Shaved Legs and All: LGBT Pogrom

Christmas on the Corner - By Mizeta Moon 

I’d been sleeping on the streets of San Francisco for about a year. The injury that caused my inability to work was healing but I still had a way to go. Like most of the other homeless, I pushed a shopping cart around and scrounged for cans and bottles to provide the most basic needs. At that time there weren’t big groups camping together like you see today. Two or three was common as there are few open areas in that city other than parks. Camping in them was a big no no, and patrols enforced that rule nightly. I wasn’t out there by choice and wasn’t suffering any type of mental health or addiction issue. It was always my intention to heal my body and get back to work as soon as possible. I stayed by myself, didn’t associate, didn’t panhandle with a begging sign, or steal. Most days I sat quietly reading a book when I wasn’t pawing through garbage cans for recyclables. I stood in line for meals from the soup kitchens and said please and thank you for what was given. The money I earned went toward showers at a local spa, beer, of course, keeping my clothes neat and clean, and toiletries. I wasn’t going to let the street beat me down. 

My standoffishness led to problems with a bunch of old drunks who clustered on Haight Street and panhandled for beer money. I liked going to Haight because someone would usually be passing a joint around and I could get a toke. Anyway, they would harass me, claiming it was their turf. Since I usually wandered the avenues and avoided the homeless haunts it wasn’t that big a deal. On Christmas eve I was sitting on the steps of a bank and the generosity of the residents led to people just walking up and handing me food, money, toothpaste, etc. People were often kind to me spontaneously since I didn’t ask for anything and they could tell I didn’t belong out there. It was Christmas morning that one of the funniest moments of that time in my life occurred. 

I hit Haight street just after dawn, as I knew the drunks would be sprawled on the sidewalk sleeping it off. They were prone to keep banker’s hours. Anyway, about fifty feet away from them I saw a huge pile of beer and wine boxes and garbage bags stacked on the sidewalk. Hustling over, I planned to grab all the bottles and scoot. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the leftovers from a huge party. I scooped up nearly a hundred full beers, about twenty five bottles of wine, some champagne and one bottle of whiskey. There was a lot of unopened food as well. Constantly looking to see that none of the assholes were stirring, I loaded my cart with it all and quietly rolled away. It was so heavy that I knew I hadn’t the strength to go very far, so I crossed over to the opposite side and made for Golden Gate park, happy that part of the street is flat. For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop breaking out laughing at having plundered a treasure those guys would have found had they woke before me. I sat at the entrance to the park all day, handing out beer and wine to passersby. It was a jolly Christmas to say the least. I saved enough for myself to eat well and drink for a couple days, then went back to my regular routine. 

I eventually healed enough to work at the recycling center instead of being a client. From there my life moved along and led me to where I am today. The reason I’m sharing this story is to show that even in the bleakest times one can set goals, maintain their dignity, and constantly strive to do better. This year has been hard on everyone, but I stayed focused, upbeat, and shared the love in every way I could. As a result of that focus I published my eighth book just before Thanksgiving and have been the recipient of a lot of love in return. I sincerely thank all of you for your comments and support. None of what I’ve accomplished would be possible without a lot of wonderful people in my life. I hope you are all warm and well and haven’t let the darkness shroud your light. This time will pass and everyone will have a remember-when story. 

Uh oh! - By Mizeta Moon 

Living on the edge can lead to waking up in bed with a stranger, having a severe hangover, and wondering where your panties got to. Not to mention concerns about whether protection was used and if you drove drunk. Or, if not, where is my car? Seeing a used condom wrapper on the floor when getting up to pee reveals one answer but leads to another question. Was the sex any good? 

By living on the edge I mean going to bars and nightclubs alone and having no concerns about trying new drugs, drinks, or people. Running hard every night of the week after work. Staggering through another boring day at the office while the boss keeps trying to get in your pants. Hoping he doesn’t fire you for lack of interest in him or the job. 

This time, I knew I was in trouble when I tried to get up and couldn’t because a chain was wrapped around my whole body. Uh oh! Had I entered the lair of a serial killer and would be complicit in my death? Looking around for a bed partner, I discovered that I was in my own bed and alone. What in the world? Before I could speculate, the door opened, and my mom walked in, carrying a plate of pancakes. If there’s anything that can make me gag it’s the smell of those odious gut bombs. Especially if they’re swimming in Mrs. Butterworth’s. 

Ignoring my instant rage and discomfort, my mom smiled sweetly, then said, “There you are sleepy head. It’s about time you woke up, Wouldn’t want your breakfast getting cold, would we?” 

“What the hell is this about?” I screamed. “And get that crap out of here or I’ll puke.” 

Mom smiled indulgently before placing the offensive plate on my nightstand. “Now, now, dear. No need to speak to me that way. I’m only looking out for my little girl.” 

“By chaining me up and forcing me to eat Bisquick? What are you up to? Is this another of your little schemes to reform me? You should know better than that by now.” 

Mom pouted for a moment. “It’s just that I worry about you. Staying out all night. Sleeping with strangers. I hardly know you anymore. Didn’t Sunday School teach you anything?” 

“Yeah,” I replied contemptuously. “It taught me that Reverend Jopner had dirty hands and loved to pull my panties down in the storeroom. Unchain me now and I won’t press charges.” 

Mom got her indignant look on immediately. “You should be ashamed of yourself for such blasphemy. Reverend Jopner is on his way here now so we can pray for your redemption together.” 

At that point I started bucking and squirming so hard that the newel post she’d wrapped the chain around broke. Using the slack that created, I wriggled until I was free. Mom retreated immediately, knowing I would be too much for her if I turned violent. I would never hit her, but she needn’t know that. Fear is a great equalizer. 

It goes without saying that I flushed the pancakes before hopping in the shower. By the time I was dressed and ready for work, Reverend Jopner and my mother were at my kitchen table with hands joined and heads bowed. There was an intimacy between them that made me wonder if the reverend had pulled my mom’s panties down in the past. Oh my word! I thought. What if he still does? 

“Just so you know,” I said on my way out the door. “I’m having the locks changed this afternoon. Next time you stick your nose into my business I might not be so forgiving.” 

Reverend Jopner smiled sardonically. It was obvious now that he’d be happy to see me go. Hopefully, mom would change the sheets before leaving.

Redemption - By Mizeta Moon 

His decline into alcoholism, drug addiction, and constant self-abuse led to sleeping in an alley. What little he still owned was tattered and torn like the clothes he wore. Unkempt, unloved, unnoticed, he slipped behind the veil of polite society. Where a heart filled with hope once dwelt inside a vital body, despair now oozed from the pores of a walking corpse. His only solace lie in sitting at the bus stop, pretending he had a destination and the means to arrive there. Sometimes, people boarding or exiting the bus offered him money but he wasn’t there to beg. He was there to dream. 

One morning he discovered that a twelve string guitar had been left at the bus stop. It was a beautiful guitar with an ebony fret board, mother of pearl inlays and tuning keys. The strings looked new and were taut, appearing capable of performing in tune at first asking. He was afraid to touch it. If the owner returned for it, he might be accused of theft. Having been jailed before, he had no desire to return. He did stare at it though, and that caused memories of who he used to be to flood his mind. 

He remembered the roar of the crowd. The lights. Sweat running from his brow as he performed. He remembered the sound of his voice as it soared and waned, bringing joy and sorrow in equal measure while he strummed and plucked his guitar strings. The brotherhood he shared with fellow musicians as they toured the world. He remembered the woman who’d broken his heart one too many times. Numbing the pain of her departure with a shot and a beer. 

As the day went on, his desire to touch the guitar strengthened. People came and went, but he and the guitar were the only constant. When no one came to claim it by evening, he succumbed. Though his hands were dirty, the feel of its highly polished surface evoked a thrill they remembered. Tears formed when the first strum spread beauty in every direction. Without further thought, he began to play a song he’d written for her when they were young and in love. Though scratchy from years of hard living, his voice stirred and emitted lyrics he’d thought forgotten. Soon, a gentle breeze carried his long abandoned feelings into the ears and hearts of passersby. They paused, smiled, and swayed as his fingers flew over the strings and his voice grew stronger and sweeter with each passing moment. 

Hours later, a crowd had formed and gone, then formed again. When he finally tired and ceased playing, they drifted away, having witnessed redemption of a previously broken man. One of the last to leave was a woman who held out a beautiful hand-woven guitar strap and asked him to take it. 

“I can’t,” he said. “The guitar isn’t mine.” 

“It is now,” the woman replied. “I could never make it sing like you. I’d planned to hock it, but now I know why I forgot it in my haste to catch the bus.” 

Speechless, he caressed the strap for a moment before attaching it. Staring at her afterward, he said, “You made this didn’t you?” 

“Wear it proudly,” she said. “The world is waiting to hear your voice again.”

Still Life Portrait - By Mizeta Moon 

Still Life Portrait 

By Mizeta Moon 

There is a bench at the edge of the woods where people sit when they want to enjoy a spectacular view. A shimmering lake whose ripples gently touch a sandy shoreline fills the foreground while snow-capped peaks rise in the background. The bench itself was carved from a fallen tree over a century ago and its weathered seat has hosted thousands of visitors. Some visitors were sad and in need of an uplifting panorama. Others sought quiet respite from a noisy world. Some simply needed to rest a moment before traveling on. Photographers and painters often pause there to capture spectacular sunsets and sunrises. Me, I was looking for inspiration that would lead to a new story. Ironically, someone had left a book on the bench when they departed and it captured my attention immediately. 

The book left on the bench was faded and worn. It had obviously been a treasured read throughout its life and I wondered why it was abandoned. Had someone read it, then wanted to pass it along? Was it left by accident? How long had it been there? Should I leave it for someone else to find? What if it rained? Being an author, I would feel guilt for such ruination. While I pondered these questions, my mind suddenly turned in a different direction. I started thinking about how that book came to be. The beginning, rather than the end of its life. 

It stated as an idea, then flowed out of someone onto some form of manuscript. Whomever it was spent time on their labor of love. Write, edit, write, rewrite, edit some more. Like a sculptor, they shaped it into what they wanted it to be. They were probably like me in the way you ask yourself a million questions along the way. Is it scary enough to be classified as horror? If it’s romantic, does it provoke the feelings spawned by love? Is it mysterious enough to be a mystery? What am I really trying to say, and have I said it properly?  When they considered it worthy of being published, they, like me, had to design a cover and develop a plan for its distribution. I know how happy and proud they felt when they first held it in their hands, as I always savor that moment when my idea enters the world as a completed project. Having people enjoy it as they read brings me a pleasure nothing else on earth can. I wondered how many had curled up with this book during its journey to this moment. 

Part of me wanted to pick the book up and thumb through its pages. Another part of me felt that this still life portrait had given me what I was searching for and wanted to leave it untouched. Before I could decide, I heard footsteps on the path through the woods. Moments later, a beautiful young woman emerged from the trees and ran towards me and my silent companions. Her eyes expressed anxiety as she neared me, somewhat out of breath. When she stopped, her delight at seeing the book on the bench was obvious, and I was glad I’d left it alone. When she joyously clutched it to her breast, it verified my belief that some people consider books valuable and would be saddened by their loss. That reading a book forges a relationship between the author and the reader. Her concern for the friend she’d inadvertently left behind inspired me to keep writing stories and sending them into the world, in the hope someone like her will sit by a fire on a rainy day and consider them a worthy companion. 

The price of absolution - By Mizeta Moon 

Hot breath from the hounds of hell seared his nape as he ran from his pursuers. Stumbling, faltering, he feared their victory, for it would ensure the loss of his soul. There was no return from damnation for him. He’d torn limb from limb and tarnished beauty. Forgiveness would require mercy no judge could bestow. As he blindly careened through the wilderness, he could only hope for refuge. He knew he was undeserving, but as long as his heart kept beating, he would seek to survive. 

He hadn’t always been a monster. There’d been a time when he knew peace and embraced tranquility, but those days were gone. Now, he was a killer without the support of a cause. A nomad left adrift by changing ideology. A hero who became dispensable when his services were no longer required. A soldier haunted by nightmares and blood on his hands. 

To soothe torment he’d turned to drugs. Their comfort became agony when he could no longer afford them and stole to acquire them. Their powerful beckoning compelled him to commit heinous acts. Each step leading him to further depravity and erasing his conscience. Now, he was a fugitive from a society that shaped and employed him, then turned him out without concern for what they’d created. The sidewalks were cold. His needs went unfulfilled. No one cared. 

He reverted to the savagery he’d needed to survive the hell of war. That led to slaughtering innocents and his current flight into unknown territory when he’d been identified as an enemy to the life around him. While that definition was true, it didn’t take his programming into consideration. He’d never learned other skills. He’d been taught to kill and was good at his job. He’d nearly abandoned all hope for sanctuary when a path opened up beneath his feet and an eerie light shone through overhanging limbs. Compelled to plunge forward to escape his pursuers, he hadn’t the time to concern himself with where it might lead. 

The path led to a moonlit clearing where an oddly tilted cottage made of dark wood sat on a weed-choked knoll. Fog emanated from it like tendrils of smoke from an abandoned campfire. The eerie light that had illuminated his journey radiated from small windows that were shaped like human eyes. There was a stillness in the air and he could sense something waiting behind the façade. He felt fear for the first time in years. Hearing no footsteps pounding behind him, he approached cautiously, ready to fight if attacked. He was fatigued, thirsty, and starving. He’d been led here and had no choice but to knock on the door. No one came, but the door opened. Stepping inside, he had no idea what fate had in store for him but turning back would only lead to imprisonment and death. 

The air inside the dwelling was musty and warm. There was a slight smell of sulfur laced with the odor of rotting flesh he’d become familiar with through combat. Cautiously moving forward, he entered a room that became brighter as he moved towards its center. The source of the light turned out to be the aura of a wrinkled crone who sat in a willow-branch rocker, slowly rocking as she eyed his approach. When he was several feet away, he could see a pair of dice glowing in her gnarled hands. Her bony fingers caressed them in a loving way. Now that he was close, he could hear her voice softly crooning to the dice. 

“He’s here.” She said, then turned dark eyes to him and proffered the cubes. “Is he ready to gamble for his soul?” 

“What are the rules?” He asked. 

“Beat my roll, and salvation awaits. Lose, and the consequences of your depravity will manifest. Should you choose not to roll, your flight will continue and the outcome determined by chance.” 

“Who rolls first?” he asked, eyeing a table laden with food and wine behind the crone. 

“Why, you, of course. Are you feeling lucky?”   

 

A time for tears - By Mizeta Moon 

The sky looked like a sandstorm was coming, but I knew better. I’d seen plenty of storms while working oil rigs in the middle east and knew that western Oregon couldn’t generate such an event. Knowing that a fire was nearby, I rounded up my horses and trailered them in case we had to evacuate. After doing that, I went inside where my wife Maudie was transferring important documents into the firesafe we bought for such an occasion. For years we’d been living without television and only listened to the radio occasionally. Our days were spent tending our vegetable gardens and gathering eggs to sell at the country store, so we didn’t know how much devastation was occurring statewide. We could only prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 

The smell of smoke grew stronger, then a huge cloud of it came over the ridge and enveloped our property. I could see burning embers settling in the corn field that was still green but could ignite. Maudie looked at me with fear in her eyes and I knew it was time to leave. I grabbed the keys to the truck and put on my hat, then helped her load suitcases into the crew seat. Before driving away, I turned the chickens loose after dumping a bag of feed on the ground. Hopefully, they and our home would be standing upon our return. It was only when we topped the ridge surrounding our little valley that we could see the conflagration sweeping across the land ahead of a strong, steady wind. Maudie clutched my arm and I saw tears forming in her eyes. The wall of flames was headed our way. 

Getting to the road into town was a harrowing experience. When we did manage to outrun the fire, I swerved onto the pavement and kept the gas pedal glued to the floorboard. As we entered our little community of 650 people, I saw a procession of cars heading in the opposite direction. A Sheriff’s car was blocking the road ahead, and an officer was waving a baton to divert traffic toward the freeway. When I idled to a stop next to him and asked what was going on, he told me that several towns had been destroyed and that everyone was taking refuge at the county fairgrounds. We didn’t have anywhere else to go, so I turned around and joined the swarm of refugees. 

I’d shown horses at the fair several times, but those occasions were nothing like what awaited us. Hundreds of campers, RVs and tents filled the parking areas. Later, I would discover that those without shelter were being housed in the livestock barns. A water truck was dispensing life-giving sustenance to a line of people carrying containers of all sizes and types. Concession stands were open and giving away food to those who’d been forced to flee unprepared. I was dismayed at first, but soon realized these were the fortunate ones as tales of missing people and deaths were broadcast by the media. 

Though the circumstances were dire, we had one thing in common. We were Oregonians. Over the next weeks, politics, race and religion ceased to matter. Staying alive and rebuilding became the goal. Sharing what we had or could garner. Maudie and I mucked out toilets and volunteered to cook as emergency rations became available. When the fires subsided and the smoke cleared, we were allowed to go back home, only our house was gone and our property lie incinerated. Maudie cried. I cried. It was a time for tears. As we stood holding hands surveying the devastation, our tears of sadness were suddenly transformed into tears of joy when our rooster emerged from a pile of rubble leading a dozen clucking hens. There would be a tomorrow and life would begin anew. 

Dreaming of Days Gone - By Mizeta Moon 

The TV is down to three channels now. One offers 24-7 bible studies and guest preachers. One is a constant barrage of fake news and indoctrination. The one that pretends to be entertaining is hardly that. Where once I had hundreds of options by pressing a button, now I’m lucky if there’s batteries available for my remote. I stood on a circle today like an obedient servant, but there still wasn’t any coffee. How I miss a good cup of Joe. 

I hated being forced into social isolation. I wanted to walk through a real store and shop. I didn’t want to live virtually without contact and emotional support from friends. It seems that everything we used to enjoy has been deemed sinful and un-American. I wanted to picnic in the park. I wanted to swim with my kids. All such activities were curtailed. Evidently, having fun was a really big no-no. Toiling incessantly for the elite was the only goal a plebe should, and could pursue. Private enterprise was discouraged at first, then quashed for corporate health. 

My big question is WHY? The planet can provide sustenance for every inhabitant. The sun can power us for eons. Incessant wind can be our friend. Is our problem a matter of unequal and unfair distribution of resources? Greedy bastards with a hundred cars when mine hardly stayed on the road. But, constantly fixing it didn’t matter once the roadblocks went up and you couldn’t travel outside a prescribed area that conveniently had services to provide for all your needs. Only, there seems to be a forever shortage of everything. 

I guess I’ll just have to sit here and take the abuse. Protestors are shot, or taken away and tortured. I’m old, so they’d love to get rid of me. Programming the young is easy. Getting old dogs to accept new masters is difficult, so they’d rather bury us in mass graves than allow us to contaminate the world with free thinking. My books got burned because they were filled with emotions. Good, bad, indifferent. Peaks and valleys, twists and turns. Now, we are flat-lined. Living in accordance or facing erasure. 

A woman ahead of me in line today smelled good. Was perfume available and I missed the opportunity to buy some? I guess I should lower my expectations. After all, without the guidance of our leaders there would be nothing at all. That’s what they tell me anyway. But I remember buying black lacy panties instead of stiff white ones. I remember the silky feel of nylons on my skin. I remember shades of lipstick and hundreds of products that fell by the wayside. I remember having a choice. That’s what I miss most of all. Deciding what’s best for me instead of being told what I can have, and do. 

Am I wrong for seeking to remain an individual? Not being a face in a herd? Aspiring to my own dreams instead of being channeled into limited opportunity?  I don’t remember giving anyone permission to thwart my ascendance. Regardless how I feel, who cares? Is there an end to this madness? Do I have to live another hundred years to see a return to reason?      I hope all of you are staying safe and thriving. Love Mizeta

Understanding History - By Mizeta Moon 

People who’ve never taken an interest in history don’t see the pattern. America is about to have its first true encounter with authoritarianism. Lack of freedom. Restricted movement. Denial of goods and services. No free enterprise. Soldiers in the streets. While it’s true we’ve survived wartime rationing, the great depression where thousands starved and died, we have yet to face the wanton disregard of our elected officials for our health, welfare, and safety. Other nations that have existed for thousands of years have been enslaved many times, and have fought valiantly for their freedom, only to lose it again through negligence. Our country is young, spoiled by success, and has no idea how badly its citizens are being played. Driven into stockades and pitted against each other through propaganda. 

Every dictatorship follows a time-worn formula. So far, wholesale slaughter of dissidents hasn’t occurred, but kidnapping protestors and silencing science and intelligence have. We are being force-fed an agenda that is leading to compliance with social isolation and a virtual world that can be constantly manipulated to make us believe that we believe in the lie. Thinking for yourself will not be allowed. Mindless entertainment will flood the airwaves. We will be told that our leaders are wonderful people who love and cherish us while they plunder the coffers and wallow in excess. Meanwhile, commodities will disappear. Small businesses will perish. Art will become disloyal and unfashionable. Throughout history there has been suppression of free will, leading to mindless obedience. Lack of education is the greatest tool of an exploitive regime. Ignorant and hungry people will work their fingers to the bone to survive while their masters sneer at their efforts and tread on them like paving stones. Only when the burden of servitude becomes intolerable do the masses revolt and lop off the head of their exploiter, only to find that they were only a figurehead representing a conspiracy to keep all power and economic opportunity within a small circle of what could be deemed The Chosen by an absentee God. 

I could recite a list of murderers who’ve practiced genocide on their own people, but their names don’t matter. Their journey to supremacy follows the same path. A megalomaniac who can be convinced they are the supreme being on the planet but are actually controlled by those whose purse strings they cling to. Because of their desire to rule, they can be incited to commit horrible acts of cruelty and injustice because they are without conscience. Their self-serving ego allows them to believe in their invulnerability as long as praise and servitude are heaped upon them. When toppled, it is because their drunken misuse of power made them reckless and unaware of the quiet distancing of their supporters. Others thinking they want some of the loot and glory. 

We’ve raped and despoiled the land. Murdered and exploited indigenous peoples to establish an arrogant society based on prejudice and greed instead of husbandry for all living things. Our comeuppance has arrived. While we descend into chaos other societies will continue to flourish due to learning from their mistakes. We’re like a toddler who doesn’t know that sticking a fork in the light socket is unwise. Someday, we may understand that cooperation is required for humanity to survive the volatile nature of the planet we live on. That should we disappear, the monuments we’ve erected will turn to dust or become overgrown. At the moment, there’s no escaping the onslaught from those in charge of our survival as they purge the herd to create more for themselves. Hopefully, we can survive their indoctrination and exploitation to create a society based on mutual respect and admiration. 

As always, I offer you a piece of my heart to experience the love it feels for you. I am you. You are me. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts. Mizeta 

         

Demilitarize - By Mizeta Moon 

Demilitarize, don’t defund 

I grew up in west Texas where cops would kick your ass for running a stop sign, going two miles over the limit, or skipping school. Whining about it only got you more punishment. Judges were considered paragons of virtue and sinners were incarcerated until they repented or died. No mercy was shown by teachers at school and being whipped by a length of  rubber garden hose across the back of your thighs was supposed to instill fear in you and make you a better person. None of their fearmongering and beatings cured me. By the time I was twelve the state of Texas deemed me incorrigible. Incapable of rehabilitation and unworthy of being a productive member of polite society. 

In high school, I was considered the local sissy and an open target for ridicule and continuous beat downs. I quickly learned that being different was not only unacceptable, but subject to dire consequence. Due to the mindset of the people around me, I became a fugitive seeking escape from the world I lived in. Only when I reached adulthood, was I capable of roaming free without the restrictions of bible thumpers, prigs and moralists. Leaving Texas behind was the beginning of a life without constraint. 

For a moment, Haight Ashbury offered the freedom I sought, but the incessant hunger and needs of the revelers soon crushed the idea of a utopian society. Exploiters exploited the weak and naïve. Parasites latched onto those willing to dedicate their souls to a more enlightened society and give without discrimination. Drug addicts and rapists soon populated streets previously relegated to free concerts and love. Even the free box of unwanted clothing became a toilet for those uncaring of sharing with others. In the end, cops prevailed and a brief moment of enlightenment was ground to dust beneath the wheels of indifference. Those who stayed peddled souvenirs of an idea whose time had passed to tourists. 

Decades unwound and the world showed momentary sparks of enlightened brilliance, but the savage nature of man constantly resisted change. I found myself transitioning to an entirely different persona but felt hemmed in by those same moralists who sought to make me be like them or be exterminated. Even with my embedded dislike and disrespect for authority, I realized that without law enforcement the world descends into chaos and thuggery. Nothing is sacred and only those willing to sacrifice the dreams and hopes of others survive. Cops are necessary to maintain some degree of civility in a species that preys on itself. 

These days, I understand the plight of those who’ve suffered the slings and arrows of human interaction. I sympathize with their pain but want to remind them that life on this planet has never been easy or kind. What happiness we find can easily be crushed by outside forces. Now that our country has descended into a state of misinformation, illogical hatred, and factional separation, we run the risk of eliminating our species from an evolving biosphere that will leave us to petrify without the slightest concern while other organisms flourish and gain dominance. 

Recent legislation has given hope of eventual equality to the LGBTQ community but it doesn’t stop haters from hating. It doesn’t disarm those willing to kill them goddamn queers. We need protection from law enforcement or we’ll be hunted down like animals and slaughtered. Defunding and punishing police forces without clear evidence of malfeasance and disregard for their rights as citizens will lead to a state of mind where no one wants to be a cop anymore. That will allow the thugs of this world to dominate and ruin the lives of every-day people. However, demilitarizing police forces is essential to stop the beatings, racial profiling etc. When they show up to a protest in full riot gear and ready to fight, it is inevitable that someone will start one. We seem to have lost the art of negotiation and debate. 

I consider it a sad state of affairs when our elected officials are only concerned with their own needs and have abandoned the pursuit of liberty and justice for all. We voted for them because they promised to serve us and enhance our quality of life, but in that respect they’ve failed badly. Once their lips are attached to the public tit, they suck till it’s dry and leave us to suffer in squalor. Even though I recognize the heroism and good intentions of the majority of them, I still fear cops because they’ve become tools of those who wish me harm. Most of us and them have no idea what we’re fighting about but blindly follow orders. 

Power has been granted to those seeking to abuse it rather than enlisting those intelligent enough to discern the difference between outright thuggery and disdain, loitering without intent, or simple stupidity. Laws need to change. People need to change. Our very existence is on the line. We possess the weapons to destroy our culture but also hold the tools to fine-tune it into a spectacular machine churning out abundance for all. I don’t care if some guy has more cars than he can drive and a trophy wife that will milk him for millions in the divorce. I just don’t want him legislating me into a corner where my broken-down old van and I no longer have the right to use the road. Quit using cops to kill us. I beg you to grant me this simple request. I believe and understand that they are humans with feelings about family and friends, just like me. Does it always have to be an us or them scenario? I’d love to share the world with you. You might not like me wearing a dress but I might think you look crappy in those jeans. I’m not going to say a word about it or shoot you for dressing the way you like. Love forever, Mizeta.          

The Great Die Off - By Mizeta Moon 

I was homeless for years. Slept on the sidewalk, ate from the garbage, cashed in cans to pay for showers, and to wash the few clothes and bedding I owned. This was not by choice but circumstance as I was injured from working seven days a week to survive in SoCal and could barely lift my arms. No agency cared. No one had room for me on their couch or money to feed me. During that time, I traveled alone and refused to become one of the lost. When I stood in line for a free meal I said please and thank you and avoided becoming buddies with those who were there by choice. I was assaulted several times for being a stuck-up snob who didn’t belong to the community of parasites. I kept myself clean, never begged for spare change and avoided criminal behavior. You could often find me sitting in the sun reading a book gleaned from someone’s recycling bin. While waiting for my body to heal I never surrendered my dignity. 

As soon as I was able to resume working, I did so and applied myself diligently to every given task. I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps and a series of fortunate encounters with people who saw my struggle and cared. When the age for retirement arrived, I fell short of the threshold for Social Security benefits and continued working until I’d paid in enough of my earnings to qualify for a meager stipend. These days that check barely pays my rent so I’ve been forced to rely on the Food Stamps program to put food in my mouth. Yes, I could work, but would be penalized for doing so. The greatest advantage I’ve gained by being dirt poor is free access to health care. Without it, my aging process would be an exercise in suffering and pain. 

Now that this administration seeks to disassemble Social Security, deny universal health care, and roll back food programs for the elderly, I and millions of others are being scheduled for the great die off. Evicted from our homes, unable to access medication, and unlike myself, lacking skills to weather life’s storms, the streets will be littered with corpses of people who toiled for years to earn their late life comfort. 

These days patriotism is equated with military service where one goes and kills for their country. What if true patriotism is standing firm at one’s job despite all obstacles? Caring enough to go without sleep to restore power so babies don’t die from freezing temperatures and many other heroic acts. What if the true patriots paid into a system that is now being pillaged by uncaring robber barons who sneer at cries for equality? We’ve been manipulated to bare our fangs to anyone unlike us while our rights and freedoms are stripped away. If asked, most people couldn’t give a good reason for hating others. Their litany has been injected by outside forces and defies logic. 

I probably won’t survive the streets this time due to my need for medications and age but will give it my best effort. No act of tyranny will silence my defiant howl nor break my spirit. Should I die in the gutter, my will to live shall remain unbroken. Meanwhile, I hope for a return to sanity and some semblance of humanism but am prepared to face the fact of an uncaring society. As always, I wish you peace and prosperity. Mizeta