Written: July 4th, 2020
Happy Independence Day, America.
Your treatment of immigrants is not only abhorrent but also fully blind to the nature of your own existence on this continent; you, too, are visitors here.
Your greed is unmatched. For land; for money; for oil; for power; for supremacy; for all that you are able to perceive, you clamor and stretch and grasp and strangle. In your unmeasured frenzy, you destroy that for which your mouth foams.
It wasn’t enough for you just to invade, destroy, rename, and desecrate. You saw this as your right, your divine preordinance, and, in your execution thereof, you saw fit to displace not only those who stood in your way but millions more taken from the cradle of humanity itself, upon the necks of whom you would one day stand proclaiming, “Look at all that I alone have built.”
The pain and destruction you have continued to sow upon this Earth may only be rivaled in scale by the grotesquerie of the celebrations in which you continue to partake on this, the fourth day of July, a month named in vanity and hubris and idolatry.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Enjoy your celebrations and reveries now as the King of Kings did then, and know that the day will come when this nation shares his fate.
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Written: May 28th, 2020
This isn't how any of us thought this year would go.
2020 has pulled me down and thrown sand in my face and knocked the coffee pot out of my hand and told me that I’m dumb and broken, and while all of that hurts, it’s really nothing at all when black men and women are murdered in broad daylight and peaceful protesters are tear gassed while ignorant white militants are allowed to parade en masse through government buildings carrying weapons of war without intervention and a cruel narcissist holds the highest elected office in the nation and thousands upon thousands of people have died from a virus being spread by the most selfish among us, they who doubt science and eschew common sense.
To everyone, everywhere, in everything you do, I am begging you to choose kindness.
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Written: May 9th, 2020
The thing is, we still don’t have any of this figured out. Not really. Poverty, hunger, water scarcity, homelessness, genocide, war, corruption, deforestation, pollution, greed, hatred, exclusion, malice, so many tremendously evil things take place in a world that is so capable of love.
This world is fundamentally capable of love. In the midst of and in spite of so much evil, we are all so very fundamentally capable of love.
I had forgotten this. I was asleep at the wheel; things in my life had been changing for a long time and I stopped paying attention and then one day the world suddenly looked empty to me, as if all the love and kindness had been drained out of it, and all that was left was just noise and static and me, floating somewhere in the middle of it all. I was asleep at the wheel and I was lost in the world and I had forgotten this one simple truth:
We are still so very fundamentally capable of love.
Even when all the love is gone and we’re all asleep at the wheel and the world looks empty and evil and broken — at the very end of it all, even then we are capable of love. We have always been and always will be.
So I looked at the world of noise and static and I took a few steps back and I closed my eyes.
I’ll let that truth come find me and until it does I will persist; I will have hope.
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Written: May 6th, 2020
I’m tired. I’m just so goddamn tired, always.
Living with mental illness is exhausting. Nothing but nonsense upstairs, just noise and noise and noise, ad infinitum. Ad nauseum. Ad mortem. Ad undas.
I’m beat, man. Is this what Kerouac meant? Beat down, beat up, beat to the punch. I’m empty but I’ve got a good beat; you can dance to me.
At the best of times, I’m an artist. I’m a spectacle; I’m a parade. I’m a thief. I’m paraphrasing.
The rough draft always feels more honest than the rest. Burn the filter and let the truth fall free and see that it is good and real and urgent.
I’m just so very tired. Please bear with me.
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Written: May 3rd, 2020
Long story short? I guess I got a jump on this whole quarantine business. I’ve been taking some time to myself trying to figure out some things. Spoiler: I haven’t figured out much at all, but I think maybe that’s okay.
I’ve been dealing with mental illness for most of my life. On paper, I suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. To wildly overgeneralize things, my day-to-day life can range from “I don’t want to do anything and I wish I didn’t exist” to “I want to do everything and I’m going to live forever” and everything in between. I’ve taken many different medications to deal with this, and recently I’ve found a combination that seems to be helping me find a good place in the middle.
That being said, I’ve still felt like I’ve been slipping away from myself for a while. So in January I decided to stop drinking, and soon after that I decided to stop going out altogether. I quit my job; I logged out of my social media accounts, which for months already I had been using less and less; I took more than a few big steps away from everything so I could have some space to just exist for a little while. Then, I started reading more; I revisited some old songs and poems I had written over the last decade, and started writing some new ones; I started meditating again; I drank a lot of coffee; I watched a lot of Netflix.
Eventually I asked myself some heavy questions, and tried to answer as honestly as I possibly could.
What I found is that I couldn’t keep up with myself. I had been changing, like everyone does throughout their life, but I had been changing quickly and I had stopped paying attention and suddenly I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t recognize myself, and I couldn’t remember who I’d been before. I’d gone from A to B but in between was just a bunch of noise, and I couldn’t recognize any of it anymore.
I wish I could follow that by saying “I thought about it some more and now I know who I am and who I’ve been and everything is fine,” but that’s not true. I still don’t have a clue about any of this, frankly. But I think maybe it’s okay to not know, to never know, and instead to just… be.
With that in mind, here are a few things I now feel pretty certain about:
1. A lot of things make me nervous. Things like clowns and going to the dentist, but also things like social media and confrontation. It’s a long list and I’m finding new things all the time and that, too, makes me nervous.
2. A lot of things also make me happy and that’s a very good thing to remember.
3. Being kind is the most important thing anyone can ever do. To other people; to animals; to the planet; to themselves; to everything, everywhere, all of the time.
And so… now what? To put it bluntly, I’ve really enjoyed being in this space away from everything, so that’s where I’ll be staying for a while. To anyone who has reached out, you’re a saint and I appreciate you, even if I don’t see it or don’t respond. The thought counts, always.
Stay safe, stay home, stay gold. ❤
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© HARRY WILSON DUNAWAY III 2020