Weather: A little feverish without the breeze, pleasant with it
Number of people: 7 stoppers, 2 walkbys
Number of hecklers: 2 very very mildly sexual comments that wouldn’t even be a big deal if they didn’t stem from the same place that more aggressive and frightening comments come from
Pages of notes: 8, 4 from one person
Alternate Histories: 1, sort of
Dogs seen: 1, briefly from a distance
Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $1.75
Hair colors of today: bright purple; streaky lavender, pink and green like the mane of a magical unicorn.
A lot of people used the “stupid voice” rhetorical strategy today. Lots of TV hate, too.
The “sort of” alternate history came from a very long and detailed conversation that I’ve excerpted part of here, but that really deserves (and will get) its own post.
The little boy whose family walks by most days now starts the face-making and looks at me to make a face back.
I was anxious in the winter. It was brutal. Definitely my mood changes with the seasons. Once the weather broke, I felt better. You get to the point where you’re just exhausted–the cold’s exhausting, the snow is exhausting. We actually had a spring this year–last year we just went from winter to summer. [Marks Wickford on the map.]
Do you want to say something about why you love it?
Serenity. I went to grammar school there, but I didn’t really appreciate it when I was a kid. It makes me feel serene, and that’s very important to me, because I’m in recovery.
Being homeless, needing medication, needing food. They told me I need preauthorization for my meds and they wouldn’t give it to me. The doctor gave me 15 days supply, that’s nothing.
[These two came up together.]
Her: I’m most anxious that we will keep limping along, just barely enough that no one ever has to really give a shit, that it’ll seem not quite that bad until it’s just over.
What do you mean when you say “over”, like total destruction of planet?
Her: Not even that. That we’ll just limp along in shitty ways, destroying cities, more people living without food and water, nobody ever doing anything real about it.
Him: Not the planet, the planet doesn’t give a fuck.
Her: The planet will be better after we’re gone–our destruction would probably be productive for the planet.
What do you think doing something real about it would be?
Her: There’s gonna have to be some sort of fairly major global solutions, intergovernmental cooperative efforts. My own inclination is to encourage these piecemeal solutions, permaculture, local actions, but that’s very limited.
What do you think we’d have to be willing to give up for those global solutions?
I feel like that’s one of those piecemeal, personal things though–what about on a global level like you were talking about?
Him: Our autonomy as a nation. Other countries too, but Americans are more egocentric–“Oh, we’re an exception, we’re so special.”
Her: The opaque nature of our own complicit behavior, and where our money comes from and what it goes toward, how it contributes to these issues, how they’re interconnected. Governments would need to be much more transparent.
[Doctor’s note: this is the conversation that turned into a very detailed, concrete set of ideas for an alternate way of proceeding, and I want to give those ideas their own post.]
It’s fear porn–don’t go out of your house, don’t go out in the street, be afraid to live. That’s what they want anyway. As humanity we have to protect each other and love each other until the end. Nothing lasts forever. What matters is each other and how we treat each other. There’s schools in this city that are built with toxic chemicals, toxic sites on either side. It’s eugenics. And people are like, “Well, gotta go to work. At some point we’ll get back to you.” And then all of a sudden that was thirty years ago and people are all, “We shoulda done something about that.” [At other times in history], people would come after you with pitchforks and torches and a puppet of yourself, and they’d be like, “This is you,” and set that shit on fire. And you’d be like, “Holy crap, they’re pissed, let’s back off.” … People get a hostile vibe from me ’cause I’m like, What’s wrong with you–’cause shit’s fucked up. I’m like Debbie Downer with my friends … they’ll be like, “Uh, still working on that job search, talk to you later.”
What’s making me anxious is finding out if I’ll get permanently the job I’ve been temping for. I have an interview on the 29th with [REDACTED].
Do you get a good sense from the people there?
Yes, especially the boss I’m working with now. He wrote me a letter of recommendation to apply. It’s a good office, I like the people, I’m good at the work. It would be perfect, but they won’t confirm it. They’re interviewing 36 people, and … all it takes is one niece, one cousin of a politician.
Today’s poems (two because I didn’t do one on Thursday):
The quivering jaw
the soft sign
how to recognize
your other future as a horror
spell it out for me
the business of your metal
bike frames and rubber tires
to wear out and sell
today’s bad it’s a bad day
how are you today
I’m so bad today
I’m full sore today
I can’t seem to remember today
or run out of horror
it won’t exhaust
its deep source in me
spring of dust
I don’t really believe
surely I don’t really
bear it if I did
I couldn’t if I really
could restore it
what the rule would be
feel the path cut out
for me on the ground
walk over my growing
grave the worst of it
we can’t name or know
but can only read
till our eyes are sore
without ever showing
that we weren’t looking
I don’t want to feel a terrible hope
I want to feel a regular hope like this
will work or work out not like this
will transform and tear through
there is always a leap a last
step to be taken the story says
it but not what it was and not
whether it worked once
the story part was past and I thought
it was real he said I thought
it was something that happened
he said this yesterday so today
we can talk about it in the past
we can know that much and see
that furthered out so still of stature
are we that every shadow
of every pebble looks like
it could be the dark fall
waiting for our leap