands for Anti Fascist. They feel that any hate group of the far right has no right to have their message normalized by the media or politicians. Berkeley. Washington DC. Violence used has a protest against authoritarian or corporate backers of the extreme right. The leaders of the more numerous defenders of the mosque didn’t want them there. They wouldn’t talk to the media. They were there to confront the small group of what they considered white terrorists.

I’ve written before about the echo chambers social media creates and reinforces in our modern world. It has become a major talking point of social culture experts. There is factual data that America is more divided at anytime in our history. Those with economic resources have left the major urban centers. Fueled by a perceived sense of fear. Returning WWII veterans move to Levitt town. The rules blocked those of color with that option. All of the inequality Bernie Sanders railed about was normalized there. Elected officials represent the ones who vote for them.

All the recent remarks about the poor, sick and immigrants by Republicans are in many ways the core beliefs of their districts. Look a North Carolina. America in miniature. My community is becoming more Republican. The Blue wall is becoming a battle field for what America should be. The local town hall reflects the larger state and national politics. Protected districts. Will the smirking Congressman be reelected? Of course he will. Do you want Mob Rule? Remember the town hall where I was shouted down. They are denying your basic right of Free Speech. And he has a valid point.

The first amendment curtails the government from silencing individual dissent. For the citizen it allows you to voice your opinion. But that means everyone else has the same right. The Tea Party bullied that freedom. Liberals loudly criticized them. Turn about is fair play. The Moderates out number the Immoderates. At some point the Moderates will become the Immoderates. When that happens hopefully sanity will return to politics. Unfortunately I think the US will have to survive a national town hall first. It’s a verbal knife fight over fundamental visions of what America will be. In these type of fights, Everyone gets cut. It’s personal. It’s ugly. Which makes for great TV.



I’m a Soccer Ultra suffering withdrawal

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First you have to understand supporting a soccer club is a active form of fandom bordering on obsession. My Club. First and forever. Tattoos. Has one famous English manager once said.

“You don’t choose your club. It chooses you.”

It’s a mystic moment when the stars align. Down from the sky an invisible bolt of true blinding passion and devotion strikes. One where all the artificial mental barriers built on irrational fears can’t stand the force.

Mine dissolved on the drive down to Detroit on that beautiful sunny day. My association with the Beautiful Game had begun on a pitch of sand in a public park. Attending a centrally located Catholic college prep high school in Houston meant a sizable international presence enrolled. Add to that the Eastern Prep school kids relocated by their parents work. You have the instant making of a pretty good soccer team. One in which a first time player could easy fit without damaging the chances of winning. My position? Central defender. The one place where tough aggression mattered more than skills. And a good sense of timing when to use it.

Soccer still was just a sport I played. My theory of becoming devoted to any sport is that moment when all the skills you’ve been struggling to master click in place. It happened on a muddy field. The flattened, slightly trenched, middle third of the grass mound.  The alter of the Texas high school football that soccer was grounding allowed to trespass on. My continued frustration of getting the ball to go where I wanted was all lack of practice and mechanics. What seems natural is everything but.

On that cold February afternoon my foot connected just right. A twisting ball going away from the keeper. One he actually was challenged by. Finally praise from the coach. Someone who had played all his life. That was 1979. A year later Houston got an NASL team. My father got tickets when the Pele led NY Cosmos came to town. I saw the world’s greatest player the way most of the world did. Has a miniature figure on the expanse of green field. Without the crazed atmosphere cable and satellite would bring into the living rooms and basements from the worlds great stadiums from around the world. .

The cheap newsprint half sized soccer magazine arrived every month for two years. By than the Houston Hurricane had moved to be re-branded in another city. Where they failed once again. That was also the state of my soccer experience until the World Cup in 1994. The mutation introduced into my system on that muddy field lay dormant until 2012. Modern soccer followed the pattern sat down by the other American sports. Baseball had radio. Football and basketball used TV. Soccer lives on the internet. Following links I discovered Detroit had a club. Five minutes later my season ticket and scarf package was ordered. The very cool credit card size season pass is still a treasured item. Not knowing if I would get to a match.

In the 20+ years since moving to Michigan, there had been no desire to see Detroit. The city’s troubles were reinforced by my in-laws prejudice towards it. A bigger part for me was my Navy years had been on a ship overseas. Perth Australia during the Americas Cup. Hong Kong. Singapore. London with the reserves. After growing up in Houston, American big cities were ordinary in comparison. Detroit City FC give me reason to break through many reason for not exploring once again. At the time three were supporter groups. All had Facebook pages. The Northern Guard had the in your face attitude I liked. They became my destination.

My first match started with a paper map for the confusing Paris inspired spoke and wheel pattern of streets out of downtown. DCFC played at Cass Tech. A small high school stadium that framed the skyline where I-75 cut through the heart of Detroit. The exploring soul discovered in those foreign cities took me the length of Woodward Avenue from 8 mile to Harry’s. Where from the upper deck you can see Ford Field and Comerica Park. With the collection of Art Deco skyscrapers built when Detroit was known has the Paris of the Midwest.

America’s Road takes you through landscape of every major urban metropolitan area in the nation. Every major boulevard, sunken interstate or train viaduct created a  stark snapshot of  decay or prosperity.  My two experiences with the streets named MLK reflect the state race in America. A shiny facade where it crosses major arteries leading somewhere else. Behind are long stretches of poverty and neighborhood sliding out of the middle class. A left turn took my journey on a unguided tour through those blighted lands the world sees Detroit has. But also the ignored spots of hope where people stubbornly refused to be defeated.

All the talk of the dangers of Detroit echoed until I got out of the car. Parking by the school puts one in the microcosm Detroit exemplifies. The homeless or lost in the central park.  Where the intricate craving of every style on the exterior of the largest Masonic temple in the world anchors on side. A block long multistory castle wall facing empty graffiti covered buildings. The modern glass and metal high school by extensions of Wayne State’s footprint. Past, present and future. A continuum hidden by distance in many urban areas.

Asking directions from those wearing the rouge and gold I found myself on Henry Street. It was in that instant when my past became my present. Olongapo City with wider streets. Years of domestic living fell away. The awareness honed in foreign cities gave me confidence. This was the same way I had seen other countries. Not from the safety of all inclusive resorts or cruise ship day trips. Behind the facades are bare concrete block and tin roofs. Outdoor cooking and trash. It was in this comfortable state of mind I first encounter what would become my other family.

The large home made flags that have become the hall mark of the NGS lined the metal fence. Defiant. Profane. A battle cry refuting the family friend suburban soccer culture so dominate in America. Screaming skulls. Skeletal middle fingers raised to the world. The Northern Guard had taken over the upper deck. The open fronted covered space where beer was served in plastic cups. Food was sent up from the kitchen below. Standing echoed the terraces to follow. The first person that greeted me was a tall thin black man with a full beard wearing a black cap with the Detroit Tigers D. It was has if a long lost family member everyone know of but had never met walked in the door. What followed was introduction to many I would come to know over the course of the short season and social media. Every where was inclusion. The tattooed and professional. City and suburban mixed in the intoxication of being part of something they had only seen on TV. An emptiness being shared.

Then the drum. What would become a shared heartbeat. Learning the chants no longer used. Along with those that are the soundtrack of soccer tailored by each supporter group. Sarge’s pre match speech. The March to the March. Smoke and flags. The gathering behind the main stands. An unabashed or apologetic dismissive in your face attitude toward the day opponent. Detroit vs Everyone. Filling the Visitor stands. Flags placed along the back supports. Where the wind would display them to full effect. The touchline separated from the raucous roiling supporters by a mere four feet. The NGS choir singing the National anthem to the flag and the downtown skyline. A flag that earlier had flown on fire bases and outpost by a supporter in Afghanistan.

By nature a writer is an observer. A detached presence while still occupying a position in the crowd. Mental recording not just sights but the underlying emotions. To be later translated in the imperfect medium of words. The world in which I live. Except that day. A conscious decision to join. There is being part of the crowd or being the crowd. The temporary subjection of the self to be part of something more. I entered into the joy of being the crowd. Joining the celebration of emotional release.

When the final whistle blew, I was exhausted. Details of the match were unimportant. Couldn’t even tell you if we won. What happened on the aluminum bleachers of a typical high school that day was some much more than a sport event. One voice. One heartbeat. Total surrender to the atmosphere unique to the soccer culture. There have been other great moments in my relationship around Detroit city and the NGS. But nothing close to that match.

For that season and the next, I found myself making every weekend home date. The uncertainty of the bottom tier of American soccer saw teams disappear with every off season. The time before the new schedule was released was and is, a time of anxiety. The tension of will those vacation days still be available for the away matches. Then my life rudely disrupted the summer manta of Soccer. Kids. Everything else. Such is the way the drug of soccer dominates ones life. One by one the touchstones of that first season have fallen.

The supporter created Rust Belt Derby between FC Buffalo, DCFC and AFC Cleveland has fallen victim to the growing number of teams in the region. The hatred of Ohio has shifted to certain Michigan supporter groups. The natural extension of Detroit’s relationship with the rest of the state. On this first warm day hinting of the coming Spring and the DCFC season there is the reality that I will once again be able to be in the terraces of Keyworth one time. It will be another soccer bucket list match. Fifty years to the day that Glentorran FC of Northern Ireland played has the Detroit Cougars of the 1967 American Soccer League.

Living outside Detroit during the season is the only drawback to the peace of living where I do. For 9 months out of the year, my children come first. In all things. During that time following my natural inclination of spending large chunks of time alone doesn’t matter. With every announcement or event on twitter and Facebook, my withdrawal gets harder. To the point of depression. Being an Ultra for your club isn’t fun. Some of the joy is shared misery of on the field performance. Or the following of favorite players doing well in their pursuit of the dream of professional status. To love a lower tier club is to invite disappointment into your life. To understand the quality of play isn’t what you watch from the comfort of your home.

The difference is being part of the atmosphere only experienced by being there. The sun beating down. When attending a match is a trail to be endured. One that will leave you sore. Disheartened. Affect your performance at work the next day. One you willing welcome with the coming weekend. Not paying the rent to attend the match. Scarf collections. Checking the bank account every time merchandise is announced. Yes it is my Addiction. One for which the fix can be had during a very small window. One that is dependent of a schedule you have no control over. All the planning done means nothing if work or family or something else conflicts. Even the online stream is in conflict with my schedule.

For all this I gladly suffer. MY CLUB. It needs me has much as I need it. Realizing you have an addiction is the first step in solving it. My solution is finding the circumstances in the rest of the year to attend every match during the two months of the season. No I don’t want to be cured. Or manage it. I want the damn lottery.

Russian Democracy American Style

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America has had two great exports. Democracy and our Culture. That’s why our history is filled with supporting dictators, warlords and rebels against democratically elected governments we didn’t like. The American Empire. For all that the US still had an apparently viable two party system. A counter balance to the totalitarian Communist Soviet Union. The driving  policy of post war lost it way when free market Capitalism won. Democracy spend across the former Warsaw countries.

Great we won. America won the gold medal. But just like on D-Day and Gulf War 1, there was no plan for after. The British had these weird attachments or specially designed vehicle to defeat the hedgerows. The American generals rejected them. They actually put all the bolts and cables on their purposely built dock extending out for supplies. The Americans had one. Because they didn’t. The Get it done and get it now mentality got it was destroyed in the first Atlantic storm. . The Gulf War? But my country is so large, we must have helicopters to get around. Please? Ask the Kurds how that worked out.

Then those ungrateful countries created Democracies that reflected their historic and cultural past. Filled with sectarian or religious prejudices. Tribal alliances at there worst. The baby steps of democratic institutions corrupted before they could become strong enough to resist. The CIA was instrumental in bring the Shah to power in Iran. The former Persian Empire of Xerxes reborn in the modern world. That conflict between modern and ancient directly caused the 1979 Revolution. The birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran. A limited Democratic Theocracy.  One supported client groups to fight the Saudi backed Sunni factions. All the while export a very conservative form of Islam, Wahhabism, with America never challenged. Gotta keep the oil flowing.

Both branches of Islam hate the Kurds. History lesson. Sal al-din, proper spelling, was a Shia ethic Kurd whose crowning achievement was the capture of Jerusalem in 1187.He had the personality to  juggle all the various factions of his combined polyglot force to achieve that goal. Guess what fell apart afterwards?  Following WWI, Kurdish land was split between three countries. Eastern Turkey, Iran and Iraq. All majority Sunni. the Brits have a long memory. Lesson done.

Americans tend to forget that we considered ourselves British until the Revolution. Even then many still did. Economic status. The colonist carried in their DNA English Common Law. A Parliamentary government. the Magna Carta. The privilege of Empire that didn’t include them. Democracy meant for the landed gentry. The last two are alive and well in the former Soviet states. Ukraine is the current example of our revolution without the institutions to support it.

Now a slim minority has elected an inexperienced Con man whose claim to fame is his self supported Cult of Personality. A man who brands everything in GOLD LETTERS. A self aggrandizing brand that rode an angry populist wave to the most powerful position in the world. And who does he admire? A second rate Authoritarian former KGB officer who played a part in scamming Reagan during his visit to Russia. A modern Czar in all but name. These events didn’t magically appear. They have been decades in the making. Nameless unelected political operatives for both parties whose only purpose was winning have brought us to this point. Party over Country. Any difference in basic party motivation is a smoke screen for a desire to win. By winning they have power. Absolute power is the theme of this President.

The genie in Aladdin got it right. “Absolute power. Itty bitty living space.” In this case its the Constitution and our bodies of laws. The Bill of Rights enshrine individual rights. Not limit them. That is still unique in the world. Demanded by the people to ensure Governments couldn’t run roughshod over individuals or groups. It’s taken a century or decades for those ideals to be fully realized. The struggle still continues for many. And one election puts it all in peril. Luckily Trump can’t throw his opposition in jail just cause. His lack of mandate and general thin skin works to unite the 3/4 of America who didn’t vote for him.

Start working towards 2018. Replace his single party majority in Congress. Or put a serious dent in it. That’s America Democracy in action.


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My daughter was in a play this weekend. Everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten. A series of stories wrapped in life lessons. Got me thinking about the current discord in the nation. I guess it matters which school you went to that allowed the environment for the innocence of the lessons to take root. The book was written by an older gentleman of a different generation. His voice resonated with the one I inhibit.

The play talked about the commonality we share along with the forgotten openness lost on the road to adulthood. Common decency tends to take the worst beating. Kindness? Only to those that look like us. Or in our Class. Neighborhood. Those we know. Play nice? Yeah right. We won. Piss off. The evolving fake emotion of the baseball handshake. Facebook feeds filled with toxic comments. Hide and seek complete with unassailable stone bastions  to hide behind. Taunts from the protection of height.

Looking down not up to in childhood amazement the beauty of clouds. The warmth of the sun on your face. The grass has been sprayed with something. i just mowed that. Insects. Starlight travelling through time that our ancestors stared at. The smell of flowers on the summer breeze. All forgotten in the whirlwind of daily obligations and stress. Kids see reality through the tablet or phone. No one holds hands to cross the street past a certain age. Cooties.

The end was particularly thought provoking. The first word in the early reader is Look. One word that carries the weight of metaphor with ease. Take a breath. And Look. Stop talking. And Look. See the small wonders or joys in the everyday. It takes practice. An awareness lost in the noise of reactions. Not thoughtful response. We’ve forgotten to say Please and Thank You. The greeting of “How are you doing?” is now a filler for having nothing else to say. We don’t want to have the answer. It would mean having to listen.

What I see in the nation I call home and served is distressing. Aware that my actions or words have added to the current state of discourse. An environment my kids are growing up in. In our divide nation, we look at the other person but see what our reality projects on them. Not has they are. Our brains interpret the image through a filter of fight or flight. The one survival trait carried over when we where in the food chain. Not on the top of it. In the modern world it’s learned behavior informed by how we were nurtured. Encouraged to dream or hide? Our sense of beauty. Limitations not the possibilities.

Having radical challenges in life force us to reevaluate. Everything. Then we can change from reaction to response. A negative to a positive. Peace only happens when you are at peace with yourself. Accepting all aspects of yourself. The good. The bad. The ugly. Remember the first word in the first reader is “Look.”




The Founding Fathers

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Watching Stephen Frye on the Rubin Report focus many random thoughts bouncing around my head this past few days. The printing press spread the ideas of the Rennaiise. with was fueled by the Reconquest of Spain. the Muslims valued knowledge. Their libraries and street of book sellers thrive while Europe slept through the nightmare of the Dark Ages. The wisdom of the Greek and Romans was protected. And available to all. The growth of Mercantilism allowed the space for the leisure class to expand. The  Enlightenment followed. That was the culture into which the Founding Fathers grew up in. An elite Class in a new country without the baggage of history.

William the Conqueror ruled England in the truest form of Feudalism. He won control of an island without the conflicting oaths so common in Europe. The original framers of the Revolution didn’t want a King. George Washington could have been President for Life. His conviction to the ideals of Philadelphia and the trails of the Constitutional convention guided the choice to serve only two terms. Frye made the comment that the most open societies today have Constitutional Monarchies complete with a state backed religion. A rational of twisted logical thought that has serve them well. Odd that. Then there’s the Bill of Rights.

The added enshrinement that groups demanded to keep a centralized government they distrusted from becoming what they feared. Ten statements that where written to protect the rights of the minority. Today the majority use certain articles to bash the other side. but only the chosen few. Forget the rest. the Electoral College was a compromise. Political parties were thought of has a slow poison to the budding democracy by many of the original framers. Partisanship. Rancer. Gridlock. The Senate was the remedy to the populism of the House. Again experience from the Articles of Confederation. All of which prepared the groundwork for the Civil War.

An armed dispute of catastrophic damage due to the inability for a peaceful shift in economic systems. A loss of power and influence for one group of  Elites to another. We are in another type of Civil War. The country has been for past twenty years. The Eisenhower Republicans balanced out the Southern Jim Crow democrats. Til they aged out. Reagan was the zenith of that age. the Class of 68. Progressive/liberal democrats has reached it’s peak. Hillary. Now is the age of extreme Populism. Trump, the Alt-Right of Bannon and the coming out of the narrow intolerant so called Christian zealots of the Republican party.

America has always had been isolationist. Xenophobic. Intolerant of the newest arrivals. Any non Protestant religion. My contention has always been my country was settled for these reasons, Gold, Glory and God. In that order. Royal courtiers and men of influence where given vast tracts of land in return to clear debts owed. The colonies also acted has a safety valve for a restless elements in society. Only the extremest would chose the wilds of the colonies to separate themselves because of deeply held religious beliefs. The various religious orders inside the Catholic acted in the same way until Luther. He only wanted a public discourse to address those 95 flaws in the church. Not cause a break.

The American colonies became a way to clear out the jails.Exactly what Castro did during the Cuba boat lift. Let someone else deal with them. We were an extension of British Common Law and identity. A third of our population still considered themselves British during the Revolution. Fear of losing economic power. Another third was waiting to back the winner while selling supplies to both sides. History isn’t cut and dry has the textbooks make it out to be. It also shaping future debate of who and what we are in very subtle ways. Ideas take a very long time to take hold before the conditions are right to burst forth into the light of days. Reap what you sow.

I have always studied the underlying why of how a small dedicated group of individuals can cause fundamental changes in the overall society. It only takes 3 players to rig a soccer game. The same number can subvert a police district. Not a conspiracy. A band of fellow travelers looking to enlarge themselves. All of which is driven by greed. They gather those other groups looking to push an ideological agenda close to theirs. The noise hiding the guiding hand. A guiding hand that is flexible enough to change tactics when needed. Trump is the noise. Pence is the Savior when he fails. A Savior in every sense of the word. With Bannon at his side.

Exactly what the Founding Fathers feared most.

Three Card Monty.

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The President elect communicates in 140 characters. His childish feuds and 3 am tweets capture the headlines. Daily. Russian hacking. Conflicts of interest in his world wide business brand driven empire. Recently admitted during his victory lap tour that “Drain the Swamp” was a good phrase. One he didn’t like until he saw the rection. Then he threw his slick carny sideshow barker soul into it. Keep poking the media to have them react the way he wants. All giving cover to the serious business of confirmation hearings for the people who will push fake science, anti regulation or ideologically driven attacks on their long hated targets.

One commentary  before the election talked about brand of Trump’s candidacy. He stated that Trump is a shallow thinker ruled by emotions who trust family over outsiders. Unless he could use them to help sell the Brand or achieve his narcissistic goals. Those supporting him are deep thinkers. Of a narrow extremist bent. Their America. Not yours or mine. Not the one of the people who voted for him live in. Then there’s Mike Pence. A Conservative’s Conservative. The True Believer. Question. Who was leader of Germany when Hitler came to power? Not Hitler.  He controlled the largest block of elected representatives in the Bundestag. Appeasement of a radical group for support of a weak leader in crisis.

The illusion of a free and liberal Germany helped elect the very ones bent on its destruction. A National Socialist is a non starter in the US. Cold War propaganda ensured that. Being a newish small “s” socialist in a extremely Capitalist society, I have argued that the color red is a hindrance. Forget the history. It closes the mind to any reasonable thing we could point out. So Mike Pence is waiting on deck. Calm. Sure of himself. Out of the eye of the storm. The favorite guy in the the clubhouse. While the multimillionaire star is an arrogant ass no one willing to have a beer with.

So the question is, who will spring the trap? The ones set by the Democrats are clearly marked to keep the innocent kids away. Safety first. Measures pushed by certain vocal factions. Here’s your signs, police tape and noise makers. Shut Up. We’re hunting here. How’s that gonna turn out? Who’s waiting in the tall grass with the elephant guns? The more extreme portions of the party in power. Those that fell for the biggest lies told by their savior from anything Obama.

I like puzzles. Not the detective story type. More the Sherlock Holmes kind. Clues hidden in plain sight by criminals operating from their basest instincts. The criminal Mastermind is always the ones closest to the mark. Theirs is a high level con. Simply look at the ones surrounding Trump has advisers.  Reminds me of South American strongmen and dictators rather than the European model of democracy. Trevor Noah of the Daily Show found the best comparison. South Africa. The country he was born and raised in. One he knows intimately. The pieces are all there on the table. Edges done in Red State 2010. Just that little bit in the center to go.

The table everyone has studied. Talked about in quiet conversations. A one time chance. Don’t screw this up. Then there that one guy. Listening. Watching. Looking at the human pieces. 3D chess Master. Just my thoughts based on all the speculative fiction I’ve read since my teen years. It clicked with the way my brain works. I truly hope I’m wrong.

Another Universe

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One person who has haunted me. A man waiting for  another bus. Someone that could have been me in another universe. Someone we’ve all seen. The guy on the side of the road holding the sign asking for help. I’ve given money to them. Believing in the power of the 90% rather than the fear of the 10% who abuse the trust. Intent matters.

The wind chill was a painful -6. This long gray breaded gentleman was sitting there on a concrete bench. Hands gripping the edge. Shoulders hunched. Head down. Winter boots and thin jeans. The cold wind was to be endured. His sign was folded under his arm. Around the shoulder of his faded white jacket with the American flag pattern was a woman’s sling purse. Two in facts. Brightly colored. Designed for Summer. The season of hope and rebirth. Better days. He could have been a piece of street art in his stillness. Not the quiet stillness of exploring possible futures. This was the implacable grimness of despair. The glacier that grinds everything before it.

One of the Do All special needs folk knew him. She was the only one who approached him. Used his name. The most important sound a human can hear. No reaction has she guided him inside. Just another bench to brace the weight threatening to crush him. A study in utter defeat of the human soul. Masters of Russian literature could spends chapters dissecting this familiar stranger’s inner thoughts.

What I do know is there but for the right medication and an understanding Ex, That could have been me. If I had gone back to Texas, it would have been. The icy cutting wind was a welcoming warm summer breeze compared to the frozen dagger in that moment of kinship. An intimate connection that forced me to wait outside. I wish him well but can’t help him. Still too close to that edge on a thin rope most days.

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