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Simultaneous - text


So, the first time I saw him was at the annual city festival at the end of the plaza on, uh, Punker Hill; also known as the Island of Misfits. Um, it’s like a mound of black leather and Army surplus jackets and boots, and spiky egg-white hairdos and Mohawks, and second-generation Exploited and Minor Threat and Sex Pistols patches and stuff. Basically a haven for the misunderstood punk-y, rock-y, goth-y, woe-is-me types.

And uh, and there he was, like, right in the middle of it all. Um, oversize foam yellow cowboy hat, and pink plastic Toys ‘R Us pistols, and a holster. Off-white dashiki, uh, shirt and tattered bell bottom jeans. Leathered feet. Raleigh cigarette finger stains. And he was an island within an island and I just kind of had to know more.

So, I, uh, I sat with him for hours to try and get a bearing on his beautiful insanity. Every third inquiry was met with, you know, an eloquent but unusual response, and, you know, the subsequent exchange, it kind of warranted continuing the conversation cause he was, he was interesting. Of course the other two-thirds of my efforts were dismissed while he took in the constant flow of the festival crowd all around us: the raging river of multi-cultural music, art, food, families. All of this with his Walkman at full volume.

I think it was Foreigner playing through the headphones. And I asked “Maybe, you know, maybe you can turn that down so we can talk?” and he replied, “Can you hear me?” and I said “Yes”, and he said “Well, then it’s fine.” He never really pretended-not once-to be able to organize all this chaos that was going on around us. He just unapologetically chose which pieces to focus on.

Well, you know, after a few hours we seemed to have kind of found our stride, found our rhythm. Kinda settled into it and we’re having these intermittent conversations, flipping back and forth between the chaos and the focus. And then just kinda out of nowhere, he seemed to become a little unsettled and disturbed, and I asked him what was wrong, and he just blurted out “Peanut, Paris and syrup” and then he looked at me like I would know what that means. And then he said, “you have any… do you have any batteries?” So basically his, his Walkman was running out of power and he just needed batteries.

So before I could even turn and ask one of our fellow punkers for some double-A’s, he grabbed my face with both hands, and then for the first time in the entire conversation he gave me his complete focus and attention-completely present-and calmly said, “We will never know world peace until three people can simultaneously look each other straight in the eye.”

Should the oceans rise
Should the sky come falling down
Should the islands tremble beneath us
See our better nature blossom

Should the sun rain fire
Should Hell on Earth freeze over
And our enemies wait hungry
See our better nature feed them

Should the sun rain fire
Should Hell on Earth freeze over
When our enemies wait hungry
See our better nature feed and calm them

Find a way through, around or over (x7)

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