rambling

Reasons For This Co-Star Experiment

As you may have noticed, I’ve been cribbing lines from my daily Co-Star readings … advice … whatever you want to call the “personalized” Co-Star pronouncements you get each day. A few weeks ago I opened my Co-Star app and I realized that all the headings for the day flowed fairly well, and I thought, whoa, Co-Star is writing poetry to me. So I decided I’d try to keep a near-daily journal of my Co-Star headings.

This was both a good and a bad idea. It was good because it showcased just how creative the Co-Star folks can be; there are days when their writing does read really smoothly. However, I may have done the poor writers a disservice: I stole their lines, and I cut out the meat of their daily pronouncements. The thing about that app is that each heading is just that, a heading; there’s usually another sentence or two, sometimes even a whole paragraph, that details the heading’s importance. I cut out all that substance and just used the general gist of each day’s advice. Really, the failure of this tiny experiment is on me, and not the creatives behind the app itself.

The other not-so-perfect thing about a daily-use app like Co-Star is that, eventually, you see all there is to see; a lot of days blend together, and their readings and pronouncements start to repeat themselves. It’s just the nature of day-to-day life, right? Sometimes we get stuck on certain problems, or we repeat particular behaviors, and Co-Star’s repeated readings reflect our own repetitive lives. That was a lot of arrs, matey. Bad pirate joke aside, I don’t fault Co-Star for giving me the same advice every now and again; it’s just that, if I’m going to compile a few handfuls of their readings, I’m going to wind up doing similar stuff, day in and day out. And they’re not my words. So I feel a little disingenuous when I post them.

All that being said, I’m going to stop my Co-Star posting for a while. If I get a daily reading that knocks my socks off, I’ll probably post it. To be frank, I think I’ve forgotten what my own creativity looks like. What it sounds like, what it feels like … so I turned to other people for help. I’d like to return to my own skin. Look forward to my rebirth, and thanks for sticking with me.

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Poetry

A Smattering of Thoughts

I would have –
I could have –
Maybe –
I can still be –
a good dad.

“That ship has sailed.”
Where does that phrase come from?

Note to self: if you’re gonna talk shit, talk shit quietly.
Or just, don’t be mean.

ALL THESE YEARS, THE SAME REFRAIN.
What does it take, to make a songbird,
not a mockery?

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Poetry

Waking Dreams

Long had I dreamed
of sconces, candelabras blazing,
flames crackling
(whether in a fireplace or a public space I do not know),
fish gasping,
people writhing and moaning,
the terror of ecstasy,
adulation and ululation,
women undulating and slithering over me,
beautiful,
each bite a balm,
their balmy caresses,
whispered confessions of lust,
the small sigh of dropped clothes,
the nose knows the place so we dive in,
each leg a monument spread to reveal the oasis,
my tongue laps greedily,
I drink her up,
I want her soul,
long had I dreamed
of creaming so many pies,
this half-joke only half amuses,
and now I wake
to solitude.

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rambling

Contortion for Cash

Last week I answered a call that I never wanted to answer again. The name on this metaphoric caller ID? Capitalism.

To be frank, the last six months have taken something out of me. I got a pretty hefty paycheck in the middle of January, thanks to my working ridiculous hours during the holidays, and things were looking good. Then I contracted COVID-19, and I sat in my room for two weeks, and I made no money. My chunk of change was shrinking, but I went back to work in the beginning of February. Sadly, I let things go from there. Despite avoiding food delivery the first two years of the pandemic, I obsessed over DoorDash after I suffered COVID; maybe I just didn’t want to get the virus again, or maybe I didn’t want to expend any more effort than I needed to in order to get food.

So instead of expending effort, I expended money. A lot of it.

I’ve written about my struggles with DoorDash, and I think it’s no lie to say that I was legitimately addicted to the service for a few months. My money was running out faster and faster, when BAM – my tax return came through right before March. I’d also contracted myself out as a dog-watcher for the parents of a friend, and they paid quite well. With the tax return and the dog-watching money combined, I had a big-ass chunk of change just sitting in my bank account. At least, I would have had a big-ass chunk of change, only …

I bought a used car right before the dog-watching gig.

And I kept ordering Doordash.

And I really like this very particular gacha game.

So my bank account experienced all manner of ups and downs throughout the spring. I always managed to keep myself afloat, but the summer has pushed me closer to the red than I like to be. Within the past three months, I’ve traveled to two weddings, and while that may not sound expensive to some people, for a part-time worker like myself, two distant weddings can add up. I pride myself on my ability to withstand a certain amount of financial whiplash, but the last wedding almost pushed me down to overdraft territory.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m hung up on the weddings for some reason, but my troubles go beyond two fun-yet-pricy adventures. I’m making car payments, and paying a little more for car insurance than I used to, and I had to register the damn car, and I hate – hate hate hate – working more than twenty hours a week. Call me what you will, but I’m firmly of the belief that human beings can’t stay productive beyond the four or five-hour mark; if a person works longer than that, their brain gets mushy and they can’t focus very well. Researchers keep concluding, despite the late-stage capitalist machine, that we’re not made to push ourselves to some ridiculous “full-time” work schedule. I’ve adopted some radical beliefs: I believe everyone should work no more than twenty hours a week, and I think the “work week” should only be four days long. That’s four days of work, five hours a day, for twenty hours total.

I realize all sorts of problems crop up at this point, mostly because, within the current culture and system we’ve created/allowed to continue, no one makes enough money to survive on just twenty hours a week. Well, some people do, but they’re the exceptions to shitty capitalist rules.

I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but these shitty conditions are exactly where the powers-that-be want us workers to be. Struggling, barely able to survive, holding onto whatever job(s) add up to forty or more working hours a week, and feeling too tired and messed up to go out and enjoy what little free time we have. This reasoning is why I try my damnedest to avoid working more than twenty hours a week – but oh, my bank account!

As I said in the beginning of this ramble, I answered the frightening call of capitalism. I was talking with my supervisor last week, before she left on vacation, and she mentioned the work that would carry our team to the end of the year. She said she’d need someone building some new stuff, forty hours a week. I said “Hey, you know that’s kinda my area, I could build our new stuff full-time.”

She looked at me funny, because she knows how I feel about coercive capitalist tactics. She knows I don’t actually want to work forty hours a week. And I was screaming at myself internally, because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work forty hours a week …

But I said I would. So I started practicing: eight hours a day, for a few days. Just to remember what it’s like. By the time my weekend was over, I was still tired and fucked up. My time to rest felt so short. I went in on Monday, managed to stay relatively busy for eight hours, then returned home to crash. I slept in on Tuesday (yesterday), and, feeling a little ill, I texted my co-worker to let her know I wouldn’t make it in. I took it easy yesterday, but I still managed to stay up really late, and I slept in again today (Wednesday). Despite feeling mostly recovered, I decided to stay home again. The bulk of the stuff I need to finish by the end of the week won’t actually happen until Thursday and Friday anyway, so I can get away with my loose approach here.

And that’s my beautiful struggle: I’m a big fan of making things up as I go along, working only when I feel like it, and taking a lot of time to rest and recharge. I’m privileged that I can usually afford to do so, and this new push to work “full-time” is some half-assed attempt to fit myself into the mold that capitalism forces on us.

I hate the capitalist mold. But I did the math, and if I can manage to increase my hours from twenty to thirty-two a week, I’ll have so much extra money.

And despite the coercion inherent in capitalism, I gotta survive and enjoy myself in the shitty process. So for now, I’ll take the damn money. I’ll seethe at the system all the while, and think of ways around it, but I’ll work for that money too.

Fuck. Who have I become?

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