I met plenty of ill cats while I was completing my master’s work. However, among the illest writers/personalities I met was this cat Samaha.
He’s blessed us at IKH with something of a short essay about the beginnings of June, and the stirrings of summer just before the melt of those powerful, sun-shiny days. Read it, and then read it again. Follow this guy’s work, because you’ll remember his name, and he’s only getting better.
Read his author archive at the RiverFront Times in ST. LOUIS.: http://goo.gl/e23Rv
@AlbertSamaha on Twitter
An Ode to Summer
The heat tends to make people go mad. Something about the sensation of a crisp white tee pasting against your flesh, a ball cap getting soggy against your forehead brings out that part of the brain reserved for Samurai warriors in battle and defensive tackles on fourth and short. Anybody who’s read Camus’ “The Stranger” or watched “Do the Right Thing” knows this, knows the crazed things man does when the sun bears down on him. Here in St. Louis we’ve already had a girl smack a crow bar across another girl’s face, caught on camera phone and posted on World Star Hip-Hop.
The people are already hot. According to a recent Newsweek/Daily Beast poll, nearly a third of Americans are angry and almost half are at least “upset.” We have a right to be, of course. College debts and gas price rise, home prices fall, jobs remain scarce and the Wall Street bankers whom the people bailed out are making more money than they ever had before. So the summer comes at a bad time.
We’re pissed off on all sides. The Right is angry that we have a Socialist Kenyan Non-Citizen President, that jobs are outsourced, that the government doesn’t care about the people. The Left is upset that The Right believes we have a Socialist Kenyan Non-Citizen President, that the rich get richer while services for the poor are cut, that Sarah Palin says things like, “Even Piper was able to grasp the significance of being in the presence of our first President– who had such diverse interests– when she told me later ‘how hard he must have worked to keep that farm going!’”
With the summer comes The Circus. Rich old men grinding their crotches on hotel chamber maids, dick pictures on politicians’ twitter feeds and an endless loop of adultery by famous leaders. America has been absurd for a while. Riots in the 1930s, witch hunts in the ‘50s, Chicago in 1968, Watergate in ’74, crack babies in the ‘80s, the Patriot Act in ’01. Only now we can’t shake the madness. The Circus doesn’t leave town. It pounds us from all angles– our smartphones and our news channels and our social networking sites. And the anger builds, fueled by the madness and the discourse that accompanies it.
Both the world and the rhetoric are getting hotter. The racists and homophobes and Islamophobes and chauvinists and greed-mongers, the crazies, seem to speak for the masses, when all we, the masses, want to do is stay out of the heat, find a cool shady place to exchange ideas and drink Sam Adams Summer Ale. All we want are jobs and schools and health.
In the middle of the hottest day ever recorded in St. Louis, a young man in a red polo, blue jeans and black snap-back hat pushes a long line of orange shopping carts across a Home Depot parking lot. He weaves them around moving cars. He is drenched in sweat. He pushes the carts past the automatic doors, into the air conditioned building and locks them into the row of carts already there. Then he walks back outside, into the heat, to corral more carts. He doesn’t seem to be going mad. Perhaps it is because he has a job. Or perhaps it is because there is hope even though the summer has just begun.