As long as love I live: A short story on the nature of people

As long as love I live: A short story on the nature of people

Yesterday We stand in front of long white walls: No pictures or wallpaper or paintings or even scuff marks to show that once, once, we had lived between them. The photographer takes two pictures. One I will send to grandma, where it will sit on her mantel next to old pictures of granddad and mom young, and the Christmas decorations she forgets to put away. She doesn’t put up pictures of Jesus, thought: She is more into the fantasy of lights and colors; the notions of goodness within herself rather than from the Book written by men. She goes to church: She goes for the people, and for the coffee. She goes to see her friends. Nessa and I stand arm in arm. Nessa weeps softly with her head against my shoulder. The photographer steadies his camera, keeping his head down and covered so as to keep the whole thing impersonal. Distant, professional. But I know you, I think and I tell him with my eyes, I know you from the streets. From the alleyways. From the pictures of crimes and rapes in alleyways that you captured and published next to boxes of text trying to explain what happened to our world and all the people in it. I can hear the streets outside moving in ways they didn’t use to. The sun shines now in a way it never did before. A year ago the streets were empty and dusty and alone. There was no one. Feral dogs through trash bins. A year ago the only shouts came from rooftops, conversations between windows, arguments over telephones, the distant...
Thoughts on cooking at home

Thoughts on cooking at home

Many things I make for myself to eat at home I would never serve to anyone else. Many of the things I’ve made are strange but I eat them anyway. When the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator and counters are at my disposal then it is time to experiment, cooking what is available and hope that it turns out. And if it doesn’t, I eat it anyway. Usually. Especially when funds were low and the cupboards, refrigerator, counter were mostly barren. It was an episode of “Chopped” just to get dinner made and on the table. Okay, chefs. Here are your four ingredients. Because there were only four ingredients left in the kitchen before we had money again to go grocery shopping. Always rice – a big bag of it in the corner. Often potatoes. Canned black beans. Tomatoes if we were lucky, though they never lasted long. Sometimes pasta from the back cooked in an old bottle of red wine turned to vinegar, with those leftover pine nuts and some long-gone basil in a drawer. Ample amounts of salt and black pepper. And always, always some sort of hot sauce. And when it got worse than that we stole loaves of bread and peanut butter from the gas station. The friend with the largest Carhartt jacket slipping a 6-pack of shit domestic beer out the door because the buzz would help us forget our situation. I was caught once with a deli sandwich stuffed into my armpit. Turkey and cheese with mayonnaise. I pushed the man who grabbed my arm and dropped the sandwich. He let go. I ran. I’ve...
The future of love

The future of love

You have to be bigger than the universe. You have to be most important. And you have no time for other people. We have already moved away from traditional “meet-cute” love, i.e. we’ve digitalized love through apps like Tinder, etc. And with the advent of “sex robots” (soon to be commonplace, and without such a clumsy description – “sex robot” seems how we might have thought of it in the 1950’s), it will only be a matter of time before the accessibility and readily-available nature of artificially-intelligent partners will supersede the time and effort it takes to impress a real one. Take a look at this trailer for “The Sex Robots are Coming,” for an illustrative example. Humans, for being such social creatures, have been struggling to meet and maintain romantic partners, and maintain especially in the long-term. Why, then, wouldn’t we just buy the copy? Why wouldn’t you just go to the store to get the latest model which takes no work on your part (besides spending a set dollar amount, and probably dignity amount as well) to woo? And then, consequently, having a real, warm-to-the-touch partner would become an “artisan” experience; the organic alternative. The future of sex We’ll back up for a moment; this relationship is already moving too fast. When we talk about the future of love, we’re really talking about the future of sex. One precedes the other; the idea that people will come to prefer the company of artificially-intelligent humans over the real thing, like has already begun (as will be discussed in a moment), still begins and/or ends with a physical interaction....
An exploration of the night and safe places

An exploration of the night and safe places

They kicked the family out of the apartment upstairs and I saw them with their things on the side of the street. A mother and she has two kids – a girl and a boy probably who are 8 and 9 years old. I would hear her yelling almost every night and she hit them more than once. But that’s not the reason they were kicked out. She couldn’t pay the rent either. She couldn’t keep her temper and she couldn’t work enough hours at the car wash down the street to come up with $750 every month. It’s hard to be a single mother, mom says, but she still has pop so I don’t know how she knows that. I feel like everyone around me is made of thick fudge vanilla and butterscotch: all brown and beige and nondescript. I’m in a glass box in the middle where they can’t get in. They press against the glass, always pushing and trying to get in. Except it’s not really a cage. It’s a fortress. Like a glass pyramid. I can see the world around me, but I’m not a part of it. I’m safe in here, and separated. I tell Gogo, “I keep trying to bring you in, but those beige hands keep pulling you back out. They come in through the door when I try to bring you inside. I want to bring you in with me so you can be safe with me and forever.” Gogo laughs quick, like an incredulous laugh and she pushes the hair out of her eyes. “That’s so chauvinist of you. That’s...
The guilt of tangential crimes

The guilt of tangential crimes

As a German-American raised in Minnesota after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, my relationship to the Cold War, of a divided Germany, and of the war that led to it, was very tangential. Talked about in abstracts. Pointed out in black-and-white photos, running together with all the other great and important and terrible events in history for which there is no place in the world today. It wasn’t “remember when…” because it was before, what seemed like a long, long time before, my time. And our own time, the time in which we are living, as most people will agree, seems most relevant. Grandparents who had lived through it, one set here, one set there, were my only true connection. It’s 2017 now, and long have we ignored our responsibility to the past. We have parades, yes. We wave flags and sing songs. And we have museums. Many museums, dedicated to the past and everything that this country was/is built upon so we can look at them, nod our heads in deep understanding, and then leave it all behind. We have the History Center here in Minnesota. There’s the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C., which only opened in 2003, And we have monuments, which some people have trouble differentiating from the museums; the differences between knowing/understanding/remembering, and exalting. “The point of civilization is to be civilized; the purpose of action is to perpetuate society, for only in society can philosophy truly take place.” – Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio Our tangential connection to slavery and the Holocaust...