The Mighty Lies

          Nights. And Christmas lights. Tempers heave, the stress mounts, and then there’s snow. And mistletoe. In the morning, clouds. Celibate breakfasts and backwards driving on the lawn. Castles coated in ice flakes, meandering on the pond where once someone vanished and never did they find them. But there are still, here, nights. And Christmas lights.

          So a black man dies. And everyone’s watching. A useless spitball launched against the wind as we jury our opinions. And some young kid somewhere thinks that once, we used to turn our eyes to the stars and push for that place. A void opened, sucked in the hope that we had when we were ten or eleven, and a looping strand of red licorice hung in our teeth as we biked blissfully past the pedophiles and the molehills and the model homes. We turned in. We sat down. We saw the great heights. Clouded by Christmas lights. And tiny bug bites. Recorded in our skin.

          I don’t know how we got here. To inside-out’ing diseases and the messy world. To caustic meanness and abrasion and the snapping of anger, of roads full of rage and hearts turning grey. Radicals, fundamentalists, now the people who believe in something the strongest are the most violent. And we are afraid. Of cold. Of warmth. Of connection. But mostly of disconnection. And the sighs. And the mighty lies. And the mighty lies.

          We are made for battle. Humanity as a fight. A contest, a boxing ring. A blue sphere made of people grappling with each other over anything. Give me a reason to hate. Or to rage. Give me a reason, and I will play. This is no game, but a holiday display. A broadcast signal of who we are – aimed at the stars. This is a recording. A history a second after it’s created. A rolling epitaph of our actions and inactions and the sullen, simple place that lies between the two – the place we rest our heads. Beneath the cold sight of Christmas lights. Born in the fading hope of the great great heights. But made of the many imaginary slights. And filled with the sound of all these worthless fights.

The Pillars of Creation
The Pillars of Creation
Dream hard, rage hard.

41 thoughts on “The Mighty Lies

  1. Excellent Trent. Excellent.

    You know over the years I trucked in central and southern US. I saw the grass roots populations and interactions at the level of warehouse staff, truck drivers, working people, service industry, etc. The hatred and prejudice was palpable. A lot of it in the name of religion, esp in the bible belt. For the casual visitor interacting on the level of hotels and tourist areas, all appeared fair and even. At the level of the courts and law, all appeared fair and even. It never was, it was always a whitewash (pardon the pun) job that showed rot when the thin covering was scraped off.

    The death of the black man is and will be a he said, she said situation. Hard to tell one way or the other, but it acts as a trigger to push back against all the prejudice and hatred that has been accumulating longer than any individual’s memory. I saw the President’s 9 minute message on the Grand Jury decision. It was the limpest, emptiest, blandest, most general and meaningless thing i have ever seen him say. “We have to look at the positive side …” What? What? isn’t that a paraphrase of a line from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”? —“Always look on the bright side of life…do, dee, do, de, do, dee, do, dee, do. Life’s a piece of shit when you really look at it…do, dee, do, de, do, dee, do, dee, do.”

    I’m glad we haven’t gone to the stars yet, it would be spreading humanity’s (not just white on black and black on white) prejudice, racism and hatred off the planet.

    Excellent post Trent.

    1. I am always amazed at the beauty in what we do, mingled with the utter blackness. Or as you say, what lies just beneath the surface, needing only a trigger to go into some bad place. I didn’t see the President’s message, don’t think I want to see it – but rewatching Life of Brian or the Holy Grail may be what is needed.

      If we’re taking the baggage to the stars, that means we’re taking the pina coladas too, right? The good and the bad. Everything we pretty much are.

      Thanks very much Paul. If you have posted lately on someone’s blog and I don’t know about it, please direct me, I would really appreciate it.

      1. Hey Trent! You’re right, our ability to do good and bad seem to be in equal measure – we can do vast things in either direction. It seems that we define ourselves by which choices we make. Excellent post – probably the most insightful, well written piece i’ve seen. And concise (which i am not good at – ha!).

        I have posted recently over at Cordelia’s Mom i think you’ll enjoy it – many questions and few answers. Ha! Thanks so much for asking. Oh, Cordelia’s Mom has opened a new “category” for my guest posts. On the right side of her blog you’ll see a drop down menu near the top marked “category” . Scroll down and you’ll find my name – click on it to see any back posts. Thanks – it is great to see you posting Trent.

      2. You two appear to be saying some sensible stuff. Of course, sir Trent, we did not wake up one morning to suddenly find the hearts grey. The deadliest path to where we are appears to be the slow fade and gradually we drifted amidst justifications and supposed good intentions, amidst so-called surrender to our basest human instincts. Then we slept. Then we woke. Then we were black.

        Indeed, Paul, it seems we drift towards both ends in equal measure. This is what I may safely say.

      1. “Or do I have that the other way around? I can never tell.” I can’t, either. ^ ^
        A fine job, Trent. You’ve captured Struggle we call living, the prose of relationships, the poetry of pain.


  2. Too much shouting and hating and demonizing of the other. Not enough talking and LISTENING. Listening to understand, not to reply, but just to understand.
    Beautifully written Trent.

  3. I have always thought that humanity was hardwired for battle. It’s in our DNA. Part of our genetic code. There has always been war raging somewhere on the planet and there will always be. We’ll never have world peace. It’s just not part of our biology. We can have individual peace and pockets of prosperity but the masses will always be susceptible to feeling encroached upon and always feel they have to put up a solid defense by attacking. Sorry to be a gloomy gus but this is how I’ve always felt. Read a history book. I see no evidence to the contrary.

    1. I won’t argue with you. I wouldn’t know how. I’ve got no evidence to prove otherwise. No gut feel that we can get out of this cycle, or that we have internal programming that would allow it in any case. But there must be some other parts to our DNA too – no? Something else that does manifest itself, and that I hope we don’t ignore. Don’t even really have a name for it.

  4. Your words are so eloquent and beautiful. A stark contrast to the ugliness of humanity. I dare say, I will be looking at starry nights and Christmas lights a little differently after reading this piece. It is getting harder to look away.

  5. What a powerful use of imagery, memory and senses to create both a world of wonder and one full of hate. Both are present, but I think you’re right. We no longer touch each other. No longer look into the eyes of those we harm — we do it remotely, anonymously. Or if we do it closeup, and our skin is the approved color, we may well walk away free.

    And where do we go from here?

    Brilliant writing, Trend.

    1. We no longer touch each other… that feels true, and sad. I am, I think, an awesome e-mailer – it’s so easy to be snarky, even nasty, to unload. Because the other person is so far away.

      Where do we go from here… I guess we keep writing. Thank you much, Elyse.

      1. Yes. Exactly ithink that distance is a uge factor in all kinda of nasties. Just look at cyberbullying, for example. You can bever escape. …

  6. Such contrast between what is and what should be; what love we’re capable of and yet how lazy we are in recognizing it as the easier way to live.
    It really is all so much bigger than us, and yet each of us contains the elements to choose. To radiate the healing rather than the damaging light.
    Thank you for posting this, Trent.

  7. Humanity was made for fighting. Fighting nature, fighting the elements, fighting limits, fighting each other. The same urge that pushes us to find a cure for cancer is the same force that makes us kill each other. We can’t advance if we don’t struggle; and without the struggle there is no joy. At least that’s what I think I think. Check back on one of my less pessimistic days, I might change my mind.

    Wonderful thought-provoking piece.

  8. The mighty truth behind the sparkling fairy lights. There has always been, and there will always be, some sort of cover under which we hide our naked truths. Sometimes Christmas lights, sometimes celebratory fireworks, other times, congregational gatherings in the name of worship, clothed in peace and fellowship, like the wolf in sheep’s clothing it is. Live to fight or fight to live? Sure. But why not live to love and love to live? As I see it…this goes to your next post…about growing up. This is another reason to get your kid on…as soon and as often as possible

  9. Wow Trentster, that was amazing… you always get to the root of it!
    It’s like the nativity scene in front of that Baptist church in the south where they hate everyone who doesn’t believe. or take any fn store on black Friday and feel the love as people trample over each other to save a dollar… it all makes me sick, and I’m pretty damn sure Yeshuah is devastated that His glorious birth was turned into this nightmare; setting up trees that were originally used to hang women to death from, oh yea lets do that; or even just covering our houses in lights that use so much electricity 50 people die from the coal plant they’re forced to work in to supply it! Its all insanity! We’ve so lost our way! and once again you come along and describe it so eloquently! 🙂

  10. You two appear to be saying some sensible stuff. Of course, sir Trent, we did not wake up one morning to suddenly find the hearts grey. The deadliest path to where we are appears to be the slow fade and gradually we drifted amidst justifications and supposed good intentions, amidst so-called surrender to our basest human instincts. Then we slept. Then we woke. Then we were black.

    Indeed, Paul, it seems we drift towards both ends in equal measure. This is what I may safely say.

  11. Hi Trent. I knew I would have to take it slow as soon as I found your blog. Picked this one after “Superstar” (ref CBGB) to read next. I’m home now and again hear the words of Roger Waters in my head as I log on…”Is there anybody out there?” x3. There have been many hands reaching out to me since I started blogging coming from varying depths. But it’s still a strange place and can’t be trusted. When I read this, it felt like I was an observer on another plane, twinkling and magical and melancholy as I observed global conditions. I covered up your graphic before I read it because I didn’t know if I was just going to another brand of science fiction. And when I uncovered it, at the end, it fit the story so well it made my eyes teary. Yours is the longest comment I’ve ever written, so I guess that shows how blown away I am by your talent. Glad you’re out there, too. 🙂

    1. Be careful is all that I can say. You can lose so much time in blog-land, and honestly, while there are great people here, there are some not-so-great people as well. Yes, it can’t really be trusted and it is a strange place. A strange, wonderful place that, if you find the right people, is very rewarding.

      Glad you liked the piece, and the Roger Waters reference makes me feel very cool (I love Floyd!). And thank you for the long comment – I appreciate feedback, as everyone does. Is there anybody out there? I sure hope so.

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