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the trains still run

They never taught us more than how to make things. They did not explain how to take pictures, or write stories, or record songs when the walls are falling down. What should you paint when the sky is falling? And yet, they taught us all we needed to know. As I have begun to understand over and over again, all art is political. All freedom is freedom. The trains still run. The cameras can still be loaded with fresh rolls of film that smell of plastic and possibility. If there is a pothole, at some point it gets filled. Sometimes it just takes a hell of a long time to happen.

The sun rises. Children trundle around in the snow, laughing, falling down and getting back up again. Yes, the news is unthinkable. Yes, the headlines are poisonous enough to make you throw things out the window. But there is still dinner to cook, and why not make it delicious? Why not crack an egg, or laugh wildly at nothing in particular?

There was a night, about eight years ago when I was told that the militia w…

no change


The city exhales, and hangs at that empty moment without air. There are still Christmas songs playing from brittle speakers, blaring English words to people that do not speak it. At the shopping centers, there are crowds of people sucking on cigarettes in the cold air. They will shuffle back inside, wandering the halls, taking pictures of each other in stiff poses in front of miniature waterfalls. Colored lights are blinking through the water, an endless loop of music and spray.

It all feels completely forced, the stale music, the expressionless faces, the slow glide of the wet mop, the hushed rustle of the broom. I wonder if the cleaning people know that the birds are chirping outside, that the sun is coming out and the last patches of dirty snow are turning into mud puddles.

I buy what we need and leave.

Outside, the sun has pressed though the clouds even more. The streets gleam, wet and blue in the afternoon. The buildings seem smaller and farther away at the same time, as if they have all shrunk twenty feet. But I have not changed at all.



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