The Forgotten Fantasy of the Friendly Friendless
Some say I'm the friendliest girl they've ever met.
The sweetest person in the world.
I love to spread kindness in person and online.
I'm always surrounded by so many people who know me or know of me.
I know people or know of them, too, but, do I truly have a friend?
For 24 years, 11 months, and 2 days, I've been a friendly person, but my only true friends are my parents, my siblings, and God. I tell myself that I don't need anyone else, but deep down, there's a longing.
Two has always been my favorite number. Perhaps, it's the whisper of a forgotten fantasy.
My fantasy doesn't have to be romantic at all (though I'm not opposed to that type of friendship possibly manifesting eventually). At the moment, I simply desire true friends. I know I may be considered 'popular', but that's not what I mean. There are people who like my posts and follow me on social media. There are folks in several online communities who frequently converse with me. I have acquaintances and individuals around town I see on the regular basis. Like neighbors, we nod and bid each other 'good day'. They tell me how it's a joy to see me, how I'm always so nice and pleasant. Still, there is a distance. A strange distance that makes me feel like I'm a friendly friendless.
You may wonder how it's possible for someone who is so friendly not to actually, you know, have friends. I wonder this myself. I call myself a friend to all, but then don't many say 'a friend to all is a friend to none'? How can this be helped?
My fantasy is for a like-minded someone to reciprocate what I've projected. Someone to chat with about fun things and even deeper subjects. Someone to connect souls with, to pour my heart into and let pour into me. Someone to laugh with and cry with and play with and love. It doesn't have to be every single day. Just someone somewhere who reaches a hand out every now and again...
...or takes hold of the one that's been held out into the void for 24 years, 11 months, and 2 days.
Robin Hood In The Neoliberal Age
Life is hard. Not in the sense of work, but watching as those with the least get hammered by those with the most. Super yachts, multi-roomed mansions, private jets and the ability to threaten the politics of every country. So, here I sit watching the sun rise on another day, I find myself thinking of Jeff Bezos worried about his ageing skin, or Warren Buffett sinking more of his millions into a Silicon Valley Ponzi scheme that will not affect him. However, they don't occupy my thoughts as much as the billions of people struggling not to sink.
Poverty is not a choice. Low wages are not the necessity.
But, a warm home is a must, with food that doesn't lead to obesity, because you have no money to make a choice. For people to have life chances that don't depend on the colour of their skin, their gender, or their Zip Code or Postal Code of their abode.
Welcome to my fantasy.
It is the myth made real. The Robin Hood of the Neoliberal Age, with the determination and skill to hack all those accounts, that money hidden away on far off isles, Tax Havens of the rich around the world. So, from my laptop in the North East of England, I gather their excesses and spread it far and wide.
Just as they steal lives from those who seemingly don't matter, I will steal Dollars, Pounds, Yen and Euros that they can't count.
If they can asset strip our fragile earth, so they can deposit a tonne of carbon into air, with their super yachts and trips to the edge of the space. They are not wealth makers, they are not earth creators, they are stealth-mode money launderers, stripping our planet for their own enjoyment. The Robber Barons of the Neoliberal Age.
You may laugh, as you read this. And I hope you do. Because one day it could be you. Down to your last Dollar or Pound, with three weeks to go until some money enters your account. So, desperation creates a vortex in your brain, the anxiety you feel, is pumping blood around your body at hypersonic speeds. Irrationality becomes your core thought because none of what a lack of money is doing to you and body is necessary. Your anxiety doesn't put money in your account, nor does it pay the rent. You've worked 60 hours this week and there is only stress to show, with black bags under your eyes and those won't pay debt collectors.
Yet, the billionaires look at their billions like it is a painting by a Renaissance Artist. They can only look. How many life times would they have to live to spend all the wealth that they have accumulated.
So, I'm knocking off a zero, a nought at the end of that number, because they still won't be able to spend all that money, they stare at each day. So, I am knocking off a nought, a Zero. Taking it away.
But, think what that Zero means for the billions, who could receive a little helping hand at the end of every week?
Life chances change when you're not hungry, when you are eating properly in a home that is warm. A priceless peace of mind, that stops a parent worrying about crime, drugs and alcohol consumption because they have time. Time to spend with their children. Where food is a choice and not what you can afford. A child's dream can be fulfilled because the lure of the gang no longer carries a thrill. A place of refuge is the library of a college, a university or an open field.
So my fantasy is to be the Robin Hood of the Neoliberal Age.
To take from the rich and give to the billions of poor - to those who dream of a dollar at the end of the day, or die trying to make a meagre living either way.
No wealth for me, but a thrill to see people live, not just survive.
Fun is My Fantasy
Would you swim in a river or dance in the raiin
if you knew it could take away all of your pain?
Would you jump from the rooftops, singing right along
Knowing you’re not really doin’ anything wrong
Challenges comes and opportunities knock,
But sometimes I just sit and stare at the clock
A need for grounding and centering as a whole
To keep from spinning is my only goal
My son just bought a ukulele which i think is the best
Hes only twelve, but he’s not like the rest.
And ukulele’s are fun, which we all need more of
And with each song he plays, he plays it with love
Into every sunshine, a little rain must fall,
but do we really need to carry it all?
If one and one is two,
Then where does three fit in?
Fighting a battle she’s trying to win
If you think it’s over, the sun always rises
And life is always full of surprises.
So go with your heart, your head will catch up,
Five years from now, you’ll see it as a mix up
So slide on the ice and pee your pants,
And don’t think so hard-close your eyes and dance.
There is a door in the middle of the woods that pulses like a heart and whispers like a secret. Behind the door is a world we do not yet know, one that promises something better than what we have. Steady and alive, this is where quicksand melts to a soft pillow of land beneath tiny toes and rainbows shimmer like little diamonds, reflecting their colors on the faces of the children who always have a place there.
If dreams did not die in youth, this would be the hollow clearing where they unfurl themselves from old cocoons, where laughter serves as currency and it is plentiful; infinite. In the middle of the night, the sun shines. In the middle of the night, no tears are smeared across the small cheeks of those who have already seen too much.
There is a war outside the door and we are losing because there are children who drag their parents across the hardwood and drop their empty bottles into the trash and there are those with wide eyes who ask too many questions and find only bruises on their ribs as an answer and we cannot see the purpling beneath their shirts until they are already broken. Dreams settle inside the hearts of the young and lie unprotected, waiting to be scooped out from the inside.
If children are the future then we will soon know boundless ruin because the door in the clearing in the woods is only fantasy and wishing for better does less than feathers tossed against glass houses.
We are the ones who shatter.
5 Golden Rings
Everyone had heard the stories about Harriet. They say she married four times, and still had all the rings saved up in her jewelry box. She never wore them, just kept them locked away, gathering dust.
She could have sold them and gotten some decent money. She could have worn them all as a badge of honor. She could have melted them down and made them into something different, like a necklace or a pair of ornate golden earrings.
But she didn't do any of those things. She kept them in a locked jewelry box in a locked room and left the world to wonder why she did it.
And boy, did they wonder.
Her first marriage was to a guy named Carl Deed III. A stiff name, and it fit his stiff demeanor perfectly. He had some ideas about what Harriet should be doing, and Harriet disagreed.
That was the first ring.
The second marriage was to a man named Barry Carver. Barry was a laid back, progressive, handsome art student. He didn't make a lot of money, but that didn't bother Harriet— Carl Deed III lost a key court case and had to pay a massive settlement. What did bother Harriet was the hours he spent in his room, locked away for days without saying a word to her or offering her even a shred of his time.
Harriet almost regretted ending that marriage. She really did love Barry, but he just left her unfulfilled and alone for a little too long a little too often. She couldn't take it any longer.
Her third marriage was to a younger man named Vince Dodd. Vince was young, he was loving, he was kind.
But he was a little too loving, to a little too many people.
Her fourth marriage was her worst. Jack Freud, who she biting called "Jack Fraud" was nice at first. He was rich, but Harriet had been investing Mr. Deed's money and she had an incredible sum.
Jack, of course, couldn't handle a woman having more than him. So he began, bit by bit, to control her finances, to limit her income. He began to belittle her, to isolate her, to control her.
Harriet lost everything when she finally ended things. Her money, her house, her sense of self. It all left with Jack Fraud.
For years, Harriet had given up on love. As she grew older, the world changed around her. She began living in a tiny apartment, got a job as bartender, and worked her way up the ranks.
She was alive. And for the first time in a long time, she knew who she was.
She remembered seeing the article in 2015, the summer of her 51st birthday, and she smiled. When she got her own bar, called the Four Rings, she hung it up on the wall.
No one dared to comment on it. If they had any negative ideas, they kept it to themselves, at least within the walls of Harriet's bar, because good beer and free sports TV was more important than who loved who.
The article from the New York Times that told the United States that same-sex marriage was legal created an awakening in many people, young and old.
But here, no one was willing to talk about that awakening. The only sign of acceptance in the entire town was this article posted on the wall of the Four Rings, and the only negativity was the occasional distasteful look at the framed article.
Everyone knew about Harriet's first four marriages. They knew the story behind the Four Rings, and while some people called Harriet a whore, most people just said "That poor woman" and moved on with their lives.
No one paid Harriet or her bar much attention. They came to drink, and then they left. It was as simple as that.
Harriet flipped the sign over to CLOSED as she mopped the beer stained floors. She put the mop away and she took the flight upstairs. She was getting older, 53 now, and stairs were getting hard, but every night she ignored her fiery joints and climbed the stairs to her room, stationed faithfully above the bar.
She'd heard rumors that a new family was coming to Brown street. A woman and her teenage daughter, no husband in sight.
Harriet didn't care at all. Unless she or her teen buys beer, it's not her problem. They'll just be another face on the block.
But 50-year-old Dana Schoff did buy beer. Drank it pretty heavily, in fact, but never seemed to really get drunk. She was a big woman with a high tolerance for any sort of alcohol.
Only a week after the trucks arrived, Dana found her way into the Four Rings.
"I'd like a shot," she says. "Fill it with whatever, just get me the strong stuff."
Harriet obliges. She only thinks about it for a moment: I don't get many people my age ordering strong stuff. But the thought is only there for a moment, and then she moves on and gets the drink.
Dana downs it.
"I like your article," she says, pointing at the wall.
The entire bar goes silent.
It's an unspoken rule here: no one ever talks about The Article. It's taboo. It's wrong. It's not allowed. The Article on The Wall of The Bar is merely a fuzzy blur shoved into the back of everyone's minds.
"Why, thank you," Harriet says. "I made the frame myself."
And so conversation resumes.
Dana downed three more shots before the bar closes.
A Divided Time Capsule
Unfortunately, a time capsule buried in December 2021 should reflect the extreme partisanship and, of course, COVID-19, that has engulfed neighbors and strangers across the nation. The capsule needs to be divided into two compartments. Their contents:
Compartment 1: A vaccination card, face masks, a syringe, an Amazon shipping box, a history book, protest signs, broken glass from the Capitol insurrection, shell casings from any mass shooting
Compartment 2: Broken glass from a looted store, shell casings from a shooting range, an Amazon shipping box
in my old school
we didn't have
time off to roll in
the sweet corruption of
i celebrated christmas,
but i had friends who didn't.
my jewish friend had to go to school
on her holiday.
my muslim friend had to
to participate in her holiday.
got their time off.
no matter what branch
of christianity you
are part of
you always get
christmas day off.
because it's not winter break.
it's not designed
to accommodate everyone.
it's just another priviledge
of the majority.
the day my friend was absent
in gym class
i realized just how privileged we are.
even if i'm not a christian,
i celebrate christian holidays,
we've been taught, however subtly
that christianity is right.
it is embedded in our very culture,
in our very world.
persecution is having to skip school because
your holiday is not
listening to someone say
when you don't even
going on christmas break
you don't get
a break of your own.
Ms Katan’s Mantra
I'm not perfect.
I'm just me.
And that's the best thing I can be.
The Freak Show
I would definetly join the freak show! I think my talent would be being a trapeze artist who could jump through rings of fire. I would run away with the circus and find parts with them to make a really cool machine that could make people able to time travel and teleport! The circus and I could also make a lot of money off of it and the circus could be famouse!
They stare at my body
Contorted like a
Skinny, bones showing through thin skin.
They come into the tent,
Eyes darting to me and to the ground, back and forth.
Unable to make up their minds if they want to run
Or keep their glassy eyes on me.
I promise you
I will watch them.
I will watch them squirm
Under my gaze.
My folded body holds power
And I can make them gasp
If bend myself grotesquely.