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I know what time it is – the plants on my balcony fade from green to beige to dead-brown.

He knows what time it is but doesn’t want anyone else to know – but they know.

She knows what time it is but doesn’t care about me anymore – her life is on track and going very well.

They know what time it is – time to continue on as ever as the light fades away.


When I was little, Fall was a tall pile of crunchy leaves in the backyard. It was the great expanse of our place in the world made bigger by the absence of foliage – more space to play. Fall was the shrugging on of colorful, warm coats pulled from the front closet with the wide swinging doors. 


Look at the girl, grinning. Dream of that girl, dreaming. Back before everything became different.


What do you remember? What will she remember – little sweet running thing, tiny small jumping thing, precious baby laughing thing? What can we make, build, burn, do for her? What did you ever think you could do?


Beauty staring into beauty, fading like colors of Fall, fading like memories of childhood, staring backwards at everything, staring forwards at everything. Take more pictures – they don’t fade as fast.

The grounds swirl at the bottom of my coffee cup, proving gravity exists as the sun rises. You won’t notice them as you sip your sweetened caffeine, don’t worry. This is European Style I tell myself. In reality it’s probably poorly done, but it makes me happy pressing down the plunger – a sense of satisfaction. Today, I did something. I pressed a plunger down and I made some coffee that tasted pretty good at least to the standards of how it usually tastes when I make my coffee which is pretty much every single time I ever have coffee.

This year has dragged on and drag-raced away. Somehow the plants have kept growing and the windowsills always need to be dusted again. Families have felt deep loss, countries have faced harsh realities, the world has taken a collective breath and held it, trying not to breathe on one another.

As the sun comes up and the level of coffee in my mug goes down, I think about power. The power of the wealthy. The power of kindness. How hard it is to be kind when you’re powerless, with no resources to your name. How easy it is to be kind if you make the choice, despite how the world has shown itself to be.

The very best people I know struggle to live the way they want to. The most deserving humans whom I love, suffer. Talent, goodness, and kindness are left to swirl down the drain along with the remnants of my morning coffee. These are the things we don’t care about.

The sun is all the way up now. We see exactly what we are. The lights are on bright as we string up more lights for this holiday season, as we fill and refill our mugs full. We know what we are, you and I. What shall we do about it?

 

What is there to say? We’ve said it all already – all of the words. Which of them were useful? Which good? Is there any more good coming?

Still, all we have are questions. Still, all we have are more problems – more and more, piling on top of one another, rotting the older ones into forgetful oblivion, stinking up the inside of our heads, leading to another question: what is that smell? Is it our democracy, dead or dying?

Far away and right next door, a girl takes a white paper flag and covers it in colorful words. No justice, no peace. We are here, we are loud. You will listen. You will hear me. This has gone on long enough, all of it. All of us. Together, we make this. Together, we must change this.

Far away and right next door, a man swears loudly at his ancient television screen. Things are not right. There is danger at every corner. The world has gone mad. If my father were alive to see this, he thinks, well, thank the lord he’s not. Everything will be better, soon. We must continue on, we’ll get there – back to normal.

Too small-minded to see the bigger picture. Too big-headed to have any room for an inkling of: perhaps it should be different. Too smart for this planet, too dumb for this planet. This, as they say, is us.

 

 

 

 

We should stay inside. Let the other animals have back their planet. Surely we have had enough of it already.

Our time is over. It should be clear to us now what it is we have done here. Let’s wait a century, see what happens, see what can improve.

We do not deserve the trees. We do not deserve to travel. We do not deserve to see more than what is viewable from the windows of our earth-constructed homes.

Let us cease to roam. Stop taking more than what is essential. It is not good. It is very likely bad.

So let us stay inside. We can listen together as the birds come back, chirping loudly on “overgrown” trees. Let the grass grow tall, be overtaken by “weeds”. Let the natural plants come home as we stay inside ours.

We do not need anything more. We have taken too much already. We are surrounded by it. It is killing us and everything.

The wolves will roam the streets. No man will force them away and out. The roads will crumble, return to dirt, return to forests. The Earth will heal itself, given time.

It is a small thing. We are too big. Enormous. We rules the skies, the seas, the highest mountains. We took it all. We should return it. We have more than what is necessary. Humans must learn to share.

 

 

If she could see me now, she wouldn’t believe it. Look at us, I whisper at her through time, you’d love this. Everything you wanted and still nothing.

We are at the brink, at the edge of destruction, at the cusp, the final race, the last human choice. We will go forward from here. It may be a beginning or an ending – we won’t know for many years.

Years ago the future was dark to me – a mystery. It still is. He still is. We still are.

The ivy plant I stole is growing in the windowsill, so slowly. What will its future be?

You should write – you should sing – you should dance to bad music – you should travel before your hips and knees and eyes go out.

What is it to us? We cannot see the melting glaciers from our ivory towers.

She told me it was a fine example of fictocriticism. I told her I like to refer to it as my life.

Ich bin ausländer.

On the train a little girl tells her mom about London. London doesn’t hurt like Berlin does, she says, leaving the train. She goes back to her hotel. She leaves Berlin. She grows up and some other things happen.

Photographs like the blink of an eye. Memories like faded photographs. I can’t see anything in my head. All is dark here.

Today it snowed in the place where I was born. Today it was the hottest it’s ever been in Antarctica. We are all cold and dying like the sun. Her son will be born soon, into this mess we’ve made. Clean your room, child. Put your toys away. Be responsible for something.

 

1. We’re not dead yet!

2. Be kinder. But on the other hand, people who think climate change is fake are responsible for the continued destruction of our one and only goddamn beautiful planet Earth. So what can we really do?

3. Sparkles!

4. Politics is war.

5. Let’s all remember that one time in 2012 when Josh Tillman (Father John Misty) tweeted @ me about my dad being a fan COS WE ALL NEED SOME GOOD MEMORIES IN THIS DAY AND AGE

(shout out to Walmart’s wall of fake flowers and that black coat that kept me warm for several winters)

6. I see your 24-hour cold brew coffee and raise you my half-full of cold coffee french press which has been left abandoned on my desk for a week. Take that, hipster scum!

7. Grow a garden. Plant trees. Sunshine.

8. Read something by Alan Watts (or Carl Sagan or anyone)

9. Podcasts are great. Podcasts are radio? Who wants to make a podcast with me?! Does EVERYONE have a podcast?? Does the world NEED more podcasts??

10. We can win.

 

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1. You must earn respect again and again. It is not a birthright. It doesn’t come from a title, even if you think it comes from a title, even if it seems to. You have to prove yourself, always, forever, until you die. And then maybe the respect or the disrespect people held for you will live on.

2. Everyone’s already finished the new season of Orange is the New Black. So, now that you’ve got some free time, you should binge watch Grace and Frankie!

3. I love so many people so much and it’s so wonderful.

4. “I can dig it.”

5. Hey guys, maybe we should be more concerned about the planet than like, kim kardashian, whoever that is? Just a thought.

6. Why are you not internet stalking me enough?!

7. Breaking News: White boys white girl dance, too! I’ve seen it! With my very own eyes! Now excuse me, I have to go flail my arms around to this music.

8. Go outside!

9. He has a selfie stick but I still like him. Which is impressive. Although, selfie sticks are becoming more acceptable generally. I think it all started in Asia and then maybe someone flew one over to the States and the rest is, um, selfie history! I could really talk about this forever. Shall I go on?! I won’t. #selfiesticks

10. I am not afraid of many things, but, expressway construction is terrifying. Please stop making me drive in pretend lanes you basically drew with sidewalk chalk and built solid concrete walls around! Thanks!