I first wrote this poem in 2007 in my first semester of college. The draft was the first time someone in a collegiate academic setting told me I should consider being a professional poet. I’ve never succeeded in publishing it, but those words still encourage me. Listen to your friends – let them be the voices in your head when you desperately need them.
We Are Nothing
we are nothing, but nothing – razor-edged souls cutting through time with a steely gasp of twilight before our instant sunset, packaged in a plastic microwavable container with a label stating, “just add water” we a single individual with many minds and parts – societal schizophrenia on a rampage. perhaps the voice of muscle spasm can sear through your tyranny, as you have trapped creativity and youth in oppression, tearing them from their families as though they were meant to be institutionalized with bars on the windows and locks on the doors. Keep faith, children! For there is always an alternative route grasping for a mind that could fathom his existence. Outside the window is a world darkened by a starless reality, yet lit by polluting city lights. Red, Green, Blue Straining for that chance to say, “Coca-Cola” in Times Square. But this – this is nothing.
Please feel free to comment your personal experiences openly and freely below- I reserve the comments section for that.
A personal essay written while living in San Francisco.
Growing up in rural America, I imagined San Francisco as a far off fairytale land with sacred Meccas such as the City Lights bookstore, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Castro – all as mythical as the television show, “Full House.” In college, my girlfriends and I fantasized about a pilgrimage to a place where our futures didn’t depend on hiding our identities. But, when I arrived in 2014, my image of a Gay Promise Land shattered.
I first noticed not the architecture, nor the blending of cultures I envisioned in collegiate daydreams. In all directions, advertisements or billboards smacked me upside the brain with some internet meme derived slogan or, yet another iPhone advertisement. Then, the overwhelming smell of burning marijuana stole a close second, with the thousands of homeless, suffering daily from police brutality visible through the smoke.
Now here, I watch humans drown in advertisements screaming memes from once-trending YouTube videos specific to the ages of the targeted audiences. Municipal transit lives and breathes what once resided within the confines of magazines and television. To survive, I wear my indifference like scuba gear. Yet, the materialism and the artificial state of California seeps through my protective barriers. Classic business attire implies age because physical appearance cannot be trusted here. Saving money exists as a hobby-like pastime for those wealthy enough to have any part of their paycheck left after paying the costs of living. At the ripe old age of 24, someone assumes I’m in my 30s because I wear east coast style business attire when instructed to dress “business casual” instead of seasonal fast fashion trends business-appropriate enough to pass.
In San Francisco, I learn that to be a member of my community I have to choose: be a walking advertisement and suffer the professional consequences, or be myself and exist just under the calibrated range for Gay-dar. San Francisco redefines Pride for me as between two communities, unable to belong to either – hated by both.
While trying to eat my lunch at work, I listen to a group of San Franciscans talk about how they “totally judge” every single person they meet by their shoes. I try to tune out, but their voices echo in the open floor plan. Tevas, Chacos, Vibram 5-fingers, and Birkenstocks are on their “this person is not worth my time” list – each person shares their particular nuances. I try not to listen and shove my face with Safeway Alaska Roll, hoping the chewing will drown them out. It doesn’t.
According to these white, San Franciscan women, the first offense by anyone wearing these shoes is their lack of fashion sense. Mortal sin if they combine these shoes with socks. The second offense? The price paid for these shoes. Why? Don’t worry. They share that too. Apparently, “anyone choosing to wear any of these brands should be spending their money on much nicer looking shoes” that don’t make them look like “wanna-be outdoorsy people who can’t stand to be in the office.”
One woman, her Brazilian blowout blonde hair quivering, charges into a rant about a man she sat next to at a conference in Seattle. He wore Vibram 5-finger toes that, without saying anything, conveyed the message, “I shouldn’t be here. I’m too good to be here.”
I look down at my feet. Having owned a nice pair of black nylon-strap Teva sandals, I listen as these women continue voicing their prejudices against those that prefer durable, comfortable footwear. But this is normal. In San Francisco, I don’t know if the consistency helps. Perhaps I should take comfort in knowing that I can expect strangers will always be judging me based on the appearance of my feet and not on any other qualities of my existence – they are literally looking down on me even when I’m at a shared eye level.
On the train home, I gaze out at this fallen Mecca with its urine-soaked streets and drug numbed population. How did I get it so wrong? “That’s just wrong,” someone echoes. Finding a spot along the seawall overlooking the Bay Bridge, I sit at the Embarcadero. The bay glistens, dancing blues absent of humans. Others find happiness here. Why not me?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post today. If it speaks to you, please let me know by liking, commenting, or sharing this post. This helps me know which posts my readers like best.
The “passive aggressive” got added in there because a lot is happening in the United States right now. There are a couple wrong turns with this recipe. I’ll admit that it’s an invention based on this one I created in a way similar to that story about the Ship of Theseus.
All of what’s happening right now in the United States though? That’s where I got distracted today. There’s a lot. I’m trying to hold back because my words here aren’t the ones you should be listening to. Listen to the disenfranchised that are trying to make their voices heard.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ingredients and Supplies
If you’re going to make this recipe with me, you’re going to need to gather some ingredients – no specific brand should be necessary:
Frozen Blueberries (Costco sells big bags)
Lemon Juice (There’s a theme here)
Cup for Cup Gluten Free Baking Flour (I use Namaste from Costco)
Stevia In The Raw or equivalent (I’m not sponsored, but I might have a Costco problem)
Almond Milk (Okay, we’re calling it a Costco solution)
Coconut Oil (Costco non-polar solvent)
Supplies To Grab:
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Medium Mixing Bowl
1 Small Mixing Bowl
1 9″ Round For Your Great Idea
1 18-muffin baking tin
Muffin tin liners
Measuring cups / Kitchen Scale
While you look for those, I’m letting Jacob takes over. [You will continue to see Jacob’s thoughts in italics]
It’s weird how normal everything seems here, in Montana. I worry about the future of the United States and I have absolutely no idea of what that means to me, to us, here. The steady increase in violence from our government is terrifying. I wonder when it will reach here (or if, but I wonder if that’s too hopeful). But we’re in a low population density state. I can’t yet decide if I’m glad or disappointed that everything that’s going on is so far away.
If you’re following along, then you may have noticed that we have liquid ingredients and dry ingredients. I bet you can guess what I’m about to do next.
For your dry ingredients combine the following:
2 cups (0.47 l) of the gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp (75 g) stevia in the raw (or whichever baking stevia)
I whisk those together until evenly distributed and get distracted again.I want the protesters to return home safe and alive at the end of this storm. Refocus. Regroup.We have liquid ingredients too. Whisk together almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and egg.
1 large egg
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 mL) almond milk
You may see something that looks a little like curdling. It’s almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and egg. Don’t freak out. Keep calm and carry on, etc.
Measure out 1/2 cup (120 mL) of coconut oil (soft and pliable, not hard), then look everywhere for your pastry cutter. Once you find it, cut the coconut oil into your blended flour mixture until homogeneously incorporated. While I’m doing that, I definitely got distracted again.
I’m Distracted Again.
I keep reading about the violence and the destruction of these places I know and am from.
Statues and museums can be replaced by new, better statues and museums that discuss the same history. Maybe these new ones won’t be meant to remind an entire portion of the population that white people still have power in the South.
I don’t consider those protesters violent.
They are not taking life, and they are not injuring anyone.
I miss the days when it felt like, over time, the world was becoming a better place.
Using a wooden spoon smash the blueberries in as I gently mixed them into the scone dough.
I tried not to destroy them, but during my distraction the blueberries melted. I try to form them.
Next I have my round pan ready to form my scones. Supposedly, I do this by transferring everything to the pan, then cutting it with a knife after it has sat in the freezer for a bit.
Baking The Scones
I prepare the pan by cutting out parchment.
I put the pan in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to help it firm up.
I give up on the first idea after transferring all the dough into the pan. I have no idea how I’m going to separate it with a knife. I try, and I fail. Then I realize that I forgot to preheat the oven.
The blueberries are melting more – they are weaker than before – the thin blue wall around their exterior is failing them.
I re-smash the blueberries and scone dough into a muffin pan with muffin liners. They’re still scones – they’re not round scones or nice looking scones.
They’re downright disaster scones for a downright disaster of a day, a week, a month, a year?
They bake at 400 F (204 C) until golden brown. This was about 25 minutes in a gas oven (non-convection setting).
Glazing The Scones
We finish these off with a lemon glaze. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and accidentally pour the remainder of your bag of powdered sugar into the bowl because… oops.
Stir until no clumps remain.
I served them up with Whittard’s Chelsea Garden tea. This is one of my favorite teas and comforts me because I tend to prefer floral and citrus flavors.
What would I do differently next time?
Use canned coconut cream instead of coconut oil.
To lighten the mood Jacob has a joke to share:
What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One’s really heavy, and the other is a little lighter.
Verdict? At least the scones and tea taste good. Next time: gluten free dairy free pesto risotto with black caviar. Jacob and I will leave you with a teaser of our next dish, warm wishes, and thoughts.
Be compassionate. Be safe. I support you and I hear you. Black Lives Matter.
FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK
ALL LIVES DON’T MATTER UNTIL THE LIVES OF THOSE THAT FEEL THEIR LIVES ARE AT RISK AT ALL TIMES BY BEING ALIVE IN THIS COUNTRY MATTER.
What did you think of this installment of Lo Is Domestic AF? Are you planning to try out this scone disaster and improve upon it? If you do, I hope you don’t get as distracted. If you would like to see more of these, please comment below or like this post.