Self-Enlightened

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Angie wanted to act in Hollywood. She moved to LA, took a job at a cafe, and waited to be discovered.

Yoga strengthened her, put her in touch with her chakras. She realized that acting had brought her a shallow kind of security. Now she wanted more. At least enough to pay the rent.

Meditating her way into a sales career, she found that she was good at persuading people to buy what they wanted, whether they needed it or not. Convincing herself that the path to enlightenment had led her to this point, amassing things became her life goal.

Women Will Lead

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Put women in charge. That’s the antidote to snake-oil salesmen working in a post-truth environment to steal your democracy. Endorsed by the New York Times: Elizabeth Warren has a plan and Amy Klobuchar can work. Restore dignity and fairness to civic life. There’s hope.

Pay no attention to juvenile slogans. Forget social media. Turn the television to another station or take a news break. Read escapist fiction. Whatever else, ignore the sad little man tweeting behind his Wall. Meditate on the image of him leaving office by military helicopter saying, “I can’t come back. I don’t know how it works.”

More To It

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Women liked Anton as a friend. Some reminded him of his mother. They had the same sense of humor and quick efficiency. But he felt nothing of the easy affection that characterized the relationship his parents had.

He hadn’t paid much attention to dating. Too busy busting for A’s. By college, he’d started to wonder whether he was different from his father, though he’d always thought they were the same.

A night of drinking and philosophical discussion with his college roommate changed everything. In the morning, he felt confused. And inspired. And in love with someone who loved him back.

Celebration

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A flash of snow arcs, flying straight to heaven. It floats at eye level, then drifts to ground. The curve of your butt segues left, then right. Love catches my throat.

“That’s how you do it, girl. Like taking a corner on a bike. It’s in the leaning.”

We reach the end of the course, your dark hair flying behind you. A bobbing pink pompom perches on the cap I knitted you last Christmas. Slowing in tandem, we find glasses, pop a cork, and toast an anniversary we never imagined would happen. The frosty air warms to our strong embrace.

Grow a Mind

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“They grow around here.”

“You identify mushrooms?”

“Yeah.”

Markus had read something about depression and psychedelics. He was depressed. Still, I couldn’t imagine him taking psilocybin. A guy who drives a truck with a gun rack and operates power tools for a living doesn’t seem like the right demographic. I said I’d watch. I had my notebook ready. I could write something. The ravings of a man high on drugs would do. 

He was quiet, calmer then I’d ever seen him. He opened a sketch pad and started painting with water colors. I wished I’d joined him when he offered.

There’s an App for That

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Tunnel Vision for a relaxed viewing experience. It’s an app. Easily available for download from the not-evil-less-good purveyor of such things. Said app is guaranteed to shield your eyes from unwanted images of, among other perfidities: measles, ecoli, drought, floods, and politically apocalyptic weather conditions. Also: locusts, wildfires, and plagues of hailstorms as revealed in Revelations.

We never saw it coming and, once we did, we took it as God’s will. Surely the End Times. Most definitely nothing to do but pray. Pray or prey on. Better not to look. They say death by freezing is rather like falling asleep. 

L’Chiam

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Snow symbolizes death. Check out twentieth century fiction. I’m living in twenty-first century America, looking out the window at snow in June. Banks of it cover the summer ground. Carbon flecked flakes fall from the sky. Opening the door of my isolated cabin, where it’s safe to stay for now, I look out on the garden. Poles push out of the white landscape. They have labels: potatoes, carrots, turnips. Shriveled apples hang from a tree. Inside the house, basil and thyme grow fragrant, adding their flavors to the root vegetable stews that make up my post climate change diet. L’chiam.

Stormy Weather

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The Pineapple Express thundered in last night, dark, weighty, pouring rain into soggy ground late into summer. In the morning, you pull on yellow boots, a raincoat, grab an umbrella, and step outside. Splashing through small puddles, avoiding big ones, your legs pump, hoping to reach the station between outbursts.

A lush jungle, California’s changed. Waiting at a light, feeling the air blow warm through your hair, you remember the cool contrast of Midwest rainstorms and muggy summer days. You think California could get used to April showers in August. You know the climate is evolving. Here comes the train.

Anticipating the End of a Two Hundred Year Experiment

silhouette of fireman holding hose
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At the moment the latest Supreme Court nominee took the oath of office, Lady Liberty felt a hand grope her under the tattered robes of democracy she wore for the occasion. It was a small hand. A hand practiced at conspiracy, graft and corruption.

In front of the assembled crowd, she began to crumble. Her head fell off. Then her arms. The concrete at the foundations of her feet turned to sand. The audience morphed into animal figures that resembled the twisted cubes of pain and fear in Picasso’s Guernica. When the onlookers appeared in grayscale, America’s destruction was complete.

Left Behind

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Soon as she heard Biddy’s crackly voice, Vivian felt trapped.

Biddy folded her hands on the walker, a shocked expression on her face. “Bessie’s nephew’s in the hospital. Top of his head come clean off. Her daughter called last night.” Biddy puckered up her lips like she was eating a lemon straight up, no sugar, no salt, just peeled off the tree. “Like he got scalped.”

Biddy wagged her head.  “You going to supper?”

Thrown together for decades, a friendship of convenience, Vivian considered pleading illness. What a gossip. Vivian fervently wished her husband hadn’t gone first. “I guess so.”