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4th of July / François Bereaud

It’s the fucking 4th of July and I’m on my bike at night which makes me feels like I’m 8 rather than 58 and going super fast even though I’m not and the wind is cold even though it’s summer and I’m not wearing anything reflective and I don’t want to get killed by some asshole who's had one too many or who looks at his phone as if anything is there, and I ride by the park and it’s jammed, families with wagons and kids and left over BBQ, and a man walks with a woman and talks down to her and I want to stop and slap him, and the sound of fireworks is just about to start but I don’t give a fuck cuz what is there to celebrate in this godforsaken country where two old white men jockey to be president and I hate one but also don’t like the other and we support another fucking white man halfway across the globe who thinks it’s okay to kill children and I pedal faster so I don’t slap the man near me in lieu of the men I really want to slap and then the park fades and it's dark and I know I shouldn’t  be here on my bike and I startle a young couple jaywalking and see a headlight from behind and I think “go ahead and hit me motherfucker” but of course I don’t mean that because I want my life, I love my life, I have a family, half are far away and I miss them and my daughter is here but at the fair selling funnel cake, how American is that, and in the car on the way she painted her fingernails red white and blue and got some on the window but I didn’t say anything and I wondered if her girlfriend did matching colors cuz they’re first love and so fucking cute together and her girlfriend also works at the fair but at another booth and when I picked them up the other day she told me an old man was creepy and she’s not even my kid but I wanted to go back in time and hit him because that’s the worst but even worse is that the old man who might be president again is a pedophile and how the fuck can anyone vote for him and I hate that so much so fuck the 4th of July and fuck the fireworks I’m hearing as I type this diatribe having safely made it home on my bike but not before seeing my neighbor drive next to me and wonder what the hell I was doing in the dark with no lights on and I couldn’t scream and tell him how fucked up it all is cuz there’s also beauty and earlier today, I saw my family, not blood family, but family from far away, and they’re so beautiful and they probably love this country because somehow they got in as refugees and they have jobs, and pay taxes and own a car, and it’s the American dream and I brought them some gifts and four year old Elisa looked at the tag on her dress and saw a white girl and said she wasn’t white and I said that was true but that the dress would look great on her and she said I was white and I should wear it and I said it wouldn’t fit so she put it on and it did look great on her and I wondered if our country had already given her this fucked up conception of race and what that meant and she’s smart and I’m convinced she can read even though she told me she couldn’t and she’s who I want to lead our future, and my neighbor who’s a good man who was in the military for 20 years and so maybe loves this country too but also hates the pedophile running for president was bringing home his dog because Chewy who they rescued from the streets of Tijuana couldn’t deal with the fireworks and it’s a shitty night to be a dog as well as an American.

San Diego 7/4/24

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