There is something, or many things, wrong with social media platforms that affect the behavior of ourselves with others, and vice versa. But what’s the problem exactly? Insofar as there is one, here are some thoughts from one of my notebooks.
They tell you there’s 24 hours in a day, demand you give up at least half that time for work, and expect you to do something useful with the rest of your time: moments where you’re either too drowsy, too drained, or too discombobulated to be of any use for. You’re a hard-working piece of this salty, dusty earth — on a good day — and you happen to give up everything today, just so tomorrow can be a better place: for yourself, for your family, for your own piece of mind and stability.
For work, as a political canvasser…
Before jumping on stage, you are simply just another musician — one amongst millions, if not billions, of other scrappy musicians. Your milieu is structured, constituted and regulated by the expected platitudes of playing the same sundry music: with your cute notes, chords, verses and choruses, tempos and time signatures, maintaining the same tranquil tides, the same ole campy songs which can be heard on any other day. But damnit! …
Frank tells me that my prose is no good. He doesn’t say it like that, of course — no, he’s got better manners than that. We’re standing outside the second floor of Flatiron, on the top landing of the stairway, enjoying our champagne of beers and smoking menthol ciggies under drizzling shards of rain. I trust Frank, every word of his, I just do, even though we’re not at all close like that. Plus, he says that my poems — on the contrary — hit with a hard punch. “They just . . . they cut right into you like…
At the corner of Rue de la Commune and Rue Saint Jean-Baptiste, we sat out on the patio of a pub, that hot Augusta afternoon, enjoying cool pitchers of juicy red wine sangria. On one side, behind us, there was a long street mottled with cars and horse-drawn calèches tramping by, and on the other, right in front, were flocks of tourists sauntering and moseying up and down the sidewalks, peaking their fascinated heads every which way, speaking in gaggled tongues. Scott and I were a little beat from the flight and having to fight through the mob at customs…
The realization of Mr. Donahue’s impending presidency began to set in personally for Christopher months and months before the election ever occurred. While drinking and discussing the usual sort of politics in the local bar up the street from his house, he was aloof, gulping down the third round of whiskey shots and pale ales of the night. Three of his best chums were seated up at the bar beside and around him roaring all up and down about the current climate of things. …
This world has ended. Isn’t that always the case? Benny says that’s the flippant beauty of existence. Chopping and pushing together three dinosaur-tail-size lines, inside a brown vintage cigar box, he turns his head back and asks, “What’s more beautiful than that, huh?” I shrug and shake my head in drowsy ignorance. “Think about it,” he says. “We go from order, chaos, death, then boom . . . a goddamn rebirth, right back into order. Bro — there is nothing more savage, nothing more beautiful than that!”
Like a gentleman, Benny passes the cigar box back to me along with…
Lying dead drunk
in the Southern grass
the waning breath of this City
comes and sits beside me,
“You are a fool,
but you are true
I try to tell her off,
to black out
into a hopeful
From How to Moan Like an Ogre
Available in paperback and Kindle ebook
Copyright © 2019 by H. Jean-Baptiste
H. Jean-Baptiste is a Haitian-American writer who once met Charlie Day after taking a piss at a Bartaco.