Night of the Grove: Our Meat and Steel


I’ve been thinking too much about what they did to the Grove. They owned it, and I understand they though it was for the best, for their best interest. But what interest did it serve the folks who already lived there?

I was only four years old then, well before the changes. My family soon moved to Philomath, so we had left the park while it was in its purest state. My memories of Sonoma Grove, though good, are slim and hinge mostly on stories and old photographs.

I know, Bruce, be like water. I should just flow forward and let it go. Only the place holds a place bigger in my mind because it dwells not were pictorial remembrances are shelved, but where feelings float free, giving out details truer than thought.

The fence we climbed, to run in the field we saw, all so tactile even now. The bales of hay, stacked like ancient monuments, became a play ground better than any intended for such. Those days of sun scream beneath my skin not in pictures, not in words, but in pure fresh blood.

Bruce, back then your posters and magazines guided me and taught me strength from virtue. They showed me the need for exercise of both mind and body. Only this is going to get rough now. The sun is far gone. The hay bales, long since settled to dust. Even your strong, kite-like shoulder blades may not be enough to carry us. Your posters are all rolled up in tubes somewhere I’ve forgotten.

Read further, Bruce, without judgement; I know my words will cut against your natural grain. The waters have dried up, and I can only be like I am.

Earlier today, I smiled at an empty car—too eager for reaction to my actions. I’m too hopeful of ping-back from every slight head turn or reflection of light. But trust me, Bruce, steel doesn’t eat meat for survival, it does so for vengeance.

Cars are dreary caskets, too heavy and empty and damp. The pure elements inside are angry about their forced conjoining into a state so alien. They want now to break us humans into our essential pieces, and return us to an inorganic state. My eager, one-way smile says I want this change too.

Essential Elements, please help me help you to deform us all. Return we to the dirt, through a perfect catalytic collision of meat and steel.

Have you ever disemboweled a friend or lover? Have you ever seen the truest beauty of this beast, broken? It’s a fitting dessert, Bruce, for relatives of the sky. Blood and wafer. Basket of tears. The Grove was taken over by singular business sensibilities. The very inhuman, human idea that business concerns like profit, identity, and liquidity can be held wholly separate from the consequences of individual business owners’ actions in a complex living environment.

Sonoma Grove was a place of people living with and for other people. A group with one backyard where the outside world spun almost unnoticed. The new owners, like detached space travelers from a corporate-minded planet arriving on a new world, saw the park not as a vibrant, established community, but as a profitable venture for themselves.

And that has made all the difference. “We’re just trying to run a business and make money for our families.”

Backyards, comfortably placed between fences, never fully understand life on the street. Their view is an innocent one. It’s of the child. It’s of the dreamy, youthful anticipation that sees beyond surrounding reality into the multiverse of what should be.

Bruce, I must rip you from my mind and get on with what’s most important. The remaking of our world. Break it down, to build it up. Disjoint this false conjoining of business with culture. Return we to dirt.

P.K. Ripper

K. Shawn Edgar | Urban Honey Badger | Goth Newt | Limbed Poet

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