Attention Span Therapy

Recovering from the traumatic brain injury of social media

Speak with your words, Or your fists, Or your flag, Or your dick. Speak with your cross, Or your truck, Or with your raw, white indignation, You prick. Speak jealously, Speak online, Speak out of turn, Just don't speak to us anymore with your gun. Please just go away.

When we are young, we wake up and look around, and we dream that we will be quoted well, our best phrases, our best moments, picked up and even massaged a bit—if you're asking the God's honest truth—into something more marketable. Then we get older, some faster than others, and we go to bed and we dream dark nightmares after eating bad fish or drinking strong beer and we are horrified in the morning to think that we will be quoted poorly, captured in some moment of insecurity or fear or smallness, trapped forever in a bad hair day of the mind. Finally—and this is only after some time, and not everybody gets here, but those who do wake up, and you greet the morning with a cup of strong coffee, and you breathe deeply and you come to admit that you would like only to be quoted accurately. That that will be enough.

Ad placement exercise

A well-to-do black family on vacation, exploring the countryside; I'm seeing historic homes, wide open prairies, happy things, and buffalo; and I'm thinking to myself: Is this an ad for North Dakota? Are they so brave as to advocate for whole caravans of people of color exploring the great, white North, or South, of the Dakota's? Or maybe this is for Nebraska. Come to corn country, and bring your whole black family! We are desperate for tourism. I see points on a map, a dotted line that draws their summer path. Is this Montana? The text on the TV is too far away to see. Lakes, streams, blowing grass. Do they advertise for Canada here in Minneapolis? It's been a long time since I've seen TV. And then finally comes the tagline: 'Explore Minnesota'. Did they have buffalo in Minnesota? I ask myself. Apparently, yes, they did.

What is it that renders me so angry about my neighbor's new back porch light? I have only owned this house for 32 days and I have barely been in it for 14, and for 10 of those I have had a nice, dark back yard in which to sit in. In fact, it was fantastically dark; so dark that K remarked to me in one of our odd moments of peace, I can't believe how many stars you can see here, compared to Uptown. I love this new house. I want my dark, perfect back yard back. And to get it I'm going to have to go and teach my gay neighbors a thing or two about tolerance.

There was a smell in the air like gasoline. The woman, whose hair was on fire, fingered absently through a copy of Vogue. She was inches from the pool. The fire in her hair never seemed to die down, increase, or otherwise consume her as one would expect. After some ten minutes a hotel waiter emerged with a single bottle of Coca-Cola on a silver tray. He carried the bottle over to the woman, set it on the small table to her left, and then slowly stepped away from her. He did not turn around until he was five paces back. I noticed as he made his way across the concrete back to the slim black portal that led into the hotel that he looked over his shoulder as if to confirm that he wasn't being followed. High up in the sky ran the white geometric line of an airplane carving its way across the planet. The woman turned a page in her magazine. Her hair was captivating. I couldn't look away. She laid the magazine face down upon her thigh and reached over to the bottle of Coca-Cola. She removed the straw that had been left inside the bottle and she brought the neck up to her lips and drank. The way the woman drank was unbelievable. She chugged that beverage in complete denial of every other quality of her person, she drank the dark liquor down so quick that it drizzled from the corners of her ruby red lips and ran down the sides of her cheeks, around the ridge of her chin, then down the long plane of her remarkable neck. A single thin bead of brown dribbling down. She sucked and drank until the bottle was empty, raising the end into the sky above her head and penetrating the opening with the tiny red point of her long thin tongue, after which she set the bottle down back upon the side table, wiped her chin with the back of her hand and then resumed reading her magazine. A few minutes later the attendant returned to take the bottle away, whereupon the woman inclined her neck up in his direction, which prompted him to remove the towel from his arm, and slowly rub her neck clean. In the process of doing so, the arm of his jacket caught fire, but the man took no action to extinguish it. He finished what he was doing, placed the towel back upon his arm and retreated in the same fashion that he had before, all while the flame on his arm grew bigger and hotter. I could hear the noise of the flame being put out from the dark recesses of wherever the waiter had retreated to. I looked over at the woman, but she was gone.