Too Close For Comfort
A fifty-dollar bill every Christmas, the enveloping calm of crystalline snow and limitless sky, a blip on a monitor
I inadvertently stepped on my cat Nimbus in the dark this morning. I’ve already apologized, and she doesn’t appear hurt, but I feel as if I’ve started the day by invading another country. Would a jury of my peers convict me for such a careless act?
What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise.
Forget What They Told You
The Truth According To Greg Palast
The idea that America’s a democracy is a fucking lie. We’ve had one fixed election after another. By my calculations, Hubert Humphrey beat Richard Nixon in 1968. Of course, Humphrey was a jackal as well. But what is not widely understood is that we’ve always had a system in America of not counting certain votes. My good friends on the Left are afraid that the Republicans are going to steal the next election by computer — that the software is going to allow Karl Rove to change the vote. Well, most people who worry about that are white. Black people know they’ve stolen the vote the old-fashioned way for centuries.
I’ve become obsessed with George W. Bush. I spend hours Googling “George W. Bush low IQ” (500,000 hits), “George W. Bush stubborn asshole” (67,000 hits), and “George W. Bush deranged maniac” (43,000 hits). I loathe this man with an intensity that makes my stomach hurt. Why he wasn’t thrown out of office long ago baffles me.
A Letter From Gettysburg
I didn’t learn about the tree-cutting program at Gettysburg National Military Park until I saw early evidence of its implementation. Just north of the hill known as Little Round Top, more than a hundred large trees — maples, oaks, tulip trees, mulberries, magnolias, cedars, hickories, and ash — were felled and hauled away in a matter of weeks.
I used to make ninety bucks an hour as a lawyer doing part-time legal research and writing — hateful work I was nevertheless grateful for, as for ten years it had supported me while I tried to make my way as a creative writer. I’d found the job by sending out résumés to lawyers listed in the yellow pages.
One winter evening, when I was twenty-six years old and recovering from a long illness, I decided to go out dancing. I could have chosen another form of entertainment, I suppose — a movie or a meal out — but I chose contradancing because it would involve my body more than my mind, and my mind was what had gotten me into trouble.
A Good Day
On the bedside table is a card with a picture of a sunflower on it. Inside, my mother has written in her elegant cursive: “Decide to wake up each day with a smile.” Each word is underlined individually. It takes courage, I think, for a mother to write that after her son — my brother — has committed suicide.
Halfway through the first day, we passed an army caravan. Father said they were going to the Sierra Maestra mountains to kill Fidel Castro, “the enemy of Fulgencio Batista and General Motors.” I knew nothing then about Batista’s dictatorship and Castro’s attempts to overthrow it.
When I was a boy, I lived in the country about fifty miles outside of San Antonio, Texas. Our house was a trailer my father had set up on large cedar posts, three feet in the air. He covered the space below with aluminum siding and added a front porch to give the trailer a more houselike appearance. We had an above-ground pool, too.