There are days like today when the living ain’t easy. I sit in the back of the store, break room slash stockroom, waiting for things I cannot name. Boxes stacked to the ceiling holding gadgets to keep us entertained, fluorescent lights hum as the clock ticks away each second of my life for minimum wage. I won’t be dishonest, a dollar more than the minimum. I am still a slave without chains. But the mental and spiritual shackles are hard and cold, holding me firm to an invisible wall deep inside invisible catacombs. There is no cask here, but I am bricked in, by this culture, and it is wild and oppressive and no longer free. I want to melt coins, burn Franklins and Washingtons to ash, mix them together to create magic wands to cast out demons and cast spells to bind the creation of capitalism. Forever.

The bulbs continue to buzz, the microwave hums, warming food that belongs to the one invading my break space. She is tall and pencil thin, hair dyed Smurf blue, voice like Rosie Perez. She doesn’t know that I want to save her from this place, this back room, cold and lonely, not fit for life. We are here because the melting and burning has not yet begun. Instead of a war cry to usher in the next revolution, she waits for the beep, so her radiated meal can soothe her. She eats away her minimum wage, unconcerned with the fact that she will live and die in a stockroom, somewhere on this continent, making less than the patriarchy that owns her life and lives well off her lack. Her Smurf blue hair will have turned gray and white, her back low and knees pained, but she can’t stop because cat food is expensive these days and she needs to eat.

The light dims and flickers. A toilet flushes in the distance. Footsteps trace their way back to the front to greet an uneventful life, bloodied with microwave dinners, worn shoes, unpaid light bills and a life-dance without music.

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