It's relatively early on a Friday night and I'm cruisin' around Austin taking swigs from a bottle of cheap wine after yet another job interview fiasco. All of us are a few bad decisions away from being winos, so keep your judging to a minimum, jack. Anyway, I'm out here looking for ghosts and answers, fishing for options and trying to find the corpse of opportunity in some fucking gutter. I'm out here because I'm too restless to stay home and too damn broke to go anywhere. As far as interstitial spaces go, this one is on the awful side of the spectrum.
I'm listening to Nighthawks at the Diner and thinking that folks like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Leonard Cohen, who fucking died yesterday because Death sometimes makes horrible mistakes, made me want to write more than many famous authors ever did. "Yeah, I know, things are tough all over," says Tom. You got that fucking right, man.
I want to scream into void and punch a wall, but years of doing that have taught me that the result is a sore throat and busted knuckles. I can't afford pills or weed or a bottle of something better, so I have to inhale all this truth and deal with it without a single balm, without a bit of a filter, without a damn layer of merciful cushioning. Then I turn the radio a little louder and realize that politics and anger are noise that interrupt my usual mellow. They're like huge bees fucking up my picnic. I have a stack of novels at home and a whispering creek right outside my door. In my head I have a woman, a narrative, and a thirst for revolution. If I let them sing to me, something akin to a miracle could happen.
I look out the window and take in the city. There's a man dressed like Zorro at a bus stop. A few blocks later, a dude in a yellow wig is holding a flag and a "Vote for Bernie!" sign. At a red light on Burnet, I see an obese woman screaming at someone I can't see on the sidewalk. Just because I can't see whatever or whoever she's screaming at doesn't mean that he/she/it is not there. I find myself hoping she wins the argument. The light changes and once again, like a thousand times before, I fall in love with this city. Yeah, she has tried to kill me a few times, but true love is all about forgiveness.
Suddenly I accept it all. Tomorrow I will still be poor and the next book will still be waiting for me to write it and Trump will still be our next president despite our protests and there will still be a need for love and revolution and comprehension and empathy and people will still be upset about everything and arguing online and kids will go hungry in every country and someone will check out via a bullet to the brain and someone will kiss another human for the first time and a baby will be born and change a few lives the instant he or she appears and someone will listen to some of the songs that I keep in my head and the buzzing of a tattoo machine will turn blank skin into art and someone will devour delicious chicken tacos and someone will bleed and someone will say fuck as they twist open a bottle of aspirin and someone will get mad at a movie and someone will buy a book someone else wrote and someone will be in a car accident and and someone will have a great birthday and someone else will eat a piece of their cake and someone will look at a stranger in a public space and imagine a perfect future with them before swallowing it all and not saying a word and someone will be happy that it's Saturday and someone will drink alone in a dirty sofa and remember that thing that destroyed their life and someone will decide to go on a diet and someone will hug a loved one and someone will make an important phone call as butterflies fill their stomach with uncomfortable fluttering and someone will do their best to fight injustice and the world will be a little better because they gave a shit about it and someone will dream about taking a trip to Africa and someone will listen to Fela Kuti and someone will wake up next to a stranger an think fuuuuuuuuuuck before looking around for their shit and bailing and someone will project their insecurities on someone else and someone will hop on a plane with a rucksack full of dreams and someone will learn to forgive and someone will stab someone else for reasons that may or may not make the stabbing a righteous thing and someone will make their mom happy and someone will walk their dog and someone will peel an orange and smell its wonderful aroma and someone will put a gun in their mouth and then remove it without pulling the damn trigger and someone will see a child smile at a dog and someone will realize how fucking awesome it is to watch birds flying into the horizon and someone will dip their toes in the ocean and someone will remember an ex with nothing but love or hatred or respect or lust and someone will have a great conversation with a stranger and the world will keep spinning and I will keep living because that's the only thing we can do.
Then Tom sings and I listen and it all makes sense. You have to learn to love the world even when it's ugly and you don't understand it. You have to love the world as you stand up for what's right and stomp on the skulls of fucking Nazis. You have to love the anger you feel and the things that are wrong and you have to love your ability to fight for change.
I turn around in the parking lot of a grocery store and head back home as I sing along these words for you:
Will love you the way that I could
Cause nobody, nobody's that strong
Cause nobody is that strong"