One year ago, a barefoot man (who was a son) was walking through Florida. Something out beyond the horizon kept pulling him westward, past tiny towns, abandoned historic buildings, and swamps and forests. On this particular night, his footsteps would be illuminated by the super moon. Days ahead, a woman driving an SUV would be waiting for him.
Back home, his father followed his progress via the GPS device he purchased: he didn’t want his parents worrying (as much as they did the first time). Emails went back and forth. Each day, the father waited for a video and a new blog post.
The barefoot man (who was a son) decided it would be better to sleep outside, rather than within shabby enclosures named “motel.” He kept walking, making videos, and writing poetry. He wrote this poem on Day 089, somewhere near Gretna, Florida.
A Poem (from Day 089) The dirt / used to be / named / after /some old white guy /named jeff / he liked / to do / all the things / old white guys / named jeff / like / to do / including / violence / and / oppression / people / got tired / of / being reminded / of / violence / and / oppression / whenever / they looked / at / the ground / so / one day / everyone / asked / the trees / and / the skies / what the ground / should / be called / and / the trees / and / the skies / voted / for / dirt / over / other options / like / pasta sauce / and / crack
The father thought he’d like to listen to this guitar player while he was walking. The man walking barefoot (who was a son) emailed his father saying he was listening to the man playing the guitar. His father imagined his son listening to “Highway Anxiety” and “Country of Illusion,” while walking, bathed in moonlight.
Corporations are like vultures (and I apologize to the vultures of the world, as in the natural world; they perform a service, unlike corporations). They figuratively pick over the remains of the deceased, and they do it systematically and with precision. All with the wink and nod approval of our government overseers.
At least vultures in the natural world provide a service.
Bureaucratic structures seem designed to wear you down and extract what little resistance a grieving person might be able to muster. Life insurance is just one of the structures that comes to mind. Kafka wrote about this.
Then, there are states like Florida, where the dregs of society go to skirt personal responsibility, especially when it comes to killing pedestrians. No requirements at all for an errant driver owning anything substantive in terms of liability. Not sure how the laws developed there in terms of their homestead exemption and bankruptcy. Again, I’m sure the powers that be were tacit in the process. Oh, and Progressive Insurance, you suck!
It’s never been lost on me that Mark identified many of these things during his 101 days of walking and sharing. He recognized that lie that all of us have been sold and continue buying. He told the truth in a non-judgmental manner. And now he’s gone.
There’s plenty more to say and write, but the past two weeks haven’t been conducive to writing. Not that the previous weeks back to January 21 were, either.
A friend and former colleague told me that there would be a time when the world would return to their distractions. She cautioned us to prepare for being alone with our grief, not to mention the myriad other tasks of trying to locate some meaning in Mark’s death.
Phew! We managed to make it through another “silly season.” For the uninitiated, silly season is that period—one that occurs every four years—when a host of surrogates of the well-connected perform a kabuki dance called “running for president.”
We begin with a crowded field initially, whittling it down to two front-running candidates and a host of others that are lucky to garner one percent of the total vote, combined. These would be the host of third parties, also known as a losing proposition in America without something like instant-runoff voting in place. Continue reading →