You do not have the luxury of your privellege any longer

He called me “Nose” and made fun of how I dressed, a skater west coast kid with an Anthrax t-shirt that was out of place in a growing hip-hop world.


I was born with a cleft palette. This is a condition that may or may not be genetic. It’s relatively unknown. It’s not considered a disability, but a deformity, though it does come with some less than helpful problems.

As it is physical and outward in nature it is visible. People can see it and react to it, which they usually do in real-time. Kids stare at me, parents when I was growing up asked my mother if I was retarded, even today my worth and value is a question because I look different. Before I knew what white was or male was I knew what cleft palette was. It was something different from others that I would be judged on, fairly or not.

I was not bullied or made fun of too much as a child. I grew up in a close community of friends and families and was normalized like everyone else. Despite her efforts, my mom’s lessons on how to deal with bullies was never needed. In fact, only once do I recall any kid taking his finger to his nose and flattening it while staring at me as his bus pulled away. The image stuck with me, but it was an isolated incident.

Later on in middle and high school, once my family moved across country and away from the comforts, things changed, but only a little. Boo Taylor, a young man who would grow up with much more against him than I, picked on me the first day of 7th grade at the bus stop. He called me “Nose” and made fun of how I dressed, a skater west coast kid with an Anthrax t-shirt that was out of place in a growing hip-hop world. It spread, but only a little and only among his friends who would use it over the next 6 years. Sadly, it would be a long time before I gave up on that animosity.

I couldn’t fight with my body so, encouraged by the systematic racism that pitted me, a white kid, against my less privileged class mates (I mean you get that Boo was black right), I used my wit and intellect to fight back. In the hallways I was a target for violence, in the classrooms I was a hero. So, it was clear that being white and smart mattered. As I went through high school, I learned how this was used to divide me from people. Race mattered, privilege mattered, how you project yourself and how you are perceived matter. No one sat me and Boo down (or anyone else I didn’t get along with) and help create bridges. Instead, we grew up worlds apart. He was allowed to live in his world and me in mine, protected by teachers and administrators that made sure I succeeded and he did not.  Eight years ago he died in a car crash.He left behind a daughter.

I don’t mean to insist that Boo tormented me for years or that I was greatly teased the older I got. But the world he and I lived in was divided early on. In fact, I would say it was divided before we even knew each other. We only came in contact because my parents rented a house in his neighborhood before buying a new one miles away. That was my first moment as a transient gentrifier, though I didn’t know that at the time. Somewhere along the line he was taught to see difference as weakness. In me, society encouraged me to see race as weakness and to use the value of education I was expected to uphold as a weapon to divide.

When I hear my white friends around me, in these scary, dark days after Trump has taken office and made his decrees, talk about not using violence, about hearing the other side out, I think of Boo. Yes, I could have easily resorted to violence. This would have been perfectly acceptable to everyone. After all, we were cast as two boys, left alone to solve our issues out on the playground. Punching it out was how we were supposed to resolve our differences. This act would prove who was the better and who was not. This is the expectation of boys and men.

It was not bigger of me to use my intellect and wit to get out of fights (though perhaps my face feels differently). Boo was not my first, nor my last tormentor. Most of them were not young black boys, in fact, most of them were white and far more menacing than Boo ever was. But still, that made me no less a bully. It made me an asshole. The fact that I never did get the few teeth I had knocked out of my head is a testament just to how powerful intelligence is wielded as a weapon. My words were always stronger than any threats or sophomoric insults.

Systemic racism is just that, it’s a part of a larger operating system that makes up a whole. Wit, charm, affluence, knowledge, charisma, these are weapons used in this system. People who have many of these traits are in charge and using them to pit us people against each other. The problem isn’t that I should have punched Boo or anyone else, it’s that I belittled these other people, talked down to them and proved they were less than in a system that was designing me to play a part. What we should have done is punched those that pitted us against each other.

Spencer, Yiannopoulos, Bannon and others are fascists. They have been programmed as part of a system that suppresses differences. They started doing this with their voices, their words, their speeches, so filled with hate and inhumanity. They are now using the system, they are leading the system to create violence and fear. They are reinforcing the hate that has been manufactured for decades.

You no longer have the luxury of standing by while the system pits you against your fellow humans. If you sit on the grand pillar of cis, het, male, able, whiteness, a pillar I know you did not build, but inherited none the less, it is your duty to knock those fascists off it and send them towards the masses that have been disenfranchised to get their piece too. The argument towards pacifism is gas lighting you into believing you are being reasonable. And I do not blame you for that. Good natured people do not want to hurt others. Which is why this fight, this uncomfortable act of violence can not just be the burden of the queers, people of color, disabled, Muslims, indigenous, etc., who are left beneath the fray of the monolith that you balance upon.

The state has used violence as a vehicle towards repressing the masses forever. It has also used power to oppress people and preach non-violence in the same breath. It misrepresents pacifism towards the masses, distorting the words of King Jr., Gandhi, The Dalai Lama, and pushing the people towards passivity.

This is a not a matter of waiting to see who throws the first punch. It’s not a matter of sticking up for others. It’s about making a sacrifice to your comfort, challenging what you know and standing up for what you insist you believe in.



Why It Scares Me

Yeah, maybe some of us aren’t giant pieces of shit. But it’s becoming clear to met that most Americans are.

I spent much of my Sunday reading articles, arguments and accounts about how to handle fascists. Honestly, I’m still kind of shell-shocked. I didn’t know Richard Spencer until I saw the gif’s of him getting punched in the face by the black bloc. And honestly, I really don’t like I do know who that human piece of shit is. That someone brought him to life and allowed him to grow up to be who and what he is appalls me. My mother would cold clock me if I turned out like that.

The fact that it is 2017 and we are talking about fascism and fascists, that websites exist in feasible form, that they are accessed regularly, espousing the extinction of black people scares me. The most vivid memory I have in my life comes from when I was in college. I was working at a photo development store. I was helping an older gentleman pick up photos of his grandkids. Maybe they were even his great grand kids. On his forearm was tattooed a number. The reality of this stopped me in my tracks. I did everything I could not to cry. It would have felt disrespectful. I took the bills from his hand, gave him change and his photos and thanked him.

I have no idea how many people I have met that not only lived through the holocaust but also survived it. I’d never felt guilty about having tattoos in my life, but in that moment I felt like I was mocking this man’s survival. Still to this day, I etch the dumbest things I can into my skin. Anything to remind me that this life is temporary and so too this body. And I know for me tattoos are a way of rendering a body I am not comfortable in as a means of control. But part of me also knows that anyone can take my body with enough force and do whatever they want to it.

I don’t want to have a number etched in my skin. Except for the one I have already chosen, 42, which suits me as the answer to the meaning of life, no one shall ever etch a number on my skin. I knew that day what that number meant, I knew where that old man had been and what dignities and hell he suffered. I could not commiserate with any of his past and I was too humble to ask. But I was not unfamiliar with fascism and what that looked like.

We joke about what we do if we were the supreme ruler. I make jokes that I would turn all football team uniforms pink and make us admit how homoerotic of a nation we are. I tell people who were it up to me Devo would be the only music allowed to be played in shopping centers and malls. But in all honesty, as funny as I think that would be, having that much power actually scares me. So I hate the NFL and capitalism. Big deal. The truth is, I don’t want anyone in charge. I want to work in communities and make decisions based on consensus for the good of everyone. Even if you worship a make-believe sky character or  like the Cowboys, I still think you should be allowed to live peacefully and comfortably and be cared for should you fall ill or be injured. And even though I think Devo rules, no one should be forced to listen to them every time they leave their house. Unless we all agree that would be awesome.

I’m angry as hell that we are nearing the 100 year mark of WWII and we haven’t progressed a god damn bit in the larger sense. Yeah, maybe some of us aren’t giant pieces of shit. But it’s becoming clear to met that most Americans are. I have been from one side of this country to the other, top to bottom. I have met people from many walks of life. I have seen the Red Wood Forest, I have touched the Gulf Stream Waters, I have driven through the endless miles of Golden Valleys. I have been adrift in rivers in Oklahoma, I have walked the marshes of Florida, hiked mountains in California and Virginia. I have swum naked in Walden Pond. I love this country. I love this country so much. It’s a paradise with such great diversity in so many ways. I have slept on the floors of friends and strangers alike in my near 40 years and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.

Terrible things occurred to make this country happen. Millions of people were and continue to be colonized. People were enslaved to enrich wealth and maintain property.Others were vilified and kicked off their lands. People were placed in concentration camps due to suspicion. America has done terrible things to be what it is. We have to also undo this. This will take work and humility and forgiveness and listening. It will mean sacrifice and it will hurt, even those of us who recognize this.

But I am scared that we are allowing the rich and mighty, the privileged white, the bankers and corporations and governors to take this away. I get that people are scared. I get that they think someone else will solve the problems and don’t realize it’s the same people causing the problems that they are putting their trust in. And I am afraid that everything I have fallen in love with about being an American and living in what very well should be the greatest, most loving country in the world is going to be taken away.

And I fear the most that well-meaning people who also feel this in their hearts won’t actually fight for it until it is too late.

The Time for Politeness is Over

This small piece on the Onion’s website is baby town frolics in comparison to what we have to look forward to. That child is part of the disgusting elite, and he will follow in that pathway should we allow our pleasantries to continue. Satire is a crucial to public discourse.

Tonight I came home after a rather inspiring show in my hometown. It was the final show for local Albuquerque punk band The Ill Motion. It was a bittersweet evening for many reasons. The obvious ones are that something beautiful and positive is coming to an end. The other is the underlying fear that it will be harder and harder for subculture communities to find spaces and outlets to openly express themselves. Tonight a room full of kids got to gather in a coffee shop and sing along with their friends. There was no beer served, no companies selling anything, no violence. It was a place where this cities young, desperate for outlets to pursue and enjoy their lives, actually got to be free and excited about something.

I sat at my computer. I am working on a story for a Young Adult series I want to attempt to author. It is about resistance against evil. I am working on a background story to give myself some context and maybe, one day if this work ever comes to fruition, give a future audience something special. I made the mistake of getting on facebook. Ungh. I was immediately disheartened.

I have never had much fondness for the so called American Political Left. I find their stances weak and their tactics soft. Further, The American Left is filled with blind, dumb, privileged white people, whom despite their access to education and often coming from large, diverse cities, have their heads up their asses. The last two days of social media have been over saturated with this type of disappointed expression against impolite, destructive and even violent tactics that have been used to demonstrate that the oppressed are no longer going to accept the old model of protests and dissent.

The issue in particular seems small. But this is the entire problem. Everything matters now. The small stuff matters. And the left’s desire for civil discourse has been the problem for decades. And as we face literal fascism in our country, the time for this type of so-called civil behavior is over. It is time to recognize that the comforts and continuities that we enjoy have a short lifespan. That our physical being is under attack. It is no longer just the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the colonized, the outcast whose lives are in danger. It is everyone who is not the right.

I read a post objecting to a small article in the Onion. It is a picture of Baron Trump, the child of our so-called president. He is looking, as kids do, bewildered. The photo’s caption reads: Bored Barron Trump Counts Confederate Flags In Inauguration Crowd To Pass Time. The author of the post indicated that normalizing the satirizing of children should not be tolerated. I disagree and I wrote as much and then I unfollowed the post and removed it from my feed. The implication that Baron Trump is off limits while queer people are murdered, while black people are murdered, while indigenous people are murdered, while Muslims are murdered, while sex workers are murdered, while the disabled are mocked is, in fact, insulting.

To be clear, our now President lowered the bar. Neither he, nor his family deserves the platitudes of respect of the public he is trying desperately to misalign and purposely attack. This small piece on the Onion’s website is baby town frolics in comparison to what we have to look forward to. That child is part of the disgusting elite, and he will follow in that pathway should we allow our pleasantries to continue. Satire is a crucial to public discourse. Further, the child in question is not being attacked or mocked as so many other children of our President’s have been for their looks or other awful topics. He’s being poked at because he is the child of a RACIST MISOGYNIST HOMOPHOBIC MILITARY LOVING PIECE OF SHIT. Some one needs to clue him the fuck in before he becomes our version of Kim Jong-un.

It is already becoming quite clear to me that I will probably be losing quite a few friends in the coming years. And no, not intelligently crippled right wing shit bags who don’t get it. In my social media circle there is only one person I know that had the audacity to vote for Trump. I am not going to spend my time trolling or arguing with him, nor am I going to get in fights on the internet with bleeding heart liberals about their white feelings and bullshit manners. Fuck them. Seriously, fuck them. I’ve always been outspoken, opinionated and issued my ideas with a type of steadfast, confrontational conviction. And I will continue to do so. But I am not gonna have debates about deferential attitudes and behavior. I have never valued politeness, in myself or anyone else. Softening the message to me is as dishonest as being silent. I don’t have time for that.

One of the commenters on the post who agreed indicated they wrote to the Onion asking them to take the article down. I decided to write them in favor of the article. Below is the email I sent. I will not stand for tolerance of evil. I will not allow it to be dignified with conciliatory attitudes and behavior. I will no longer let the left get away with their bullshit and not voice my opposition. I wake up every morning from nightmares about what’s going to happen to my friends, the people I love, the people I care about, the people I see struggle. I will not live in fear, and I will not allow the white, upper class left to censor people and their expression against oppression, in whatever form that takes. Fuck you. I’m tired of your politeness. Get on board or get mowed over with the fucking fascists. I have tired of your bullshit.


I have already come across some so-called well meaning, left leaning people that are upset about this small story you posted.

They have indicated that they wrote you asking to remove it from your site saying that satirizing the child of our now, so called president is shameful. I disagree with that sentiment and want to offer a counter objection to theirs.  Governors and their families are not free from public scrutiny. And while some will argue that children have little choice in the matter of what their terrible parents do, it does not give them a free pass of shelter from the reality of how terrible their parents may be.
Further, the polite left and all these good natured kiss asses need to wake the fuck up. Shit is bad. It’s about to get worse. Poking at the child of a rapist, misogynist, racist piece of shit is hardly uncalled for. It’s down right playful as far as I am concerned. The rules have changed. The gloves are off and if the rest of us aren’t safe, those queer, people of color, Muslims, disabled, etc., etc., neither then should the child of a disgusting human being who happens to be in the white house.

Please continue to use humor to help dismantle this terrible new regime. Please do not let up under pressure from anyone.

Thank You

Government is a Paranoid Cop.

The reason he gave was speeding, but he didn’t cite a number. He didn’t cite a number because he wasn’t behind me long enough to get out a radar and clock me and because I was going 70 miles an hour. 5 miles under the posted speed limit.

I was in Colorado recently. Denver, visiting my friend and recent publisher Dan. It was a good visit. I bought some records, drank some beers, met some nice people. I had great Thai food. It was a relaxing time and much-needed.

The drive between Albuquerque and Denver is long; 6 to 7 hours depending on traffic and desire. Once you leave Pueblo there isn’t a whole lot to break up the expanse of giant mountains and massive fields that fall off the horizon. 25 South is mostly just filled with big rigs hauling stuff. It can be a very isolating experience, especially when you are alone.

I was 33 miles from the border when I came up on the tail end of a state trooper. I was not pleased as I was already averaging 10 miles an hour less than when I drove up. This was going to extend my trip. I decided not to pass him. For 11 miles this was okay.

Suddenly the road opened. All the trucks he was trailing were in the distance. There was no one else on the road except him and I. I was just shy of Trinidad where I knew he would probably turn around. Relief finally came.

Then he did something unexpected. He pulled over into the shoulder. I got in the left lane and proceeded around him returning to the right hand lane. I did not speed up or do anything weird. I was simply following the very basic and well posted highway laws of Colorado. He pulled me over.

The reason he gave was speeding, but he didn’t cite a number. He didn’t cite a number because he wasn’t behind me long enough to get out a radar and clock me and because I was going 70 miles an hour. 5 miles under the posted speed limit. In the 11 miles I was behind him my speed never went over 79 because I am not stupid. I know how to drive. I’ve been doing it for 24 years now.

He continued to question me about this and I denied it out right. I was not combative, but more shocked, which was my natural reaction. He noted my out of date registration and that I didn’t have proof of insurance. He continued to question me about why he stopped me and I reiterated that I was surprised and admitted I was intentionally not passing him. He smiled a lot. He was not mean or aggressive, but he was playing with me. He wanted me to be intimidated by him, but I was just annoyed and in a hurry to leave. I still had another three hours to go.

I wasn’t given a ticket. He let me go on my mary way. Seconds later he did pull over someone else. I made it to the border without a follow-up visit from the cops. I made it home, 7 hours later than when I left Denver, anxious and exhausted. I did not have an explanation as to why I was pulled over. Not an honest one.

This is what our government is. It is a nuisance. It is designed to be a nuisance. It is not meant to serve anything except land and capital. It is not here to protect us or make decisions on behalf of our well-being. Government, and those who run it, those who are attracted to it, those that believe in it, is apathetic to you and to me.

Think of this every time you get mad and indignant and bang your fists, make your phone calls, sign your petitions. These are not the tools that move governors nor those they employ at wages just high enough to keep them comfortable. You’re cries and objections are of no concern to them. Their existence simply impedes on your progress. It is a cop on the highway, paranoid you are watching them, unsure of them selves and bloated. Because of this, they will continue to roll, gain momentum, gain inertia, grow more massively and become more of a roadblock.

Unless and until they are destroyed.

Capitalism, WOW!

I’m just having a god damn existential moment of dread where I am fighting so hard to find the balance between wanting to work and having to work.

This first paragraph is not a disclaimer. It is a statement of truth. I love my job. I really, really do. I would do my job for free, including the office work I do. My job is really amazing, I work with great people in a great organization and get to do work that directly benefits people.

I get paid shit to do it and it is not enough work to sustain me financially. And that sucks. Not only does it suck, its total bullshit.

I’ve been having a crisis of faith if you will. The latter part of 2016 was not very kind to me. I’d spent much of the last two years working on a licensure program which I was hoping to finish up this semester. Due to complications beyond mine or the college’s control, this was not the case. Unfortunately this undoing came at a time when my creative drive took a massive upswing. I finished editing my first, completed novel and started writing my second. One evening I had a dream and from that dream drew up some characters and a loose plot for a young adult series. I finished an issue of a comic book arch and started a second. I am writing lots of music. The creativity is flowing and I am doing all I can to capture and manage it.

We sell our time for labor and that labor is quantified in values of worth created by people who usually make more money working the same amount of time. Like I stated, I would do my job for free if I was independently wealthy. I would also work in publishing and book making if it also gave me the freedom to write when I am so inclined. Hell, there are a lot of things I would do with my time when I am not feeling particularly creative and inspired. None of it is work that “pays”.

I would never run or even work for a bank ever again. I would not manufacture guns. I won’t sell drugs. I won’t work in finance. I won’t work for pollutants. I won’t work for pharmaceutical companies or bomb manufacturers. I wouldn’t work for Wal-Mart. Not even for all the money the Walton’s have. I wouldn’t work in a kill factory where meat is processed or any fast food restaurant. There are a lot of other jobs I wouldn’t do, not matter how much they pay.

I do not like trading my time and labor for money. I don’t mind working at all. When I get the opportunity and energy to work on what I love I will do it enthusiastically. When I agree to trade my time and labor for money I do with the effort and attention needed (as much as is possible). I am a very good employee if you treat me with dignity and respect and listen to me when problems arise. I am a terrible employee if I am not afforded these simple requests. I am rarely sick, I will work late if needed and if I can accommodate, I will get my hands dirty and generally do what is asked of me if it is ethical and if I am physically able.

But right now, I don’t want to work. I want to write this novel about two young men who are gay and in love and into punk who run afoul of the law. I want to write it because it deals with class and race and because I wrote a great blow job scene to start the book because there isn’t enough fucking in novels and it’s treated with such heteronormative anguish and isn’t sexy at all. I want to finish my comic book so my friend Miles can get his start in the industry and tell a really cool crime story. It’s not that I don’t want to work, it’s that I don’t want to give up the time for my own work in pursuit of someone else’s labor needs, at least not right now.

When I don’t feel like typing, I will wash dogs and the elderly. I can’t do lots of physical labor because I am allergic to everything and my body is not very strong, but if I can help people who do that stuff in other ways, I will. I’ll wash dishes at a restaurant. Shit, I’ll be a server. I never have and my memory is shit, but I’ll carry around a note pad. I’ll teach kids English and storytelling and how to express themselves and understand how others express themselves.

But I can’t do it under the conditions I am asked to. I don’t care about money. Which is why I am bad at trading my time for it. It doesn’t motivate me at all. I give most of it away for food, bills, feeding my cat, tattoos and records. I don’t need or crave new things. The only reason I have so many t-shirts is because I like to help bands on tour. I buy socks from Toy Machine because I like Ed Templeton’s art, not because paying $11 for a pair of socks makes me feel particularly fancy. Money and things don’t really get me going. Eating food and being warm helps, but holy fuck crap Bathole!, we have enough space and ingenuity  and resources on this planet that no one should even have to worry about this crap.

I don’t have a lot of answers right now. I don’t have time to work out these problems. I have to spend too much time making money to eat. I’m just having a god damn existential moment of dread where I am fighting so hard to find the balance between wanting to work and having to work. I’m struggling with being a creative person in a place where creativity has to be quantified in the marketplace and even if you are financially rewarded, it’s rarely commiserate to the actual amount of time you exchanged for the labor. The reality is, even if these books get published and put in the marketplace I’ll still have to do other work to feed myself. Even if I did calculate the time in a spreadsheet of how many hours I spent typing, editing, thinking and reworking these stories it’s not like I can charge that to an account somewhere.

And I’d do this for free if I could too. I don’t mind getting dirty, I just don’t really want to get a fucking paycheck for it.