A Hate/Love Letter to Florida

Everyone has an opinion about Florida, home to voter fraud and bath-salt zombie cannibals. The scotched earth where Donald Trump hides from his humanity, despite the sunshine state’s rich multiculturalism. I survived Florida and that’s why I thought I’d try something different this month and share this automatic-writing piece I scribbled in a bizarro workshop. Peer into the subconscious mind of a Floridian. Hopefully, it doesn’t burn too much.

I just want to run. Hide. Quiver. Escape. Scrape myself out of myself with a hot spoon.

Molten. Magmatic and metallic, until I’m only chemicals. Let me die a chemtrail leading blind vultures into the River Styx. Where the fuck is this path leading anyway?

Fuck you, Florida. You’re a cunt. A rotten, festering, predator. A stinking, polluted pit of dead souls and soulless husks, bank accounts with too many zeros and not enough. A blister on America’s ass filled with rancid puss that leaks plastic surgery and too much animal fat.

You fed the pigs your mother. You killed your babies. You ate your lover. You smoked crack in the 80s. You are neon itself.

You’re the bruised and dying, and the dead move to you in hope of more life, but it’s really just warmer.

You are the demons on Earth.

You’re shaped like a gun and a dick, and you bang the fuck outta reality with your astronomical mortgages and even higher HIV-positive rates.

You are the conflict between beauty and the sublime. My nightmares come from your womb. My daydreams come from your sunbeams. Your canal juice fills my blood with lily pads and algae and tadpoles, with luminescent alligator eyes at night under flashlights.

Your fists fly for no reason, because the heat pisses everybody off. That’s why you have so many drive-bys and daylight murders.

Sidewalk art and chalk paintings will build community, but so does hardcore pornography and cocaine.

You are the capital of underage sex crimes.

You are where Daisy Dukes go to die.

The state you’re in is a perpetual death rattle.

When I see you, the real you, I want to drink bleach. I want to shake my ass. I want Miami bass to quake my soul into seven million pieces.

Let the Bermuda Triangle take me to space. I give it my arms. She can take my flesh. I want her to rip my bones apart and cut my skin with fabric sheers, then fasten my gruesome bits into sacred drums to call her legion of predatory darkness to enter the Everglades, visibly and with pride. Have her children march through the swaps, a hurricane behind them with winds that reach 180 miles per hour. Topple houses. Tear off roofs. Dislocate more families. Discredit more cultures. Discriminate against basic human rights.

Turn oppression on itself, oh children of the swamp, and fucking eat the rich raw! Feast on their gristle—their fat, luxurious consumerism. Devour their estates in flame and flood. Pierce their family crests with draconian cruelty and the rage only a hungry reptile can execute. Massacre their minds with nightmares of hardship and loss.

Stomp on their genitals. Bite their dicks and slice their pussies.

Let them breed stillborns until they die.

This is their own dreamt up revenge. This is their own fear. They disgust themselves, and this is just a mirror. No one forced them to fuck people over so fuck them, right? Right. Write. OK.

This is not me, or you, but it is us in the cultural sense. In the words of my favorite living poet, “We’re fucked. We got fucked. They fucked us.” But don’t blame it on Florida. It’s not her fault. She was a catalyst for a darkness that is a result of cultural oppression and destruction. Violent crime and hard drugs are a reaction to the ruling elite and class divide. It’s a defense against socioeconomic disadvantages and social stratification. It’s complicated. Not the best choice, but all too often the only choice.

It’s too damn hot. Imagine the sewers. In summer, it’s worse. And all that shit they allow in the tap water now—how is it even legal to allow chemicals in water!

But the Spanish moss hangs in the wind like a Greek god seduces his next rape victim.

I once knew this dude, Nick, who overdosed on pills and booze, but before he died, he lived in the apartment of a killer. His father owned the building. I used to live next door, but that was years earlier. Anyway. A killer lived there. Well, a meth addict gone bonkers. This was on Lake Avenue in Lake Worth, FL, my hometown, about a ten-minute walk from the Atlantic Ocean. Anyway. The meth dude killed a girl and slept with the body in the apartment for a week before he drove her to Boynton Beach and dumped her body in a 50-gallon barrel in the parking lot of some strip mall. Nick lived in the apt after. Rumor has it, he ate the food in the fridge, kept all the furniture and dishes and bedding and everything. He didn’t even have the room detailed. That’s Florida. At least a snapshot of it.

But it’s also beautiful. I miss the texture of sea grape and sitting beneath Banyan trees, their giant roots sprawled from branches and reaching into the earth like some big secret handshake. The wood storks that are almost as tall as me begging for bacon outside of Denny’s. Dancing until 5 a.m. Swimming in the warm ocean with fish you can see, the colors never fail to amaze. The roar of mother ocean and her breeze against your skin. The generosity of strangers. Large blades of grass against your bare feet. Starfruit trees. Mango trees. Hibiscus. Oranges. Grapefruit. Honeysuckles. Lizards scampering on the sidewalk. Riding bikes for days. Warm rain. Alleyways. Flea markets. Honesty. People who say what they mean. Arthur Rimbaud poetry in the middle school library. Jim Morrison poetry in the middle school library. Polar Cups were these flavored crushed ice drinks you could get in lemon or watermelon; the latter was superior. That sweet, slushy drink embodied the joys of Florida.

But it could be ruined instantly if you were enjoying your ice-cold watermelon Polar Cup while planting marigolds in your front yard after a hard day of fourth grade just to look up and see the pasty wang of a middle-aged pedophile flop past while pedaling a bike toward the major street your house is near.

Yes. That fucking happened. I had to identify him later. Yes, really.

This piece appeared in Exotic Magazine, March 2017.

 

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