There is One Mark You Cannot Beat

Christiaan Tonnis ~ William S. Burroughs / Video / Laserprint / 2006

This is a story about the machine.

When you ain’t got nothinn, you got somethinn. You got you exactly as you are. You got love and fire, passion and desire, untainted, untouched, virgin, unspoiled by what comes after.

When you a virgin you got that. You got that thanng no one else has had. You got that thanng you can give once. And you know this. So it builds. It becomes everything. It becomes all you have in this world because you are all there is.

And you give it, you give it with everything you got because all you have is you, and your dreams. You got dreams, right. Dreams of what is and what could be, born of pure and innocent heart, of never knowing anything other than the depths of your soul plumbed for this moment riighh here. This moment to give, to share, to become, to be in this world, on this earth, in this life, this time around.

And you give it. You give it with everything you got. Cause you know, you know you got this, this is your shot. So you give it, and then you give it some more, and you keep on givinn until you can give no more.

Who is to say who gets lucky? Cause luck isn’t what happens, it is how you maintain.

But let’s just say you get IT. That dream you dreamed has finally come true. And it surprises you in that way you always knew you were somebody — you just didn’t know other people knew too. So you’re kinda humbled and shocked but also kinda happy and rocked cause you know You, you know what you put in to get to the here and now of it all.

Thas what no one knows, thas what no one could ever know. Not the blood tears and sweat, not the sleepless nights, fears and regrets. Not what it cost and what you lost and the sacrifices it took. Not the passion and the pride and the power manifest when you claim whas yours.


Ahh. See now. It ain’t eva yours so long as there is anyone else involved. If you lucky, it will be ours, but it might become theirs sho nuff. Cause virgins are, well, naïve. There’s a lot of trust in your heart cause trust is believing other people feel the same.


You don’t know. You have no idea. No one eva does. No one eva knows what kindsa people run the machine, why they run the machine rather than live out their dreams like you and me. You know no child has ever answered the question, What do you want to be when you grow up? with the words, I wanna be a cog.

But they do. Become cogs, jockeying for position while causing, well, clogs. Clogs, drains, alla that. The machine is a machine which means, it is gonna break. Break down, break you, break me, break apart, break your dreams, break your sweet succulent innocent heart. The smart ones are dancinn on the break, you know, them b-boys and b-girls with the headspins and backspins to keep themselves in check.

But maybe if you lucky, you will learn to maintain. You will learn it is a machine and you’ll look to preserve your (integrity) (sanity) (innocence) (name). Maybe you got that, maybe you are that one, the golden virgin with brains and restraint. Or maybe you like me, thinkinn, now you experienced. You somebody. You got that. What? What! WHUT!

It goes on like this. It goes on and on until you’ve had enough. But when does it get to be enough is enough? Do you gotta get on your Donna Summer an be reborn?

Sho nuff. Everyone got they thang. And it makes you wonder, yea, it makes me wonder. We know this is a machine. A machine designed to turn us into a dairy cow (heated vegan alert). Take us out of our natural rhythm, in a constant state of mass productivity, draining our life’s essence to make dollars for just who now?

But even if you get it. Even if you get tha cash. Is that what this is about. Is that why we are here. To be whored out.

I’m sayinn. What kinda writer hires a writer to write for them? Dig, we know Warhol wasn’t paintinn nothinn for most of his career, which is why no one ever calls him a, umm, painter. He was a conceptual artist. What he produced was ideas, not artifacts, though undoubtedly, he had that OCD need to hoard crap.

But most of us ain’t gonn reach the stage of conceptual artist, meaning we aren’t gonna be able to have other people produce our work for us. Or. Perhaps we are, we just won’t tell you. We’ll take the praise and the hate and run smoke and mirrors thinking we beat the machine because we lost our soul.

But wait. Wait! Can you beat the machine? To beat it, wouldn’t you have you blow it up. Why does that sentence set my heart aflame. Bougie fuckinn revolutionary, c’est moi.

(First Published: August 2012, Brooklyn, NY)

Like what you read? Give Miss Rosen a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.