A Poem

Sometimes you have to jump out of the plane
It's the opposite of what they train you to do

Everything is designed to keep you in the plane

You're strapped in tight, the door is locked and barred, and every move toward jumping out trips a dozen shrieking alarms
And the wind is wild and howling and rabid, clutching and groping at you like an animal

And the ground spins dizzy below you, and the empty sky yawns hungry around you, and there's no one here to tell you you're doing the right thing

But you still have to jump from the plane
Maybe you've calculated the risks and they are high, very high indeed

Maybe you know the time to jump was long ago, and it's now almost too late

The plane has already descended to just a few thousand feet

There's no getting out of this without pain
You won't have time to safely clear the plane's wake before pulling the ripcord, not enough to slow your descent

You'll still be dropping like a stone when you hit the ground with a rattling crunch

You could die of exposure, in an open field, both legs broken, in agony
The time to jump was when the plane hit its cruising altitude an hour ago

When you were only on your way and not about to arrive

When you were still trying to tell yourself the plane's course could still be changed
The time to make the right choice was long before that, before the plane took off

You could have never boarded, you could have kept your feet planted firmly on the ground, safe and sound

And whatever seemed so bad about where you were before, you wouldn't have to jump now
But it doesn't matter

None of that matters

The past can't be changed and in the present you are here and even though it becomes a worse and worse choice with every second that passes jumping RIGHT NOW is still the only choice, it has always been the only choice
Because you know where the plane is going

You know what's going to happen when you land

You know who's flying it - deep down you've always known

And if they fail at their goal it's a guarantee of a horrible death by fire

And if they succeed, a life that's even worse
So you have to decide

And it's ultimately no decision at all

You learn who you are, when the plane is about to land

The same unconscious pulley strings that maneuvered you onto the plane in the first place undid your straps, popped the hatch, are leaning you into the wind
The adrenaline rushing through you burns like acid through rusted metal, you might crack, you might burst, you might die here and now, at the very end, simply from fear

But you will not turn back

You will not return to your post and complete your mission
That last step is a killer

Taking it will take all the strength you have

You may have nothing left afterwards, maybe not even enough to pop your chute

Maybe this is just suicide

And maybe if you live, it'll be a broken half-life, a death rattle, a decades-long sigh of regret
But you only learn some things, really know them, when the plane is about to land

And in this moment, teetering on the edge of the void, waiting to fall into gravity's cruel embrace, you know one thing
Not who you are, oh no

That lonely quest has only ever turned up dead ends

That's the kind of nonsense that got you on the plane in the first place

No, you're pretty sure, whenever you die, you won't know that

Maybe you're nobody, nothing, that's all you ever were
But you know what you ARE NOT

You are not one of them

You do not belong here

You are not going where the plane is going

And if there are only two choices, inside the plane or outside the plane, then there's no choice at all
So you close your eyes

You grit your teeth

You say a prayer or whisper a goodbye or hum a childhood lullaby

You clutch the ripcord and you clench every muscle you can find and you breathe as deep and slow as you can
Maybe you take a slow, dignified step over the threshold

Maybe you charge out screaming bravado and rage

Maybe, like a coward, you fall forward in a slow faint, limp and passive, letting the wind make the decision for you
It doesn't matter

No one is here to see

The result is the same

It only matters that you do it

So go

Now

Every hesitation makes it worse, and yet in the end it doesn't matter how long you waited to do it so long as you still do
I don't know what's waiting for you when you jump

A miraculous recovery without a scratch, perhaps, and a long and happy life thereafter

Or a hell of shattered limbs, severed nerves, scars and blood and aches and twinge, sleepless nights of chronic pain and awful dreams
Medals, honors, ribbons, a cheering crowd and a consensus of historians honoring your courage

Or ignominy, hatred, spit and piss running down the lonely gravestone of a traitor and a coward

Or no gravestone at all, a body eaten by buzzards and flies leaving no name behind
I don't know

You can't know

All of that is for later

Maybe it will end in an instant, too soon to notice, and all of this wondering will be for naught
But you DO know

You know where that plane is going

That's all there is to know

And no matter what, when the plane lands, you won't be on it

That's all that matters

That's all you need to know

That's all the peace I can give you

That's all the peace you need
Take my hand, if you need it

Imagine me here with you

Imagine anything you need to imagine

Imagine everyone you love, gathered in a circle, waiting for you to touch down, welcoming you back to earth, to safety

Imagine everything will, somehow, be all right
And then

Shut up and get over yourself and FUCKING LET GO
Sometimes

you

have

to

jump

out

of

the

plane

• • •

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More from @arthur_affect

21 Jan
"Mainstream" evangelicalism is always teetering on the edge of falling into some kind of cult movement -- local or global, big or small -- at any given moment

People outside have no fucking idea how common this actually is and people inside are disturbingly numb to it
Still remember listening to music with friends in high school who were like "Ah yeah I used to have a whole Metallica collection on vinyl before we burned it all in that bonfire three years ago"

Like that's just... a thing that happens, like bad weather
Sometimes you get in a car accident, sometimes an electrical fire breaks out in your house, sometimes a traveling preacher comes through and gets everyone all hyped up about how they need to purge all secular culture from their lives to get right with God

You get used to it
Read 6 tweets
18 Jan
Dad under investigation from the FBI for insurrection threatens his own children with a gun to try to keep them from turning him in

Gets turned in
Okay so the whole "children informing on parents" stuff has become a right-wing outrage meme, and I gotta say

If you intend to call on bonds of loyalty and love to keep yourself out of trouble, you also need to not threaten lethal violence

You don't get to use both approaches
Like, I think you *shouldn't* threaten to kill your kids in general, because that's, you know, bad karma

But while some abusive dads may have completely normalized this kind of relationship with their kids, *springing* the death threats on them in a panic is just bad tactics
Read 7 tweets
18 Jan
"Meaning" and "community" are extremely loaded terms, especially because a ton of the essence of fash ideology is bashing other people's definition of meaning and community as fake/degenerate/pathetic/childish/effeminate/gross/weird/stupid
The red-light districts of Weimar Berlin WERE a nexus of meaning and community, and the Nazis tore it all up and burned it all down because it was the WRONG KIND of meaning and community
Of course the world sucks and people are unhappy

What I am deeply suspicious of is arguments that everyone is less happy than they would've been in the Good Old Days, and gosh if we want people to be happy we should import some of those Good Old Days values into modern times
Read 5 tweets
16 Jan
Yeah I want to be clear I do not think this in and of itself was a valid justification for picking Biden in the primary

But hoooooly shit how stirred up would these people be if it were Harris actually becoming President -- or Warren, or Sanders
That old joke about the old Jewish guy reading Nazi newspapers because "In these papers we're always winning" resonates with me a lot these days

I get my hope from blackpilled Pepes whining about how "Joe Biden's presidency will irreversibly put us on the path to socialism"
"Sleepy Joe is just a figurehead! He's a puppet for that foreign agent KaMAla, who only pretended to be a law-and-order DA until she could get the chance to put her Marxist professor father's ideas into action!"

Yeah, that's it baby, you know just what to say, keep going
Read 4 tweets
14 Jan
I had a thread once about how if you listen to the lyrics of the song "Day-O" they're a horribly depressing description of a truly horrible job

Which means that associating it with tourists on vacation at a resort is kind of wildly perverse
(The song is from the POV of dock workers loading the bananas for shipping, hence the subtitle "The Banana Boat Song"

So it's not technically a "sea shanty" but it's shanty-adjacent)
Seriously, one of the verses of the song is about how when you're exhausted at the end of your shift and tipsy because you've had a little nip to take the edge off is the perfect time for a tarantula to ambush you
Read 5 tweets
14 Jan
I'm sitting here weighing the idea that you could get rid of a lot of what's toxic about the word "working-class" (as well as misleading, hypocritical, inconsistent, etc.) in ordinary discourse by just committing to saying "poor" instead
Yes I know that in Marxist theory etc. it has a specific meaning

I'm saying that meaning has been so messed up by the way people use it and bicker over it that outside of an academic context, "poor" works much better
It's just really grating hearing about "the working class" to refer to people who own giant ranch houses and huge pickup trucks and a whole arsenal and so forth, and who turn out to own businesses and have employees

Over and over and over again
Read 7 tweets

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