There I go again….I try and be guarded, not too opinionated, not too hot nor too cold, not too disagreeable whilst walking the line between betraying myself and others by a cool fake indecisiveness on things that really matter to me. Every opinion, every voicing, every spoken thought is policed by a healthy regard for my continued existence in this world, this city, this country, in the vast plains of the internet and the cosy little cottage of my inner life and writing.
I am guarded because I am afraid. I am guarded and apolitical because I am illegal by virtue of my existence. I don’t yet have my VAWA visa, I am on the run from my husband, I am trying to survive with my son, and dodge the Hague convention injustices that have taken so many women down into the cells to sit it out behind bars from the crime of refusing to allow a man to hit her just because the marriage was international and she is not legally permitted to take the children out of their habitual residence.
Can you imagine the horror of sitting in that final immigration interview with people who hold your life in their hands and they pick apart your political views, or something you wrote in a blog once and for that chasm between their values and yours, throw you out of the country, and your son to remain with his father in his fucking ‘habitual residence’ when you have fought so hard, so long to stay together, to stay safe, to stay away from danger?
That is what I fear. I fear the disapproval and judgement of The Man. The System. Of the big boys and girls at immigration who hold the power to destroy my life and put my son in danger and separate us when we have been so much together. I don’t doubt they would destroy everything I have fought for, destroy what is right and good and decent, and do so in cold blood. Because of that I edit myself harshly.
I didn’t write at all for years, terrified that if I said anything more than “baby baby baby” in a little songwriting expedition, that it would be held against me in a court of law. I didn’t write stifled by fear. I didn’t write hushed by the fact that what I said about what I talk about could be shoved in my face as de facto proof that as bona fide scum my child would be taken away and I would go sit it out in jail.
I cannot go to jail for refusing to stay with my husband. I cannot go to jail for saving my kids. I cannot go to jail when he never paid for destroying my health and life. I am clawing back some life, my health is another matter. I might find myself a pimp cane, something with a skull handle and a chrome tip, to haul this fucked up leg down the street and use to smack flashers round the ankles with if they get too close.
Because of this instead of raising a fist and saying what I want to say, instead I tip toe, pigeon-foot around the heart of the matter, and don’t quite ever say what I want to.
This has it’s own troubles. Sitting in a meeting with a kindly but forthright official gentleman, and drawn into a discussion of race in the USA I found myself called out. Asked where I stood. A stand was demanded of me. Here or there. Them or us? I was backed into a corner and I didn’t much enjoy it. Raise my fist and declare my white self to be sympathetic to the black lives matter movement to the extent that I am, and get labelled Antifa? Enemy of the State. I declared myself to be an ally, though apolitical. I hoped that would be enough, that the noise I make in support and the fact that people know me by now would be enough, without putting a big target on my forehead saying ‘potential troublemaker’ – it was not enough.
It was not enough. It was not nearly enough. I live here in the United States, and therefore my political involvement is desired. Anything else is cowardly. Anything else is not enough. As much as I was loathe to, out of sheer self preservation, I had to agree, especially when it was declared in no uncertain terms that despite my fears of being taken down and out by The Man that:
“Paltry, you HAVE TO HAVE AN OPINION.”
I winced. I have tried so hard not to! I am not a naturally lassiez faire kinda soul. I am the antithesis of easy going. I am the enemy of half assededness. It did not help that the gentleman in question was ex law enforcement. Where to go with this! Was it a trick? A deliberate move to draw me out. The USA never did recover from McCarthyism!
I felt backed into a corner. Come on, man, I wanted to shout. What the fuck have I done to deserve this! Instead I took a deep breath, leant forwards in my chair and said, “I am too scared to have an opinion. I am undocumented. I really don’t think that is a safe position for me to take. I need to protect myself. But clearly, yes, all black lives matter, and yes Trump was indeed a monster.” To the rest of it, I plead the fifth. I saw it once in a movie and it seems to have the right kind of impact.
That was still not enough. Not nearly enough. My politicization is non negotiable, not least because I have to damn well live with myself, but it really does not make me sleep easy at night. Opinions have consequences, something the Capitol storming Trumpers might have to learn in technicolor from the cells themselves. Opinions, the junk food of the internet, everyone has one, they splurge out Jackson Pollock toxic splatter across news sites and youtube, and very rarely do the expellers have to answer for them, but when they do, when that opinion veers from the herd, my oh my does the owner have to pay for them. Sometimes with everything they got. Fuck that for a game of authoritarian policing of opinion, my friends. Fuck that and the fascist hole it crawled out of.
Cancel culture. The enemy of diverging opinion. The carrot and whip of the current herd mentality. Everyone better baa baa along with the tribe, choose an identity and stick to it like glue…unless that identity is deemed by the immoral majority as being somehow infra dig, inferior, unacceptable by the ravening hoards, then change is the only sensible option if you don’t want to go to war with the vast barbarian armies. Try writing “BTS sucks donkey butt” or some other such slogan on youtube. Or rather, don’t. Doxxed, threatened with legal action (seriously happened to one youtuber, I am not entirely sure what crime he was threatened with), spammed to death, threatened by fetuses with an unhealthy Jimin obsession, and all that might be the least of your problem. This ‘army’ is distinctly no bueno, and utterly sheep-mindedly vicious.
Opinions can be very dangerous indeed, yet they are demanded. In my opinion BTS should be disbanded, the boys sent off to recover from their pancake make up addictions, and to see if they might recover a modicum of self respect, and hopefully the most toxic fandom in pop history will drift away to other healthier pursuits…like chain smoking marlboro lights while digesting the Velvet Underground and Nico deluxe box set.
Taking a deep breath, and realizing that everything is possibly beyond fucked anyway, and in the interests of being able to live with myself, here goes nothing:
The police force in the USA are clearly institutionally racist. The solution to this has to be found by better minds than me. I support a widespread investigation on a micro level, dismissing cops who have shown their prejudices, and devising a far more rigorous hiring procedure which would weed out those who would join who have a violent and racist mindset. I would have supported a total disbanding, however, being on the receiving end of the richer parts of town being policed, and the problem ‘contained’ within the poor neighborhoods like the TL, and subsequently being unsafe to walk outside I cannot see it working. It will be the poor who suffer more. What cannot carry on is the current situation.
I hate Donald Trump. I think he is a fascist and would be autocrat that wanted to forge a Trump ruling dynasty. He clearly promoted civil unrest, and should be held accountable.
Erratic behavior on the streets, challenging the safety of people minding their own business, when it is fuelled by drugs – namely crack in this city – cannot be allowed to continue. It is dangerous for other people. Keep your shit together and stay free. Start chasing Paltry down the street screaming “BOY! DYKE! IM GONNA FUCK YOU UP!” is not allowed. Chasing Boy shouting racial slurs regarding his Asianness is also strictly disallowed. Ditto trying to attack anybody else minding their own fucking business. It is easy from a position of rich safety to call for no police force at all, when it is not your neighborhood becoming a war zone and your daily walk to Trader Joes undertaken in running shoes with hand on the mace can.
The precursors for fentanyl should be banned. More people died in SF of Fent tainted drugs than covid in the last year or so. These precursors come from China. Those that do such things need to put diplomatic slaps on wrists until all sale of those chemicals are banned. Heroin never killed like fentanyl. I am starting to think our Powers That Be are not unfond of the ‘heads all dying from fentanyl, and not so sure they don’t welcome it as a free trash cleaning service. It is in everything – in coke, in meth. It IS the heroin, even here out west. There is no good ole honest to badness smack from poppies to be found and that is killing people who otherwise would have had a chance to live and recover.
I support safe injection sites. I support maintenance therapy with pharmaceutical heroin and cocaine instead of methadone and failing NA programs, in much the same way as the Brits tried back in the ’50s and ’60s.
I don’t identify as Democrat or Republican. They are both disengaged from the plight of the average American. I am not an anarchist as this would lead to the destruction of the vulnerable.
I do not think the best album of all time was Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club’s Band. Not even top five for that piece of kitsch.
Ramones over Sex Pistols.
The Giants will win the world series.
Full alien disclosure before 2022.
Veganism is essential to save the planet.
Fight me. Or rather…don’t …..
Oh yeah…and once more…in case I wasn’t clear enough…Solidarity.