Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Consequences Under Pressure*


"past screamin' from the rooftops
we live to survive our paradoxes"

-Springtime in Vienna by The Tragically Hip

We sat with our CPA today to go over our taxes. He explained the state of the state--that being it filled with companies who are dumping and leaving for other states, the brain drain of young people who can only find jobs outside of it, and the harbinger of woe that the real estate market has slowly become. He said that we, being at the start of a marriage, should buckle down. Get things cleaned up. Put something away.

"Twist My Arm" is filling my ears via the nano right now. Each phrase paints the vivid picture our past and present life in the city in which we live, from Jacques Cousteau's boat once being once parked on the river, to the ominous knuckles from union and corporate sides, to the shots of tear gas flares into rioting crowds, and the hounds of the Dow Jones. I sit writing under the protection of the Presbyterian church I attend. It has endured 154 years of the flux of it all. Wars and riots. Wounded times and closures. The gutting by the mob of community relations because they just could not get enough from every one's pocket. The bleeding out of lost dreams.

"Men here of the secret
the pass in upholstered silence
they only exist in crisis
they only exist in silence"

And the manufacturing of dissent. Michael Moore is from my home town. I used to have one of his old jobs of showing movies at the local university. He is sometimes seen as a hero but more often as a devil. A schmuck. Wasn't he supposed to have done something a while ago with those two movies? Was it GM's inaction that made Flint seem a pathetic, undone wasteland? Or was it the shifting of the sand in the litter box of GM's fat cat ways to reveal exactly where the crap happened. I don't understand. It was so long ago. I exchanged that beautiful, tender, broken town for another one.

I can sense the worry of the governor quite strongly. The look on her face when the big pharmaceutical pulled out. She is in Germany courting business now. My CPA is right. Things are getting bleaker here. Outsiders shake their heads. Denizens can't wrap their minds around it either, yet it is because we are so accustomed to it.

"Instructions from the manual
could not have been more plain
the blues are still required
the blues are still required again"

We push into this bleakness, so depressed we can't recognize a remedy. So confused by remedies we can't foresee a resolution. We hear the inglorious stories of Coleman Young. We witness gruesome unfoldings of marital bliss leading to murder. Our friends seek ending careers as industry packs up and moves to other states and countries. It won't hurt if you don't move. Are we moving? Because it still hurts.

The grit settles in. The sludge takes over. The flood overwhelms. The sun bakes everything nearly dry. We emerge defiant as thorns, lost as Israelites in the desert, bereft as the young Moabite widow in a new land, crazy as a profit soaking wood for a sacrifice. Just desperate enough to believe that we can create good and a future from nothing but dirt and feces and seed. We are only 60 seconds on the dial and that takes a while, says Gordy.

I can see out from the stone and glass of this old church. This edifice covers me in hope. It holds me still when I don't want to listen. It moves deeply when my heart is numbed and resistant. It plants its message deep withing me. I can only go outside when I know I am accompanied by this great force of comrades. After all, there is no simple explanations for anything any of us do*, says Gordy.

* from Courage by The Tragically Hip

- END -

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