Listen To Me


“I don’t believe in death. It won’t exist by the time we get there.”-Strawberry-maned young website founder on how technology will save the human race

A gerbil-like 14-year-old is splayed out in a cross atop a wooden railroad track. Mute after hours of wailing, she squints and grips the rungs.

She tossed her backpack to the surrounding beanstalk grass shoots: No more.

When running only strands you deeper in the forest’s bowels, halt. When crying prompts eye rolls and clampdowns, fall. Fall back in your uniform sweatpants and make authority pay for its blind hold.

Finally, something to own.

“Maddie!” perturbed women buzz around her.

Her witnesses are paid to slide her into a “pancake” under the tarp between them at night for safe keeping. To order her up shoddy trails, to dole her instant oatmeal and to scrutinize her feet for diseases.

To usher her towards psychological clarity.

Her mother sits home, watching the news in Baltimore, scratching through her savings. $30,000 for 8 weeks in the woods.

Her witnesses fail to pry her stiff small body off the wooden rungs. But it’s summer, so they take a break from their feet, roll up their sleeves, and work on their tans.

Elsewhere in the world, a star-glassed saxophonist with rainbow dreads is serenading a subway car with “Ring Around the Rosy.”

He’s used up three-fourths of his life, two-thirds if he’s lucky, and now he’s a broke lone soul. Thank God his mother made him do the school band.

A song lands 50 cents in his bucket.

The train comes hooting hungrily down the line, as if a person weren’t the driver.

No one knows when it should stop.


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