Monday, September 30, 2013

Public Service Announcement


    Everything is not okay in America. Our quality of life is across the board appalling for a first world country. Education means nothing to the majority of the population and educated people laugh at the idea of following a career in humanities. Every time some person stuck in their demented, delusional, and lonely head decides to get a gun and try to shoot up a whole mess of people, the public clamors that youth is to blame without asking why.
    Why? Why would someone do such a thing? Why does it keep happening? Why has it happened in the past? It has happened in the past (A lot of times they used bombs instead.) Don't ask we who, don't ask me when, don't ask me where. Pick up a book and do some work for yourself. Work on being a human. Here I'll give you some direction: Read almost anything Don Delillo has written, read Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Read Kurt Vonnegut I write for the millionth time. Okay, some more specifics: Cosmopolis by Don Delillo. Shut off your brain to morbid and glorious globalization and read that book.

    Blaming reflection is a cowardly move. If you blame thinking for doing, you aren't thinking straight because you are most likely afraid to think.
    What do I know? Lots of things most people I know believe to be useless. This is why I write. No one wants to hear it again.
    It's not not nice. I know. Do you know what is nice? A sunset? A mountain? A vast body of water? A child?
    Nope, those are only nice in pictures. A sunset is so radiant and colorful due to noxious vapors released by products of human progress poisoning the air we breath since the industrial age and the nuclear core of a star that is, as much as many of us do now want to hear it, finite. A mountain is a scar on the seam of a landscape, evidence of the Earth's growing pains and a monument to the fact that it wants humans dead. A vast body of water, any vast body of water is, at our core, humanities toilet. A beautiful cistern for our poisonous run off. A child? A child is a selfish being. They only know self, unless we teach them that they aren't that special. As much as many people want to believe this, hitting them will not teach them humanity or empathy. Children must experience things to understand them.
    Zero tolerance on growing minds breeds contempt for those imposing zero tolerance. Zero tolerance is for those who already know better or should know better.
    A ten year old bully is a reflection of an adult bully who should know better.
    Why are we scared to talk to children? We were children once, we know what it is like, we know it can hurt, and we know we made it through it with help from others who made it through it as well; with us or before us.
    A ten year old with a gun? I'm almost positive I could out wit a ten year old with a gun unarmed. They are without full dexterity and, by the way, why the fuck does a ten year old have a gun? That is a reflection of someone who should know better.

    Things are not okay in America. If you are jealous of the youth of America, you must have had a really fucked up youth. I sorry to know that. Remember the fist fight you lost because you never knew you were going to be in a fist fight? Remember when you were hit for doing something you didn't know was wrong until after you were hit? Do you remember the first time a girl accidentally crushed your heart by simply not paying attention or not caring? And you made it through all of that and much more. You have something to say to these children, no matter how they act, selfish as they are.
    What about eighteen year old children wishing to wield weapons? Send them to the middle east, correct? I still don't believe oil is an excuse and that (as well as road rage brought on by extended inactivity behind the wheel of a car) is why I try to ride my bike as often as possible.

    Have you ever watched a documentary by Ken Burns?
    Jazz.
    Baseball.
    The Civil War.
    The War.
    National Parks.
    The West. (That was his brother, but it is still great.)
    Prohibition.
    The Dust Bowl.
    Everyone of those is a reflection of America on a shoe string budget. The Public Broadcasting System is deteriorating with every passing year and this makes me a little more depressed. But who am I? Just a human writing what I need to write to get by at the moment.

    Everything is not alright in America, but it could be worse. It could also be better and there are many trying to make it better. Believe it or not, a lot of them are young and because they are young they are most likely scared. Understandably scared. Moral support goes a lot further than moral condemnation.
    It is a beautiful September day in Indiana. It is warm and there is very little humidity. If I cannot appreciate that, I cannot appreciate anything. Thank you.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Do Not Fully Understand Metaphysics: A Collage


"Aesthetics, for me, is what ornithology must be to the birds."
-An Abstract Expressionist

"I'm not one who gives in to the notion of visual omens and portents very often. But watching a flock of turkey buzzards circle above an art museum packs a pretty powerful aesthetic wallop on a partly cloudy September day."
-Me

This is a sentence I hate:
Postmodern polytheism in a neo-romantic sociopolitical and environmental American environment in the twenty first century.
And I wrote it.

This is a poem I hate:
I fucked around with sketchy dudes.
I smoked weed in your house.
I read books believed to be subversive.
I fucked and used people
to get my way.
I ran back to you.
Have we reached seven lines yet?
And I wrote it.

I like haiku because it cuts away the fat of words:
nature does not judge
it does not know how to judge
it acts on instinct

I rarely act on word play on several levels unless it is all I have to work with:
cellar door
sell her door
sheller boar
shell her bore
keller store
hell and more
bell or yore
tell her more
sell the store
smell her core
fell and more
-excellent exercise everyone-
tore the bore
smelled her core
sell your store
more and more
more and more and more
more and more and more and more
(the bell rings)
-thank you aaron i'll get back to you next semester remember to read the homework i assigned everyone-

Bullshit written to pass the time:
If I am in the right mood
I could probably steal your girlfriend,
but I don't want to steal your girlfriend.
Unless I have to...
Devious cyclical thoughts.

And this:
I am not trying to hurt you,
but you clearly do not love me
for who I am.
That's fine,
but you don't have to
destroy me.
I don't want to be destroyed.
Do you?
A loaded question.

This too:
Andy Warhol always answered honestly unless he was afraid.

Notes on Song of Songs:
I don't say this enough:
-You are beautiful.
-You are cute.
-Your ass looks great.
-Your smile calms me.
-Your smile agitates and excites me.
-Your hair is a natural wonder.
-I want your mouth, your face, your lips, your body pressed against me.
-I want to touch you.
-I want you to touch me
-I want to press against you.
-I want to touch your body: press it, grope it, lay upon it, have it laying upon me, make it one with mine, even for a short time in the cosmic scale of things.
(damn it!)
-I want to stare at you, examine you, study you and your body, your beautiful body and your face, your beautiful face, both calm and flush and all which lies between the two.
-I want to appreciate the in between of the two.
-Note: the four: north, south, east, west, and all else in between.
-Note: the other two which makes six: up and down.
-Note: one more makes seven: everything in between that is so hard to define.
-They are "twin fawns of a gazelle."

Define Joy:
1) Joy is discovering something you know you will love forever.
2) Joy is waking up next to someone you always wanted to wake up next to and feeling no guilt or anxiety.
3) Joy is the static energy in an over crowded car filled only with people you want to be over crowded by. All of you drift down a country road in the middle of the night, heading nowhere and anywhere.
4) Joy is discussing something you are usually afraid to bring up and finding interested listeners; interested listeners with something to say about this something being discussed. Even if there are opposing opinions, the discussion continues through waves of anxiety, eventually residing back to joy.
5) Joy is witnessing.
6) Joy is instigating.
7) Joy is spontaneously acting on the usually unfathomable urge to sing a song you know or wrote or made up on the spot. DANCE FOR YOURSELF IF NO ONE WILL DANCE WITH YOU!
8) Joy is listening to a friend, stoned as you all were, singing every verse to Old Man River, their favorite song. They sang A cappella while everyone paused, rapt by the voice and the gut wrenching words they sang.
9) Joy is kissing her and she kisses you back.
10) Joy is seeing something you have made turn into something you are proud to have made.
11) Joy is finding a beautiful place where you never expected to find a beautiful place.
12) Joy is the expectation of an encounter with something beautiful and being justified with an encounter with something that is indeed beautiful, such defines "overjoyed."
13) Joy can also be a game.

Ah! I knew I'd finally get there!

Aaron C. Molden




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Illiterate Bukowski


Illiterate Bukowski

(Start tape recorder)
   
     Nobody believes in god these days. It's a shame, but I can't blame them. Even if I don't believe in god, I still got love to explain the idea of god. But if no sucker believes in god, I start to wonder if the world tricked its way out of feeling love the way I tricked my way out of feeling god.
    So I sit here looking out my window in my attic apartment and I see both a church and a bar. I sit and I drink and I smoke and I think: two places, one to pretend you love god and one to pretend you love love.
    I can't blame them and I'm too tired to give a shit anymore.

(Stop tape recorder)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Art Bust


Art Bust

    Alright, alright, break it up. You over there, put down the paint brush. That doesn't even look like a flower.
     A what? It's a face? Man, you're lucky I showed up.
     Hey kid, stop singing. No one wants to hear it and even if they did they can't understand what you are saying.
    I  have the floor now.

    Now, all of you know you don't have a permit to be doing what you are doing here. I'm looking at you guys over in the drum circle. And the dance circle while I'm at it. And the table working on collages, you know we still allow scrap-booking here, so clean up your act and join the club for a reasonable fee of twenty dollars a month. Anyways, all of you know -and if you don't let me be the first to inform you- you can't be developing personal or reflective expressions (art as some call it, whatever that is suppose to mean) unless you have the proper permit. I don't care if it is on your own time. I don't care if you're not making any money off of it. What I care about is that it is against the law unless you have a permit.
    Hey! Hey you over there. Don't think I can't see you. Were you doodling in your notebook while I was talking? You see, this is the whole problem. How can we know what you're doodling over there? All you have to do is purpose your idea to city counsel, let them discuss the proposal and respond back to you in three to six weeks, reconvene, discuss it again, and then vote on whether you can doodle your proposed doodle in your notebook, but only after the residing authority figure has said what they intend to say. Is that so hard, doodler?
    What's that? Are you being a smart ass? Fine, dancers, take his pen away.
    See, they know who the authority is here and that is why there will always be dancers.

    Wait! Natasha. Come on, don't be like this. I was only joking. Natasha. Come on Natasha, I thought you could take a joke. Baby, I'm kidding, I love what you do. Come on baby, I'm working.
    Fine. Leave. I don't care.

    Anyways. You guys know you're in the wrong here. The law is the law. I was going to just give you guys a warning, but the doodler over there ruined it for all of you.
    Don't even think about it, drum circle! I have a taser as well as a gun. I can bring you down faster than you guys can bring your palms down to the skin of your drum head. I can incapacitate you without serious damage if that is what I have to do.
    Sue, please stop trying to fix your already glued collage. Just get back to the scrapbooking club and no one will say a word.
    Where did that young singer go? I guess he snuck out when I saw you, doodler. You can't understand what he's saying anyways. Yeah she's understandable, I know, but... Whatever.
    Where'd that flower guy go? What? A head? Really? I guess I'll take him, I guess. A head? Really? There is something wrong with you, kid.

    You know I don't want to have to come back here. All of you be more careful and let me... let us know if you see that singing kid again. You too, doodler.
    What? I don't know. That's not my problem. Why don't you go home and watch TV or play videogames? While were at it, hand me that notebook, I'll dispose of it promptly. Oh, real mature, I don't even look like that. Just for that you're coming with me and flower over here.
    Everyone else. I better not catch you guys doing this without a permit again.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Existential Mess


I hate this:
I wait too long to feel anything other than empathy towards other persons, especially if I believe I will fall in love with them. I stave off instincts of human thought such as admiration, infatuation, obsession. I sandbag against the rising tide or fill buckets of uncomfortable emotion, pooling it up in my conscious mind, as it drifts a top the dark sea below.  I toss it over the side once more, over and over again, until it is too late and I sink.
It is too late. I procrastinate.
I have no stake in this emotional claim. I should have nothing to feel when the news drops. I am intellectually prepared for this news, but when I hear it, when I know it, when I understand it in my mind, my body drops out.
My stomach drops and I curl slightly, trying, always trying to fight it, but the rest of my body still gives a little to my stomach when it drops in a way I thought it would never do again. I struggle against collapsing into a fetal position. Resisting fetal position is a very human and adult thing to do even when my body is telling me the is no other option: defiance to reality.
I can still think somewhere in my mind it is all in my head.
There is so many important things dwell on and this is what I fall apart about?
What an asshole.
Another dream lost, it seems. I have so many dreams and visions, but losing one always hurts. I do not think it is impossible to find again, but I know I need to mourn. I hope this does not last very long, though I am aware it can. Doing this streamlines extended arbitrary mental suffering and it can ripple and rub other people, other persons, the wrong way due to limited imagination or perception of reality. BLAH BLAH BLAH!
Retreating to the fetal position is inevitable.
Oh, my pregnant head.
There is a reason to care
even if I am disappointed.
There is a reason to care
especially if I am disappointed.
It is okay to be angry.
Do something constructive with it.
Also, listen to Moondog.

Aaron C. Molden

Thursday, September 12, 2013

After the Sunset


After the Sunset

I.
    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We were immersed by a herd of Bedlington Terriers. Four moppy little gray dogs stampeding toward the water. A slightly whiter, moppy little dog with a genetic mohawk from the top of its head to the tip of its nose trailed behind them. The breeder of the dogs, a broad shirtless red and white man, balding and middle aged with a beer gut and defiantly proud posture, bounced down to the shore. Instead of the dogs following him to the water, they detoured to our camp.
    Is there anything more emotionally satisfying than petting a dog? Petting a designed dog with curly teddy bear hair and a perfectly plastic looking snout still wet and glistening because it is still real and alive? Petting a herd of designed dogs in recline with the reward of compassionate stroking and petting? Petting a wet dog with thoughts of loyalty, though it does not understand word, but does recognize the action? Brushing away the anomalies in their coats gently, but meaningfully?
    Yes. There is, but this would do.
    "They're okay?" the breeder yelled to us. I waved my hand to indicate yes. Eventually Savannah and Haleh ran over to the breeder of the terriers. Jacob and I watched and made quiet sarcastic comments. "You have questions." He told them. 

"Bashar Assad's government must be punished after allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, possibly including sarin gas to kill hundreds of Syrians."
-The Associated Press, August 2013

Read the sentence again. Focus on two seemingly benign words: allegedly and possibly. Translation: United States policy is shoot first and ask questions later. In America we are confidant about our actions, but a bit wishy-washy about our explanations. We tried to attack another country in the Middle East: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and no doubt countless others I am woefully unaware of.
    When the light was still good, I saw her naked beneath her bathing suit, white wet cloth barely concealing her peach and tan skin. An Iranian and an American and a beautiful girl with no doubt beautiful and terrible thoughts in her mind. 

II.
    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We walked on the beach towards the east in near total darkness. At first Jacob posted up next to Savannah. Haleh was next to Savannah, farther away, closer to the water. Facial and figure expressions were faint. I lagged behind them. I ran to catch up and create an equal sequence of four instead of an uneven sequence of three. When I reached them Haleh dashed forward. Savannah sped up, turned in front of Jacob, then me and grouped with Haleh. Ahead of the boys.
    The waves had grown near deafening. As the ability of ones eyes recede the other most present sense takes over their perception. I learned my second sense is sound, again. The white noise of the waves of water crashing against sand and rocks over and over, relentlessly crashing, foaming, bubbling, sloshing, misting, gurgling, roaring, the waves were roaring.
    I hate myself sometimes for knowing I should be doing something, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I am a procrastinator. I have to live with this.
    Jacob stopped walking, but I did not know. I was staring at my feet moving in front of my dwindling line of visions. Wide feet walking in wet sand. Eventually I looked up. Haleh was faint, but far ahead of me. I could no longer see Savannah. I looked back and barely saw Jacob, staring to the west. I shrugged my shoulder to the east to imply walking with no luck in him responding. Then I simply shrugged and tried to catch up with the girls without running. I looked back again.. I almost reached Haleh. I still could not see Savannah. Haleh dashed ahead once again. I kept walking until I saw them both. I stopped because they had stopped. They were talking. I looked back at Jacob, who was nearly out of sight. I looked over to Savannah and Haleh. They began walking towards the west and me and Jacob. I began walking west and towards Jacob hoping we had not lost them to unknowable darkness. Dark white noise.
    We were a group again on the walk back to the car. We found a small sand dune and tried to smash it down to the water with our feet. We could have done it if we were more determined, but we were hungry.

III.
    Let me tell you about after the sunset or what I know about after the sunset.
    We went to a Mexican restaurant in a plaza with dental care offices and wine distributors. It had a triangle-shaped court yard with a gazebo and a fountain. Rose bushes scattered the courtyard. I could not tell it is was fake or surreal or if there was ever really a difference between this place and the places I truly know. 
    "I've had better quesadillas, but these will do for now." Some asshole said.
    After dinner, Jacob and Savannah sat under the gazebo. Jacob started rubbing Savannah's neck. I leaned against a wood post supporting the roof of the gazebo staring into the dark sky. Haleh cradled, then plucked a rose from a rose bush by the fountain.
    I elected myself to drive home. Not a hard sell from the rest of the group. I stopped for gas and coffee, then drove home to Lafayette, Indiana with two slumbering girls in the back seat and a barely conscious young man in the passenger seat, trying to listen to me pontificate about the song I recognized on the radio. They were adorable in the backseat car light, sleeping head to head when I opened the car door.
    "We're home." I said.

     Lake Michigan has been I vacation destination through the most wonderful and most dreadful times of the past century, when taking flight was not necessarily an option. The Globalization of my mind almost lost this notion. Almost.

Aaron C. Molden


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Day: Part 3


Working

    The work was monotonous and labor intensive. For Jed and Zeke it was mindless and off balance, their thoughts never able to sync with their movements. The other workers did not trust Jed or Zeke with anything other than a shovel. The way they wielded their shovels never reached the natural fluidity it could have because neither of them seemed interested or even able to focus on the task they had at hand. Through out the day Zeke wandered off to the grass and sat quietly, next to his shovel, sometimes staring at his phone. All of the workers, including Jed, did not react to these impromptu breaks. Most of them must have believed the most useful thing Zeke could do was be useless and out of the way.

Shoveling rubble. Your arms plunge the spade into the pile of drywall. Push the wood or plastic handle down. The bent metal plate angles upwards and scoops chunks of chalky compressed dust. You should be wearing a respirator, but you try not to think too much about what you are actually breathing most of the time. This fascination and misery is not a train of thought you enjoy dwelling on. Focus on the work. Focus on your form. Focus on the grace of the arc as your arms shift. Straighten your core as you catapult the shovel 180 degrees into the dumpster. An explosion of dust from with in the receptacle. A direct hit.
     This is satisfying work. It is a sunny day and you are working outside, not sitting in an air conditioned office, wondering what you could be typing or clicking on to prove what you are doing is really work. Only the frame of the collapsed building you stand within remains.
    You are sweating profusely. It is in these moments you are glad you sweat a lot. If you were in the desert it would be a problem. You drink a gallon of water on a full work day and try to remember to bring a salty snack. When you work like this in wooded areas, cutting down trees, slowing razing and leveling the Earth, there is usually a cooler provided with juice, Gatorade, and water. The work crew mix and match different liquids, all in an attempt to level out their ideal Ph levels. After an hour or so of physical labor you always become stretched, calm, lucid in body and mind. Every drink is the best drink no matter what you're drinking.
 
    You get an hour for lunch. There is a reason you see a lot of work crews at buffets. Chinese buffets, Indian buffets, American buffets. Mexican restaurants with portions suspiciously large for the price you paid, but the food is almost always delicious and satisfying. Some times it makes you gassy and flatulent, but who cares? You're working outside. The crews are hungry and eager to eat. What could be better after the first half of a hard days work? Huevos Rancheros at Taco Rico. The pretty Latin waitress filled your water glass five times because you brought only a small water bottle to the work site. Your boss or who you believe to be your boss asked how much you paid for the bottle of water. He was sort of smiling and you knew he was mocking you. Drink it from the tap. You bought it for the bottle manufactured in China. It was not the time to discuss this because there was work to be done. You didn't think ahead and you can refill the bottle and its only a buck and some change. You smiled and said thank you to the pretty Latin waitress and always made eye contact when she came to the table. You were damp and dirty, but why not be a gentleman?
    Jed ate his chicken burrito furiously and without much table etiquette. Clumps of yellow rice and pinto beans spilled from the tortilla, down to the wax paper on his platter, creating sporadic and snared tapping noises. Zeke picked at his tacos, untrustworthy of the meats origin. He told Jed, several times during lunch, he should have ordered the chicken fingers.
 
    After lunch, the entire work crew became as sluggish as Jed, but not nearly as sluggish as Zeke. No one else would ever dare to be as sluggish as Zeke, not as experienced workers. All the crew was digesting their meal. You let yourself admit, after the sixth or seventh hour, this work has become tiresome. You, all of you except maybe Zeke, finish your final hour of work, some of you with complaint, some without. Acid slowly seeped into the muscles of your arms and legs and core. You are tired.
    Tom, with the thick glasses and streaks of gray hair, asked you if would like to join him and the crew for a beer after work. He always has a work belt on with an array of tools he carries, but never uses. You smile. You are tired and want to see your baby. You want to see your baby's mother, who you now live with and casually flirt with, mildly. You want to go home and kiss your child and flirt with your child's mother. There is a reason.
    Not tonight. Not this night. There is a reason.
    "Some other time" you said.

    At home you kissed your baby's mother, Sheena. She showed you a picture of baby Tyrone. You are use to seeing them. You usually go through the motions: look at the phone screen for five seconds, bring a smile to your face, look up and quickly kiss her on the lips and look into her eyes and then say "I'm going to check on Tyrone." You walk down the hall that will soon be decorated with pictures of Tyrone, framed in frames you and Sheena found that fit the printed pictures of Tyrone, once you and Sheena finally settle into the new place. This new place will be your home. A place where you will make a life. One hundred years of solitude.
     They tore down the old hospital. They tore down the Victorian funeral parlor, gated up with vagrants finding solace within the slowly deteriorating structure, built wide then upwards in ever narrower steppes. The sinew and skeleton of attempted geometry merges with a spiraled structure draped in shingles like dragon scales. Russian spires of subdued hues of light pink and lime green, so long all sooty and gray. They tore it down and you helped them. Because you helped them, they will want you and your opinion on how we should rebuild it all. Make it right, finally. They are building angled buildings across the river and waves of concrete roads across the land again. We are ready for another golden age and you will be there, ready and willing to build.
    You stopped and Sheena stopped. You stared at her phone longer than you usually do. This picture of Tyrone, with its light and its shadow over a plump chocolate face, concerned, worried, frustrated. A picture of a brooding black baby boy.
    You stared at Tyrone from the doorway in his centralized crib. Light cast shadows of you, then his mother towards him. You stared at Tyrone with your left arm around Sheena's waist.
    You went to the bed you intended to sleep in that night and prayed to your reason that you would not raise a Zeke and would be a little bit harder on a Jed. You cried. Sheena and you looked on at Tyrone from the doorway. Both stared at baby Tyrone, smiling, your arm around Sheena's waist.
    Remember innocence sometimes. It's scary how long it takes these days.
    "Sheena, be with me." You muttered.
    "What?"
    You kissed her lips.
    "He's young and will be perfect."
    You kissed her again.
     Sleep tonight, baby Tyrone.

Last week, They said there was something wrong with your brain. You do not like to think about it..

Aaron C. Molden

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunset


Sunset

I.
Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

I can tell you the sky was blue,
but blue is not enough.
Part of the sky was a gradient wash
of every word remembered or imagined
representing the different colors of blue:
Navy cerulean turquoise teal.
Somehow sky blue does not count
because I will never know all the different names
of all the different blues in the sky
in those precious moments
before everything was dark
on the beach.

I can tell you about the light.
What was earlier naked white light,
became robed in layers
of deep reds and Halloween oranges
and both bright and subdued yellows.
All of these colors have so many stories to tell.
Purple too.

I can tell you about green.
Lake Michigan washing waves to its shores,
an ebb and flow of liquid greens and blues.
Vast water allowing the sky above to open up.
Not a river snaking its way through the terrain.
Land bows to water here, for now.
A vast body of water can be a vast desert.
A vast body of water can be iced over by glacier.
This was neither here.

If there were a mountain, it would have obstructed the glowing yellow ball.
A subdued yellow ball I was raised not to stare at
because it could damage my eyesight
even when it is subdued,
seemingly harmless.
A mountain would explain what I am trying to explain through words:
crudely geometric panels with slowly shifting light and shadow
over a palette of sun and rock and water
accelerating with each passing moment.
Contrast.

II.
Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

There were four of us.
A co worker and a good friend,
his girlfriend, a pretty girl,
there friend, another pretty girl,
and me.
Lovers and bachelors are words
used in the time of cholera.

Jacob and I worked the first shift at the shop.
Both of us lethargically went about our day,
pretending, without much effort,
because I assume we were both mentally ground down
by our roles in human apathy atrophy entropy,
that we still cared.
We were not cued by rote memory
to respond to stimuli, both positive and negative.
Working added up to a whole lot of nothing.
We were both looking for something,
anything other than what we faced.

"I'm going to look this up" I said
with a Todd Rundgren album in my hand.
"I'll do that to stave off my brain
telling me to kill myself." I laughed.
He laughed.
"Jeez, that was dark." I said

"That's why I laughed" he said.
"Skateboarding saved my life."

"Yeah yeah."

Jake showed up after he finished class.
He was told by our boss he was working the second shift.
Jacob had prepared himself,
in the best way he could,
to endure a twelve hour shift
in a basement again.
Our boss, Bob, had not completely
thought this schedule transition through.

"Let's go to the dunes" I said.
"Okay" Jacob responded.

It was hot in Indiana on August 27th, 2013.
It was rare for it to be hot this summer.
Much of it resembled and ideal Indiana Autumn:
mild, bright, breezy, warm, and sometimes more than warm
when the sun was out. Warm sunlight.
Clouds cast and dissipate shadows to the ground.

This day was hot. Few clouds cast shadows.
The air could have been water.
Why not be in water?

Jacob asked me if I could think of any friends
who would want to accompany us.
"Not here" is what I said. "You're my only friend now."
A load of bullshit because I was feeling lonely.
He called his girlfriend, Savannah.
She called her friend, Haleh.
A free afternoon between four people
who needed to get the fuck away
from their reality thus far.

Before we thought about it anymore we hit the road.
As I sat staring out the window of the car this passage stuck in my mind:

"Past the flannel plains and the blacktop graphs and skylines of canted rust, and past the tobacco-brown river overhung with weeping trees and coins of sunlight through them on the water downriver, to the place beyond the windbreak, where untilled fields simmer shrilly in the a.m. heat: shattercane, lamb’s-quarter, cutgrass, sawbrier, nutgrass, jimsonweed, wild mint, dandelion, foxtail, muscatine, spinecabbage, goldenrod, creeping charlie, butter-print, nightshade, ragweed, wild oat, vetch, butcher grass, invaginate volunteer beans, all heads gently nodding in a morning breeze like a mother’s soft hand on your cheek.
An arrow of starlings fired from the windbreak’s thatch. The glitter of dew that stays where it is and steams all day. A sunflower, four more, one bowed, and horses in the distance standing rigid and still as toys. All nodding. Electric sounds of insects at their business. Ale-colored sunshine and pale sky and whorls of cirrus so high they cast no shadow. Insects all business all the time. Quartz and chert and schist and chondrite iron scabs in granite. Very old land. Look around you. The horizon trembling, shapeless. We are all of us brothers."


-David Foster Wallace, The Pale King

Thank you David. I'm sorry it killed you.

III.
Let me tell you about the sunset.
What can I tell you about the sunset?

Other people on the beach tried to capture what they were seeing with their phones. My impulse was to do the same, but I resisted. It would not have captured it properly. I've tried. It's hard to try unless given time for meditation. I would have just made another flat surface of color when I truly seek aesthetic vastness within a geometric panel.

-this guy-

The sun sank below the curved horizon. Glowing cities and towns created a faint, but luminous gap between the dark earth and the dark sky. Looking to the east I saw the reflection of the sun mirrored in the clouds, still basking in the glow. Clouds high above Lake Michigan. Colorful and dynamic clouds, surrounded by gray fog. All the previous blues were now grey and black.
    The waves receded, but continued to splash against the malleable shore. Before bits of rock, not quite sand speckled the beige shore line. Beige. It has a story too. They were black and grey too.
    Everything but the clouds were gray and black. The eastern clouds reflected the western sun with stoic and fleeting austerity and then faded away too. Humanity does not matter when aesthetics play their role in a way I rarely see these days.

August twenty seventh, two thousand and thirteen, Michigan City, Indiana, on one of Americas Great Lakes. Words and pictures and sounds and smells and tastes do not matter at that moment unless one chooses to do something with them. Even if it is simply remember them and smile. These fleeting moments

I miss you
I love you
I'm sorry
I worry I do not know you
It is dark and I wish you were here.

Aaron C. Molden