rapping on my forehead
it’s beginning to leave a bruise
and soon perhaps it’ll benumb the knocking
which wants to get in
sit in the burger joint
say fuck it as i rise to lead the beggary
holding out an outstretched hand
come take it last
so i hobble forth on these cracked and truest wings
hearing fingernails almost click against the glass
the fingers beckoning
and the rest
It was so easy to go to Australia. It was so easy to go. Everywhere we've been. It's probably still easy, as soon as the decision is made. Then you go. What's ahead becomes all important. What is supposed to be loses all its power to frustrate; loses its ability to rub frictively up against what is. Tack-punctured sandpaper versus flesh.
So why is it so difficult to make the decision? Do we really believe that all the promises they promised are going to come true if we stay and endeavor and buy? If we invest properly? If we post cleverly enough on social networking sites, so that mediated living feels momentarily less mediated. Maybe if I squeeze my eyes shut tightly enough and believe harder than the next guy, maybe I'll come up with a great and stupid Sky Mall idea that I can sell to bored business travelers on planes. Headed to their next safely incubated destination. Something to send back to their friends and family to make up for their frequent lack of presence. Maybe I'll win the lottery. Maybe god will touch my brain with his old bony finger and grant me the capacity to be a business mogul. I'll have golden rays of light radiating from my every move that people won't see. But they'll feel them, and thus feel god, and they will inexplicably want to be involved in all my business transactions. Because god loves capitalism best.
That's not faith. That's competitive bargaining.
Faith looks more like going to Australia and living in a van when you get there. Faith is letting the tears slide frictionlessly down your cheek as you step – standing upright…not on all fours – to the precipice of the grassy Cliffs of Moher. Faith is striking up a conversation with humility and gratitude. Faith is allowing yourself to be moved in the presence of others. Faith's grandiosity is small. It fits into your heart, or into the fourteen lines of a sonnet. But it shouldn't be contained in either place. Because its containment will contain you.
It's so hard. It's so easy.
My girlfriend and I enjoyed a rare outing last night to see a first-run movie. We arrived early enough to get good seats and settle in. Fifteen minutes before the concessions ads before the four previews before the movie we’d come to see, the screen and sound system fired up to show us a First Look. For those people smart enough to go to second-run theatres or watch their movies at home, First Look is a huge, flashy series of commercials. It advertises impending cultural and commercial detritus that the film and television industry thinks the present audience might be interested in. We were treated to trailers for 666 Park Avenue and yet another reimagingng of the rapidly tiring Spiderman story, an embarrassingly odd look at a Blue Lagoon remake for television, several car commercials, an insurance spot, and overly excited enticements for other miscellaneous products.
First Look is particularly annoying for two reasons. Sensorily speaking, the volume is downright rude. My girlfriend and I tried valiantly to share the events of our respective days, but First Look’s sound interrupted with the intensity and persistence of a supremely-caffeinated four-year old. Most annoying, however, was the financial reason. Nevermind the fact that we paid a total of $33.00 for two tickets, a water, and the smallest popcorn available. We nevertheless had to be subjected to a very loud barrage of things to consider spending more money on. I thought the primary incentive of paying for things like applications and television series was supposed to be the minimization of advertising. Instead, it felt like we had paid for the privilege of being begged to pay some more.
So here is my idea for a new smartphone app called Boycott. When you’re at the movie theatre and First Look comes on, you turn Boycott on. Maybe if you buy your tickets with your phone, you could even tell Boycott at that point to turn on automatically later. In any event, the application uses listening identification technology similar to Soundhound or Shazam to figure out what First Look is trying to sell you. First Look is loud enough that Boycott shouldn’t have any trouble hearing, even if your phone is tucked away in your pocket. It stores the vendors as a list of items in a database. After the movie, as you stroll though the real world, Boycott uses GPS location services to know where you are and what’s around you, matching your movements against movie and television listings, and the current time. It persistently compares all of that data against the list of First Look offerings that have been stored. Then Boycott sends you urgent notifications when it thinks you are in jeopardy of consuming anything that First Look showed you. This application could alternately be called ‘Take That, Evil First Look, You Purveyor of Conspicuous Consumerism’ or ‘No Thanks I Already Paid’.
If you have the software engineering skills to make this idea a reality, please feel free. The only compensation I ask is a complimentary copy of Boycott, ad free of course.