The DMZ of Love

Buford Youthward

I walk along the transit tracks, razor ribbon gleaming in the sun, realizing the best playgrounds are always war zones. The DMZ of love is littered with sentiment and whispers, evil mementos for the present. Gray stones shift underfoot as I spit in the wind, daydreaming of future times.

The city is always an out of reach image. The beauty that nature and man have mastered is in creating spectacles that disappear upon entry. The majesty of the skyline fades into insouciance from the base of the mountain or the foot of the skyscraper. We may be humbled from a distance but we are ignorant at the roots.

I stand mid-peak, the casual observer, the past performer always on the prowl for a future gig. Remnants of forgotten warriors riddle my path. Ghost tags provide the hidden history, the real history of experience. The train rumbles past as jack rabbits scurry about.

There are instances that no camera can capture, no microphone can know, no journalist can interrupt. When there's nothing to report, there's truth in the qualm. The agenda of any headline is to try and shape collective filters at the expense of personal corruption.

To be numb or not to be numb is the question. The risk is more than emotional welfare, it's more a matter of emotional warfare. After all the clichés, ego is to instinct as civilization is to nature. That's the message scratched upon the rooftops of the world.

We are slaves to the vision of our ancestors, where there is shame, there is life. The shame of the playground is in the miscalculating bully who wages war with stones thinking the other kids will not better the bully's challenge.

In the quest to compete, gains are a given. Mankind is not bent on discovering the new more than outdoing the other. You can wrap it up in banners, bake it in the oven or stake it to maternal yearnings, but the knowledge of good and evil is within us. We are our greatest slaves, our worst masters. Our progress is designed to cycle.

Perhaps graffiti is a gift, making us aware of all that we know and all that we wish we didn't know.

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