Fur Worms

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All these fur worms are descending onto my new $13,000 couch, well, new to me. Dust worms from the ceiling fan which Josh is using to impress me, showing off his superior  ceiling fan cleaning “prowess” by reversing the direction of the fan, turning it on high and letting the reverse air current blow the fur worms down. I have to admit I was skeptical  but after I saw the Tom Sawyer-y fun he appeared to be having, I Huck Finn’ed my ass over there to get involved and by the time I’d gone after the sponge mop and the broom and we’d invoked some innate Marine Corps superpower to achieve a task in tandem without verbal interaction, my ceiling fan is as clean as it’s been in a while.  Least you think I spend my life trying to make Republicans cry, Josh is a Marine buddy of mine, also a Republican who voted for Trump (but is quiet around me about the subject of the Orange One of late).

–a $13,000 couch which of course I didn’t buy but came from a wealthy benefactor who was selling one of her homes and needed to get rid of it. I can’t imagine what would make a sofa worth that much money (although I have seen some of those coffin sofas I’d pay that for if I had stacks of cash) but when I pushed her on the subject, she said she’d had a sofa in mind that she really wanted but that she couldn’t find one like it anywhere so she had it built. I donated the old loveseat I’d bought at the thrift store in Alabama for $40 to the neighbor to make way for the new addition to my little writer’s paradise here. I have to say I felt a little sad and nostalgic as I loaded it out the door. The new one is shaped like a bowl and is made of what appears to be white linen, has heavy bronze upholstery tacks that line the nubile curves, and is therefore currently covered with every sheet and blanket in the house until I’m absolutely certain that these little deadbeat roommates, my cats know that I haven’t just presented them with a very expensive scratch post. The outgoing loveseat has a big gash on the back right corner from 36 claws. Completely unprovoked and after living in peaceful coexistence with the loveseat for their entire lives, these little terrorists endeavored to open up one corner of it like it was a portal to Nirvana. I have to make sure the new sofa-to-the-stars doesn’t meet a similar fate.
I have to remember why I returned to the blog. As you know if you read me, I did a year-long “year to live” blog after finding myself at a wee-hour jumping off place a few years back, 2014 I think. I was going to chop off my head with a guillotine that I’d build but I promised to write every day for the year before I did it. At the end I didn’t want to chop off my head anymore. That, in case you missed it, is a commercial for putting your thoughts and feelings in writing. When I was in Iraq and I began to fear for my sanity, I returned to the page to save me. It did.  A week or two ago, in whichever one of the six cities I’ve been in over the past month, after a day full of whatever veterans’ workshop or activism I’d been involved in that day (or possibly what Broadway show I’d seen), when I lay exhausted in my bed at the end of the day, I had this inordinate feeling of dread come over me. The thought was “there is absolutely no way that I can get done everything that absolutely must get done.” (You’ve been there.) I began to feel like I was hurling, ass-over-head through the infinite universe, no tether or space station in sight. That might have been the metaphor of the night. It changes at will. Sometimes the ejected astronaut, sometimes the sailor adrift without control of the sail, a terrified (and possibly adolescent me) running without knowledge of why or where I’m running, and of what I’m fleeing.  On this recent night, from that space between waking and sleep, still dressed from the day, my lips “writing is my touchstone.” And so here I am.

I need to constantly  remember why I returned to the blog. I’m deeply committed to what I’m trying to do. I seriously believe that at points in history when we as a species took major turns (towards the good or the bad) it was because a very few people took action and wouldn’t quit. Great movements start with the passionate commitment of a few dedicated individuals. I can’t sit this one out. I can’t ride the pine. Generating art, helping veterans generate art, and saving our democratic republic from the Forces of Darkness is all that really matters to me right now. I never intend to give up any of the tools of advocacy and activism that are working but writing, for me, has proved to be one of the more efficient ones. Still, I need (more often than I’d imagined it seems) to get out there in the streets (or halls of Congress) with people, as they used to call it in the Church of Christ, “people of like precious faith.” I need to smell them like I needed to smelled the Marine in the fighting hole in the dark beside me in Iraq, to hear the air going in and out of his nostrils and know his finger was by the trigger too.  This is my new platoon, a grassroots battalion of Progressive activists who’ve served in the nation’s military. They were willing to give their lives to the cause of defending the Constitution while they wore the uniform; they are now to do the same. I can’t wait to see them again. In the meantime I’ll continue to run my mouth by moving my fingers on this keyboard and hurl little alphabet soups of Revolution up against the white electric light window to the universe, my three-year-old MacBook Pro, covered in stickers, from which they could probably scrape enough of my DNA to clone a nation. At this late hour fingers sound like pigeons in tap shoes performing for an audience of no one, echoing across the swamps Louisiana at a few minutes past midnight.

Some people are great at the big boy stuff, great credit scores, house always tidy, never miss a bill or a dentist appointment. I’ve never been great at all that. I make tiny shifts in American politics by what I do and the way I live my life. There are others like me. You might be one of us too.

Tomorrow I commit to check in with you her about the daily writing, about the projects I’m involved in, and mostly about if I’ve exploited (as much as one can in one workday) the video that went viral of me bird-dogging Lindsey Graham. It’s been on Rolling Stone, Newsweek, retweeted by a lot of influential people. Hell, they talked about it on The View yesterday. I have to suck it up and spend the hard hours of following up as much as I can with as many avenues as possible, all in service to the mission of impeaching Donald Trump.
I don’t give a shit about fame but I do give a shit about getting our message out there. Showtime made a movie about my first play, The Eyes of Babylon. The movie was called Semper Fi: One Marine’s Journey. I had my fifteen minutes. I got to have my time where I got recognized in public (like twice) and people sent cars for me. I was never famous, infamous for a minute maybe, but I have seen how seductive the idea of fame can be for anyone from any disenfranchised group who has ever felt their voice was unwelcome or unwanted. I don’t need any more of that. For a fleeting moment my self-worth got attached to all that and I saw how it kills people. But if I have to become the most famous bird-dogger in history to do my part to save this democracy, I’ll do it. (Bird-dogging is when we just sort of “show up” where members of Congress happen to be and challenge them on their positions with cameras rolling.) Although truth be told, doing that kind of shit is about my last favorite to do in the world.  I’d rather be in Louisiana drinking bourbon and eating gumbo. But someone has to do it, and if not me, then who? If not you then who? ‘same reason I joined the Marine Corps. I hate all that activism shit because I hate conflict. Think that’s ironic, someone who hates conflict and violence who joins the Marine Corps? It’s not really. Here was my thinking when I walked into that recruiting station: violence and conflict are inevitable; they are part of the human condition. Someone has to put their body between violence and the innocent. That’s what becoming a Marine meant to me. I wanted that. I still want that.
Last week in Washington my heart was like a kite picked up by a tornado when I saw these other veterans, so many of the also fellow Marines, courageously doing what I know is frightening for them as well. We are pissing off some pretty powerful people. Those peopled needed to be pissed off.

It seems like a lot of people are becoming interested in what I have to say these days; I probably should come up with something interesting to say.
See you tomorrow?


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