from NOISE, 11/9/16: The Morning After

Posted by Bruce Gelfand | July 5, 2020 | Work

Dear God: My stomach hurts and I am afraid.

To lose my health insurance. To lose my love for people. To lose my faith in America.

I get it – we’re a flawed bunch. We get frightened and greedy and do stupid and terrible things to each other in name of justice and love and, well, in the name of You…But I don’t believe in retribution and punishment, regardless of what that crusty old bad-good book says. (I’m a writer. I know what absolutely cannot be summed up and contained in a book – and that’s You.)

And being my God,  an infinitely smart, infinitely loving God,  I trust that You don’t take seriously all that good-bad-shame-blame-original-sin-we’re-all-shit-and-going-to-hell-crap either.

But there’s an opportunity here – an old way to let go of, a new way to be open for and grow into, a chance to refine the gift You gave us in this time and place and make all our connections  stronger, deeper, sweeter.

Today was to be the day the DTs ended, the day our National Nightmare was over and Lonesome Roads got out of our lives forever.

In fact, it’s the day it begins. Not in earnest – in anything BUT earnest. In confusion, in bewilderment, a trauma has fallen over the land that is too tired to sleep and too disgusted to speak.

Donald Trump has just been elected president of the United States. How is that possible?

Donald Trump has just been elected president of the United States. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

Somewhere Roy Cohn, Bill Buckley, and George Steinbrenner are drinking Yamazaki (120k Scotch) and playing ‘steal the old man’s bundle’. They’re all cheating. Norman Mailer’s dealing the cards and wearing a wire. Don King’s shining shoes in the men’s room. 

This is the Twilight Zone, The Truman Show. This is a coup d’etat happening in slow motion right before our eyes. This is the War of the Worlds and our world has lost.  This is some kind of Ancient Virus with dramatic license that has snuck out of the books, slipped off the stages, broken free of all the big and little screens and devices, a living snorting avatar made of our cheapest shots, worst fears, meanest spirits.

And it has landed, fully formed in the morning sun, right smack in the middle of Times Square.

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Dear God:  This body…I am lost inside this body. I bang around like a pin-ball among the areas that hurt, like a cursor on a frozen screen trying to get in, trying to summon the Chi, if not the reason, to actually get something done today.

What is Hillary Clinton doing this morning? Saying thank you and goodbye, I spoze.  And taking a long long coma-nap. 

Rest well, Hil. You can take off that smile now. You know – the one you developed when you had to power through all that humiliating shit with Bill. There’s no place to get to today. Or tomorrow. The work isn’t finished but the job is over and little by little the cameras will turn away. You weren’t even remotely perfect, but some times you were excellent and often very good and it’s impossible not to appreciate and admire the way you keep showing up.

How odd that one of her closest friends/lieutenants, her ‘second daughter’ Huma – is that woman who is married/now estranged to Anthony (I wish I had an Oscar Mayer) Weiner.  Like Hillary, Huma is brainy, nerdy, trapped in a sacred vow with a man who sincerely wishes to make a difference in the world, but who keeps wankering that wish. God knows, every man needs his sparky validated; not every man is controlled and willing to be destroyed by it. 

I wonder if they talk about this, Hil and Huma – late at night when it’s quiet. Or if it’s just understood.

Neither woman looks like they’ve been kissed full on the mouth in a very long time.

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Dear God: The best defense is a good offense. Shoot first – don’t answer questions later. This is how Trump operated during the campaign, I’m sure this is how he runs his business and I’m afraid this is how he’ll be president.

I can’t help thinking there’s way more here – way more by and about him that, if it came out, would be instant grounds for impeachment. Even by a Republican Congress. Trump is not someone who plays by the rules. Ever.

He’s driven by ego. By will. He’s the little engine nobody ever believed could—and he’s gonna show those fuckers by any means necessary. He’s smart the way a Hollywood agent is – cunning, low to the ground, Fagin in a Brioni suit. But brilliant he is not – brilliance has light in it. There’s plenty of lighting – and 24hr surveillance – but there’s no radiance in the crown of Donald Trump. 

Not much heart either. It’s in there somewhere – hidden in a shoebox in the back of the vault next to a sled named Rosebud.

This man is a boy, a frightened little boy who needed to hear it once, just once from his father – and so invented The Donald and built an empire where it wouldn’t matter anymore. “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/A stately pleasure dome decree…”

This guy is a 7 year-old in front of a TV set, Big Mac, fries, and a coke for dinner, wondering when his parents will be home. 

He talks the God talk but he doesn’t even remotely presence it – neither in form nor content. He’s a businessman, a deal-maker – the glad-hand yes of a salesman on the inhale, the big chill no of a hitman the moment you let go.

George Bailey killed himself.

And Clarence never came.

Potter bought Bedford Falls

Renamed it The American Dream.

Did you see Trump on election-night when he came out onstage to accept his victory? Yes, it’s the middle of the night and we’re all exhausted, but LOOK IN HIS EYES: he is shell-shocked. In his heart of hearts – wherever that is – he never once believed he would ever win. There’s a campaign, a contest, a game – the little engine could and did and now all you haters can go fuck yourselves!

But now he’s got to be president. FUCK. Hate when that happens.

Someone driven so completely by ego and will, driven to disprove a negative rather than affirm a positive has got to have lots and lots of enabling, and the money to buy it – flunkies, groupies, pharmaceuticals.

Beware of Jared Kushner. I have no idea what Trump’s medical history is but he’s 70, overweight, pasty as pizza dough – he looks like the love-child of the Michelin Man and a Sara Lee Banana Cake.

I can see Trump stroking out or dropping dead in the White House sooner rather than later, at which point dear old Mike Pence, who looks like my 7th grade shop teacher, dear old Mike Pence who makes Gerald Ford look like Mick Jagger – dear old Mike Pence ascends to the presidency like Bambi staring down an 18-wheeler on a icy road on the darkest night of the year.

But if you look closely, perched on dear old Mike’s right shoulder, whispering instructions in his ear, is Jared. Married to Ivanka.

The New Iago. And never has a man been so perfectly cast. 

So yes…Goliath has arrived. He’s got a tower full of consiglieres and caterwaulers to consult him, a cadre of Gozillas and Luca Abrazzis leading the way. They are bowling down Broadway like a snow ball down a mountain in hell. By the time they reach Washington they’ll be an Accepted Reality with an army of laminated  MBAs fanning that Ancient Virus over the earth like a finely misted room freshener.

Soon it will be in the water, in the earth, in our bloodstream—it will bring this inspired dream to its knees.

We will develop anti-bodies, somewhere down the line a vaccine and the body politic of America will adapt and somehow, some way be stronger for it.

But right now my stomach hurts and I am afraid. Please, God:

Open up my heart more

Teach me how to love what’s missing

Tell me what my life is for

Insist I listen