Who goes there
4am you came so quietly
Squeezed (da Shmee)
SILENCE...now smile and let em hear you SCREAM lovely like
Astoryahh, Queens, Just another journal and then some more,more, more until 4am and sore
just what I saw
ON MY WAY HOME
December 11, 2005 -- in a heap picking myself up,
after all these years still under the table,
under the radar
under the gun
shaking it off, shaking it boss.
Maybe the golden ratio keeps me 1.6 inches from your mouth.
Still you may be, a world away, sharky smile showing teeth
Baby says, "Might bite it"
and I clench like kirk, "I want to live, I want to live, "
& see you & me together someway like never before
ever hopeful, dreaming costly, free or priceless
Looking like it could eat me, your mouth, if only it would.
January 03, 2005 -- Beneath the rain
I hide this dream.
Where poet words play
On words & pray
Yes I prey
This rain should never stop
Unclench my hand
Here hides my sex
Where in my mind
I lie still I lie
Beneath you again
And still lay still
Again this rain
August 02, 2004 --
Because beams of light came crashing through the bowing branches of the great trees
Some hand of god
slight of hand
out of sight
Curled up in the Catskills
This pile of poets
Lovers of language and hard workingwords.
Sacred full on sounds.
I cry over coffee with clenched fist
to Shiv, “Bring me the heart of Ira Cohen”
So we wander and come back where we started,
Tracing circles around storytellers.
Hours and lives later; Ira calls us still to his table
Where he reads to Peter Langford Wilson from his wellworn littleleather book.
FilledFull on dreams.
To beckon he cries unfair balance of oozing sexual advantage.
Allen Midget beside us, Ira dubs;
“the lemon not yet fully squeezed” and you Joe Lane exuding “salty vapors”
Lovers of laughter and rumor, this terse tiny town is talking.
And it was still raining
Sparkling, dewy shiny light
Catching on eyelashes type
Out of sight
Remember when you went pounding through the stars in south america
Because the pooling reflections along this stretch of Pacific
Brought the stars to the sand
Where beneath the happiest feet on earth climbed the heavens
So you ran to meet them.
July 24, 2004 -- All I got was this mirror, just a mirror somewhatextraordinary
and it was small but really kinda big in they way they are
or can be, when you least expect it.
This mirror, You know, I looked at it and I could see my self. Your like, wow a reflection in a mirror, how bizarre, deepbizarre but you know the who I saw was & wasn't me,
not me now me, when me was you, or some such other truelive dream.
Sparkling. Stark. Shadowy. Dark.
Because this mirror, you see it was all broken. Delicately broken,. Perfect little imperfections. And deliriously sharp. Infections. Reflected.
I’ve got that lou reeds, velvets song droning dreamy nico, telling me,
I'll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don't know
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you're home
When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you
I find it hard to believe you don't know
The beauty that you are
But if you don't let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won't be afraid
When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you
I'll be your mirror
I'll be your mirror
May 12, 2003 -- He was face down on the bar by the time I got to him. I poured him a beer anyway. He’d called for one nearly twenty minutes ago when he walked in, but I was busy at the other end of the bar. It was close to closing and the regulars were in their feeding frenzy phase just before last call. He had already walked past me by the time I looked up. I watched him from behind as he pulled off his motorcycle helmet. His dark wavy hair poured onto his shoulders in what seemed like slow motion, like a shampoo commercial. I laughed out loud at myself, nearly choking, feeling ridiculous at the spinning excitement that was moving up from beneath my stomach and catching in my throat.
Dressed in all in black leather, tight biker gear, he walked with a swagger. I hadn’t seen him in The Joint before, this much I knew.
I poked him with a drink stirrer and his head rolled softly to the side,revealing skin that appeared to be made out of gold. I was amazed by his hands. They looked strong and soft, possessing a most magical quality, far more than the sum of their parts. Transfixed I watched as they gently pulled his helmet in towards his chest, cradling it, protecting it, like a small animal.
I touched him again with the stick, this time more of a caress along his cheek. He growled. Not a threatening noise but a throaty primordial core sound, sexy and haunting. It hit me like lightening and I had to grab hold of the bar to steady myself. His lips fell apart and in an instant I saw myself upon him, pulling him into me, madly lapping at his face of honey.
His eyelashes waved and peeled back slowly, revealing perfectly endless deep and dark dream pools. I thought of Frost but felt no chill. So, lovely I longed for woods ‘dark and deep, promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep’ with him. I realized, with some relief I had not devoured, licked or even drooled on him. I was merely leaning, leering, looming over him, uncomfortably close. He smiled and my heart flew foolishly open, hoping he would ride in.
“Good morning” he offered in an accent I couldn’t place, but a place I wanted to go. His voice deep and graveled with sleep.
“I got your beer” was all I could manage as I inched away from his hot intoxicating breath.
“I must have fallen asleep.” He was talking to himself now.
I could hear someone calling for a drink, someone far away, as if under water. I turned towards the sound, and shouted;
“That’s it, well’s dry. Everybody go home.”
My mouth was dry and my own voice sounded strange and far away. Dizzy and shaking, I poured myself a shot and closed my eyes. I tried to assess the situation. Some bizarre chemical reaction was happening; a physical infatuation had come over me, like the flu. That was all.
When turned around to face my infection he was gone.
May 12, 2003 -- I hear my name muffled in breaks between heavy base beats. I turn to spot rolling mirrored sunglasses slow to a stop and shimmer to surface over tinted windows. This Sunday pimp apparent sits in a cloud of smoke, a puff of coke stuffed tight inside a shiny candy apple red Camero. Hidden beneath a mop of loose black curls, wedged in tight with a pile of loose white powder girls (four that I could count, paper thin, may have been more slipped beneath the seats.)
“Do I know you?” I can barely hear myself outside the vibration, this clown car’s insane amplification.
Decibels drop as the beat falls out, ignition off. My head tingles in the sound assault after glow as he pulls off his shades to reveal the unmistakable twilight blue eyes of Georgie. True, some red party streamer streaks stain and detract from those familiar, indeed famous in my mind, gorgeous George’s tragic twilight eyes.
Hadn’t seen him in over a decade but in a flash I was back to a hotter than hell summer day in, oh, say seventy something. Sitting, sweating over strawberry bug juice at a broken down picnic table under the biggest oak tree on the block. Just breathing was work; sucking in mouthfuls of heavy air and watching the crazy heat haze distort the space above the black asphalt. Then like thunder those big skys came crying toward me. Running, Georgie’s torrential eyes, but yeah, that, it started raining too.
He’d come running not to me, but the massive tree, fleeing to shelter from the sudden storm. He seemed surprised to see me there. Most folks were holed up in airconditioning, it was that kind of hot. The rain was some relief and we watched each other for some time without speaking.
I knew Georgie from around the neighborhood. In fact, he lived just across the street. I guess he was about 11 or 12 a few years older than me but small for his age. He hung around with the older kids anyway and rode around on a dirt bike. My mom had warned me to stay away from him, saying his family was nothing but trouble.
Seemed like his uncle always planted under the willow tree down on the corner with a broken leg or arm or both. Most days passed out with a bottle falling out of his good hand. I’d never seen his dad around, but heard he was “in a big house”. His mom had lots of parties. I’d watch people hanging around on their porch, laughing and talking all night long, Georgie right in there with them. It seemed very grown up and fun. My mom would say, “Lights out at eight” and I’d keep staring from my dark window, across summer night skies filled with dancing fireflies.
Georgie looked especially small all hunched over and digging in the mud that was forming at the base of the massive tree. His whole body was shaking like crazy, like he was cold. A ridiculous idea in this summer swelter.
“What’s a matter?” I asked him.
He opened his wet eyes, turning them on me I was caught in a spotlight stare. He shook his head furiously, long black ringlets beat across his face. He bit his bouncing lip so red and softly stammered,
“I…I…was, I was just…”
I leaned in, to hear him better. He grabbed my arm and pulled me down beside him. I flew off the edge of the bench I was perched on. In a movement both awkward and natural, possessed by some strange grace, like a ragdoll, I fell easily into the earth. I wasn’t afraid of him, but I couldn’t keep looking at him, his eyes were on fire and catching. Pulling my gaze from his I looked down at my knees, two potatoes buried in the mud. Holding my wrist his trembling fingers tapped a rhythm marked by the occasional splash of rain.
Now he spoke so fast and quiet, like he was afraid of not getting it all out before someone heard him.
“I was just over on top of the laundramat, chuckin shingles off the roof. I wasn’t hitting no one or nuthin’ just foolin around, but one went and busted one a the windows across the alley. In one of the apartments over there. I hear someone yell, so I jump down real fast and this guy grabs me. This big guy, he grabs me and he don’t let go. Says he’s bringing me to the cops, and I’m in big trouble. So I says c’mon man lemme go, I didn’t do nuthin to you and he goes, okay, I’ll let you go if you do something for me and I say, what and he goes, I need some pictures, and I said no, c’mon I gotta go, and he says, I’m not gonna tell on you but I need the pictures for my job, and he says he’ll give me fifty bucks too. Alright, so I’m like cool. So we go to this garage a few blocks away and he’s got a camera and stuff and he’s takin pictures and then he wants me to…he starts…he tried, I mean he… he just…and then I couldn’t… I couldn’t…I couldn’t get out.”
Georgie stopped talking. His hand around my wrist went limp and his small frame seemed to shrink, deflate. His eyes were closed and he was biting his lip again, his candy colored lips spilling cherry red juice.
My fingers shot to his mouth, landing gently to work his teeth away from his cut and bleeding lip. He opened his torn mouth and let out a noise like a puppy someone kicked.
Then he started crying. Big body breaking crying. He rolled over in the mud, rocked back and forth and kicked at the base of the tree. Saying something I couldn’t make out cause my hand was somehow still in his mouth. He was sort of sucking on my fingers.
I didn’t know what to do. He looked like a little baby to me and while it was a little weird, him sucking on my fingers and all, I felt I couldn’t take it away from him just then. I felt like he must of lost something special.
I took my other hand and put it on top of his head. His hair looked like rope but felt more like a kitty. I leaned over and put my lips on his forehead, like my mom does sometimes to see if I’m sick. I couldn’t tell if he was sick or not, but I thought maybe it’s how you get better. I couldn’t tell if he was getting better, but the rain let up.
We lay under that tree like that till it started getting dark. I may have fallen asleep for a while, I’m not sure. I don’t know what the hell happened there really, but I thought about it for a long time.
He’d been scared, maybe hurt. I wish I could have done more, known more, helped more somehow, said more, but when I looked at him I felt myself go away. His eyes made me dumb.
As the sun set a cool breeze brought some relief from the heat. We silently pulled ourselves from the blanket of moist earth. It began to feel like a dream but for the traces of blood on his lips, my fingers. And there they were, looming larger than life, Georgie’s giant magic hour eyes.
I could hear my mom calling me for dinner. We said nothing and parted ways. As I crossed the street the sky opened up between the apartment buildings, the deep and darkening sky exactly like the broken and bleeding boy I’d left beneath the oak tree.
Back on the curb, feeling those eyes heavy on me again, I try to smile.
With a wink, in a blink he’s gone. I smile, realize maybe its some kind of love I have for this stranger, this thug, this child, this victim, those eyes. Those eyes I see big as the sky always after storms just when the sun goes to sleep. Welling memories in my mind, Georgie’s telling twilight eyes.
May 12, 2003 -- “Filthy little bloodsucker”. I’d somehow made it out of the house and into the car without the usual chorus of protests. A freedom I’d not experienced in almost three years. Mostly it was Charlie, he hated leaving the house and could be very persuasive, threatening and cruel. I started giving them names about a year ago, back when I thought we might be able to be friends. I’d given up all hope of that now.
I don’t know how many there are, 30, 40 a thousand. I stopped counting. They outnumber me, they are me and for some reason, they hate me.
“Kill the filthy little bloodsucking bastard.” This voice was only vaguely familiar and strangely enough, seemed to be coming from within my own head. I knew it must be referring to the mosquito that was bouncing off the windshield. Man, how I hate those things. Once I start itching there’s no stopping it until I bleed. Then someone else will chime in, most likely Kim, she’s the cutter, “You might as well just cut yourself wide open, that’ll stop the stinging. Split it nice and deep, that’ll stop it for good.”
“Get it before it gets you.” There he goes again. Well, whoever he is he’s right, I should kill this thing. It occurred to me that this voice I couldn’t place, this stranger in my head, might possibly be me. It seemed to have my best interest at heart, unlike the others. It was exciting to hear this inner voice, but I couldn’t trust it entirely. Still, I wanted to act fast before someone else decided to deter me from what I knew I must do. As I clenched my left hand into a fist, I heard him again, “What’s the last thing that goes through a bugs mind as it hits the windshield?” “His asshole,” I replied to no one in particular.
In the instant I crushed the tiny bug they descended upon me like a swarm. “Murderer, assassin, murderer assassin.” When they screamed like this, in unison, I called them the Angry Mob. A deafening chant that came from the speakers, the dashboard, the backseat, everywhere, anywhere I was.
I started the car and flew out of the driveway. As if I could outrun them. As if I could leave them all behind.
“Shut up, shut up or I swear to God, I’ll fuckin’ kill you!” I was yelling at the top of my lungs. Being tough was the only was to quiet them down. I learned my lesson there. Kindness is often mistaken for weakness.
“Yeah, you gonna crush me like you did that little bug, you pussy. Come on and try me on for size.” It was Charlie. It was only Charlie. I could handle them one at a time. It’s when they gang up on me that things get out of control. When the Angry Mob comes after me, it’s that wall of noise that pushes me right to the edge.
Now they were still. I savored the silence. In gratitude, I said “Thank you.” Divinely, no one responded.
August 18, 2002 -- Give me my love
the moon my heart and mind blows
away with wind, storms brew beside myself, forgot you were there, right there, just us, this once again, alwaysdance
love all along.
May 18, 2002 -- I'm feeling a little preacher creature crawling
Stealing a calling and "Can I get an Amen".
Did you hear, Jesus is back, he's over in Rome
sends his love.
Or he's buried somewhere in France.
I like the astral dissovle to greater god story best,
old skool take, give it up
One of WE
the how or who to be
I heard John Lennon said "I'm Jesus Christ".
Not the big bad media version, the Beatles bigger than god story
but at a meeting with his bandmates.
And hey why not...
Hey you were like that
when you were 17
I mean you never said it
but you tried
you never lied
Maybe just less cynical then
when we were kids
wondered when the older kids
just gave up on good altogether
Tired, I know, they just stopped trying
I remember thinking then
you were more like Jesus
then anyone I'd met
I don't think I really had belief in god
I asked my mom who or if
Just about a week before she died
she said "He was a Prophet"
I said, Okay
but was he The Son of God?
Wasn't you then was it
who was fair and good then
who can ever approve
when it matters most
who's able to
If a Prophet kicked up the the plate
cried peace and love and tolerance
showed us fools at war
suggested life solution
who would listen
I can't hear anything though all this hate
I can't even hear myself
if you hear something, anything
whispers from the heart
let me know
May 17, 2002 -- Counting days, losing track, losing daze by the sea,
by the sea,
by the wonderful mother my sea.
I stop, jaw drop and watch walking water,
we were like that,
really baby, just like that
light right on water baby
we loved so one heart
struck dumb and drunk,
caught between the river and the highway.
Can you hear oceans away a heart pounding
my memory drinking from you, thinking circles around you,
dancing the music is us
living lives in daydreams
then all we had was now
but now since then
passed or since passed out
and well here I am again and there you are
another star to stardust
And now I can't breathe,
see how you get into me
like I’m the Cyclone at Coney Island
but when we got going that ride wouldn’t stop
baby we just couldn’t stop
that F train just kept coming
swept up in a heaven, kept right on coming
that E train sure knew how to ride through
a sugar soaked sheet
a sweet we’d eat for days
we could be anyanother place
like right here on this beach now,
don't need no cover of darkness
not a fucking tourist man, blood of the land, man,
even the sand said it, or maybe it was the moon whispering
See, even in the desert I could read the writing on the wall
yes i am
and how we expand out to sea
we walk thisthat way together
wayward across amerika
across neverstranger land
where once upon a time clock
you were my everyman, everytime
Jesus and everyright all or some nothing
and everynight like one breath
we were we were
it was God it was
God. I swear, I saw.
The sun blinked and we moved so far from that
space seems wrong.
I know it just is, still its wrong
but just between us,
Let go again.
Hey lover, does any of this sound familiar yet
did you find your place inside me yet. Nestled under this letter Here
hanging from the bottom of this G.
Yeah, you guessed it, that’d be me.
My face is wet
is it raining again
and still I see us
someanyplace in a diner in anotheranytown USA.
me wearing your letterman sweater
ordering hot coa-coa with children instead of marshmellows
And is this fantasy
maybe I say
I've never been happier.
is this memory
is this a dream
like this unreal world
when that Keener boy’s
“acting is the thinking man’s pretending”
laughed so hard I split
like a movie
some that one or this one the sweet life
the lie life
Like Mike's Hornito’s
what’s the limit on this thing
that couldnt be a better truth
where I find love and run away broken &
into comfortable ruin
But I don't
cause we didn't
and we won't
cause here we are
here we aren't after all
May 16, 2002 --
This beach once dusted whitest sand on brownest indian foot.
So I try likewise to step lightly, gentle let lush rush wet washover and over
wash away all, but begging leave gratitude.
Still old tired eyes linger on bottle cap shells kicked out to sea by the
overdone bodybaked crispy tan of another bleachy beachy blonde toupe
topped German tourist, smiling maniacly at my palest white skin, like some
traces of ancient sand, ghostly like that. He unzips lips of leather and
sputteral gutteral oozes out, “First day?” His accordian skin facefolds back
neatly, it could be a smile I’m not sure. To engage I say truthfully, “My
second actually, what gave me away.” He shakes his head, squinting not
sure if he’s blinded by the sun or my whitelightbulbflesh. He jerks his shiny
shriveledblack arm out at me, “A couple of veeks.” I smile and move past
him towards tinny offbeat offkey covers of songs I know and never liked. Its
terrible top 40 standards for the last 40 years at every bar on the beach every
200 feet, I escape earshot only in unsoundsleep. This is what the celebrants
do, what ritual has dissolved into. I watched the sunset from the beach, out
on a peir one night and it was as spectacular as that mother gets, and
brimming with love and thanks just as the last ridge of fire red sinks below
the horizon, many applaud. In an instant I’m Home with the sunworshippers
of Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
April 30, 2002 -- this cat just flipped the fuck out on some kind of platesized eye, digging in a longtooth, half-truth with a twist of lye, staring at the bottom of a bottlecap with blindmind rage sigh. Just driving that cab baby, driving it mad, still driving so why don't this car stop on the top floor no more, why don't this star cop at the back door no mo fo, why don't this bar see you on the floor no more. beat it, ya streetwise curbside, freak, with a sweet steak this aint my ride, my fare my race my place to turn you around and and hold you down until I let go and blow another roll or soul on a dime I dropped long ago.. Hope you dont lose a fight or a finger in that heavyhairtear action you got going on there, say whats that fat ass rat doing chewing on your thumb? Talking 'bout all soothsayer, metaphysic futeristic akashic record player , keeping it real sounds something like ya playing 33 on a 45 bside. Flip it.
Who goes there
March 08, 2002 -- In cyberspace physical limbo. Detached and together...sending, receiving...Put your hands up and step away from your body. Glad you made it. Technology frightens and amazes me, still a wonder, ever evolving, who what where we are. Aren't we?
The following exchange between the mystery person "they" and myself consists of excerpts from a series of email exchanges scattered over a few weeks with someone I do not know.
...Saw the moon on sunday, hanging blazing sun yellow, slung so low I reached up and dream draped it over my eyelids, she did then swing song some starfall lullabye right on into my goldsmeared moontear eye. Right outtasight.
I feel inclined to tell you everything I know about
the art of...
Wait a sec.
Do you have an opinion on "Night of the Hunter?"
Ahhhh...James Mitchem, run children run....unique, rare..and I need to see it to understand...and opinion? no, i know....i know nothing.
Give me your views on the quality of certain papers.
I like texture, when the page seems to drink ink from my pen. I never read an introduction to a book until I've finished reading the book. Analysis and academic interpretations spoil my hunger, interest and open wide eyed experience.
Also, how long was your last fast?
3 days (due to illness more than conscience but I did reap the benefits)
And please, tell me, should I still want to be famous?
I cannot tell you what you should or shouldn't want. Happily I can tell you I do not desire fame or glory at the moment, only that my work be an honest reflection of some truth that I honor. But thought, emotion and experience shift with the wind. These things fame, material desires, vanity...I do not understand, and at times, they come upon me like a plague or like diffused dawning sunshine.
once again...you were saying???
I feel inclined to tell you everything I know about
the art of...
January 30, 2002 --
January 23, 2002 -- dream seam
Mind softly spinning, my grateful heart swelling. Indeed this life has designs all its own.
This soft silver sliver strokes sultry all over. Not any skysmile, of cheshire cat style, I've seen on my own.
Sighs from my eyes moisten me as she steadily grows gorgeousgolden halo.
Passionatly glowing to sights unseen. Or so it seems.
Does the moon look better with seams in it.
Stars tear from my eye, new height in this sky, on sight from the river, have I been here before? Nightlast I ever dared count on. This pounding heart is an ocean. Breeze by electric breath, I dream lay days beside you, drinking only heat. Shy now, moonside reflections dance in water, shimmers of glimmers of everything we are. Just one that once, just one before this. This new formstorm, who knew you then. Never namespace or timeplace, some something much more than a dream.
Does the moon feel better with dreams in it.
4am you came so quietly
December 15, 2001 -- I feel it more then hear you. Not quite real but new. Awake primal memory, moves me by scent. Taste what we are. Wild animal just dreaming. Awaken to my heart, my sex is still screaming. Your coyote eyes ravage me beyond recognition. Drenched again this dawn, linger in the land of make believe. Indeed, lovely, dark and deep.
Squeezed (da Shmee)
December 14, 2001 -- I don't know why I can't seem to fit my eye into this "they" lie, the "them" side. The hurry up and die ride. Don't show up, just grow up, (some model horror says throw up) and decide whats the next best thing you need to buy. Survive the inside. The B side. Sound bite me anyway, come on Sam play it again, Sam I am that I am. Yaweh to go. Way to go-go. Good God, get back to where I once belonged, sang a line of truth in a modern prophets song, suffered not another profits wrong...The me, the we, body with a bit of the the Vasquez Squee, havin' a prissyhissy fit, this missy, unfit, misfit to be tied, like da Bad Brains say it, "I against I" and as such never tried, couldn't git wit dat shit. Apart from the paper world. A Jackie Draper whirrled. Let a story be told outside the billfold. Watch a mystery, whatever it be, unfold. Never bought or sold. Be bold, play a part, and let it start with your heart. Love is real magick, it lives and gives, then grieves and leaves but never lies. Oh me oh my, how much more in store then meets the I.
SILENCE...now smile and let em hear you SCREAM lovely like
November 30, 2001 -- for george
for telling the truth
give it up
living for this tribe
George, the papers say your dead
All these years
they said it was Paul
Ken they say
How could "they" know
brohers and sisters
already less then alive inside
How could they know to skip and laugh
just jump over another bump
merry prankster style
by the way
Chief those machines in the walls
are just in your head.
Or so they said.
beyond this wall
someone is singing a song
telling me a story
yeah yeah, let em in
Loving the life worth living
Thank you, thank you boys
and again, I thank you
Kickin it kids, anti-hero holyhomage from the heart
silly, stupid, simple suess style.
Astoryahh, Queens, Just another journal and then some more,more, more until 4am and sore
November 30, 2001 -- Astoria, here's A story for ya,
This perfect fall has me
Falling. Misty, melty and happyhazy crawling
all day has me lazycrazy
Singing things think of "kittens up a tree, hats and gloves and tooo much in love"laughing into a long day of dreaming.
I heard somewhere its free.
Fallen. Like some silly stupid stage Angel. Call her bad, she's Lucy Fur.
Once she held His favor. Now she knows from flavor. Foolish rhyme in doubletime.
I ratrace run in circles, then catch a leaping leaf,
gold like the sun in greece, set Overfar waters rich with mystical seabeasts.
Then run some more. Its fun. Go fall.
just what I saw
September 11, 2001 -- It was a bit before 9 am and the dog was crying. I buried my head in the pillow and pleaded, "Flapjack, please stop it", but he just wouldn't quit. Chris was already up, reading, writing or drawing something, laying on the couch with an open book as usual. "I don't know why he's whining, I took him out already", Chris assured me. I was grumbling my way down the stairs out of the loftbed when the phone rang. Early morning calls are usually for Chris so I'm suprised when he handed me the phone. It's my dear friend, Gary and he's apologizing for calling so early but, "a plane has flown into the WTC, did you hear anything?" Chris said he heard the plane and then impact but assumed it was a sonic boom. I turn on the TV local stations are out, the cable comes on and I can't believe my eyes. I still don't. All those floors wiped out, that flaming, gaping mouth in the side of the building. You've all seen all the photos, videos. The heaviest media tragedy of our lives. From every angle, in slow motion. So I do what almost everyone downtown in our twisted spectale society did, I grabbed my video camera and headed outside.
People were already standing in the street in front of my house on Greenwich Street. What a horror, what a tragedy. An accident? Do you think it might be a terrorist attack?. It seems impossible, unreal. A woman beside me screams as we see another massive explosion. I didn't see the 2nd plane hit the building, we were on the north side, so at first I thought maybe the gas tank of the first plane had exploded. But it seemed now that the other tower was on fire. People are huddled around cars, listening to the radio. It was another plane. It was big, these aren't fighter planes they are passenger planes. That confirms it. I can see the headlines; America under siege. America under attack. The details slowly come in. Hijacked. This isn't happening. People begin to trickle past my house, the mass of bodies fleeing the neighborhood thickens to a steady flow.
You know the rest of the story, you have your own visually assisted and digitilly manipulated memories to fill in the blanks. On every channell. In photo stills. Are you ready for your close up?
The collapsing tower, deadly debris chasing those who were able to run around buildings like a scene out of Independance Day. Engulfing them. Turing the air black. Pitch black. Take one. Now the cameramen are running for their lives, but did they get the coverage? Take two. Tower one. Please God, someone, tell me this is not happening.
Now the parade of clean suits and stunned secretarys has turned into nothing short of a stream of shellshocked war victims. They are covered in thick dust, bleeding, sobbing. Got their coverage alright. No one wants these 15 minutes. Many are still in shock and refusing assistance, "No, I'm fine, really," My landylady is losing her mind in an effort to be useful, standing in the middle of the street directing traffic, she's urging on an ambulance, she is in the way. The resturant next door is offering water, use of a landline to call loved ones. Cellphones are out, the WTC antenna gone. A little girl of seven who's school was moved from around Chambers, tells me she watched the big building fall down and, "I saw the man flying". Sailing, floating, right out the window. I wonder if she noticed his clothing had been burned off.
This terrifies me the most. A passerby relays in horror how he watched about 50 people jump. "It was haunting, they flew out, arms out, legs spread eagle, soaring." All those innocent people. Passengers in american planes used as weapons. Lost somewhere in a pile of rubble, for what exactly?
Over at St. Vincents Hospital the line to donate blood is so long they ask people to go to the Red Cross and other locations or to return later. There are people assisting those in line, giving out water and bread. Everyone is pitching in, doing what they can. This enthusiatic participation seems to bother Chris. He asks why people need a crisis to realize that we should help one another. I have no answer. I am there because I don't know what else I can do. Along these lines, for the first time, in a long time I pray, because I don't know what else to do.
My president reads me the 23rd Psalm, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Death I shall fear no evil". This funeral Psalm, forgive me Father, I do fear. Terrorists there you go, mission accomplished, I am terrified. This world, our way of life. What we will become?
I stare mindlessly, endlessly, at the television heartbroken , somehow hoping to find reason or an answer. Maybe this time in the 63rd replay of the days horrors, some glimpse of something will be revealed. I have to get away, out of this box. I move off towards the water where the sun is setting over the Hudson River. Glowing red, angry like me, leaving lingering traces bending light around the biggest darkest cloud I've ever seen over NYC, it disappears somewhere into Jersey, where their skyline stares back at me, guilty, because it hasn't changed.
Getting back home after nightfall proves difficult with 2 police officers and one National Guardsman on every corner of my block. "Sorry no ID no access." I circle the block looking for a hole in the fence, but they are solid. Why didn't anyone mention I'd need ID when was leaving. I ask for an escort, I'm just around the corner, you can see me enter from here. That they do and allow me entry. Moments later when I try to pass wearing the complex disguse of Flapjack the dog I am questioned again."No ID no entry". Its the velvet rope of big guns. I suggest they search my dog for a internal bomb. They aren't amused. I notice a fallout shelter sign on a building across the street. Was that there before? Do you smell gas officer? I thought I did. Am I crazy? Do you...Do you smell fear?
A native of the land, born and bled in NYC, our hearts are wrapped around that skyline. Now all the more for what its missing. More than those buildings but the souls of those lost. I haven't the words. My mind is a mess of confusion and pain. My heart seems ready to burst. Call me mad, but I felt something roll through me when those towers went down. Like a bolt of electricity colored with the realization of what was happening to all those people. It was a micro-cosmic flash, in a moment where I thought I would die, I felt them. And then it was gone. They were gone.
I also feel the loss of all those lost at the Pentagon and the people on the flight crashed near Pittsburg. As well as every life lost to the senseless violence that occurs all over the world every single day. I am merely putting down an account of my experience on this terrible day. All these words are running out of me and I feel I can't come close to my feelings, this sadness, emptiness, a world gone wrong. I just don't understand any of it.
I don't want revenge. I don't want a war. I want peace, for all those who are gone and everyone who loved them. I want justice, but personally speaking of my American experience, I don't really know what that is. Something very different from revenge. I want love to be enough. I want us to discover a way to see through all this insanity and adversity. To realize that the human heart could never be capable of dreaming the gruesome horror that was wrought this day upon America, New York City, The World Trade Center. Nevermore.
ON MY WAY HOME
burningman2000 -- Back from burning man and man alive it was a trip, not all peace and love, but thats what I sought to put in my heart, as did many, many others. But then there were those who hung around to boast or gloat, in some strange one upmanship...this their 8th or 5th burningman, I a mere virgin. And then the true revelers such as my pal pogo and there was beautiful ritual magic chants and ecstatic dance to be had by all who wanted any
I burned up a small man of my own, a piece of wood just blew by me at our camp and I carved a man upon it, colored it glitter and gold and infused it with all I wish to purge from my striving soul, all fear and anger, my filthy dirty ego.
A stranger happened by just before I set it a blaze, asked what I was burning and so I explained my effigy, and he asked if he could drop some hate into it and I said hell yeah bring it on, burn it up...it was a glorious fire..Wait, where am I?
Sign sign every where a sign..I saw the writing on the wall, and it read, "Burn your ego".
What was I doing in the middle of the desert with 30,000 other folks (freaks).
Burn it up.Burn it down I was down. I was more than down, I was in it. But the writing wasn't quite on the wall, no real walls to be found in the desert. I was reading the writing on the portosan, and grateful this time not to be ankle deep in human waste. Todays service at this Johnny on the Spot had been outstanding. A few loyal citizens of Black Rock City, Nevada, had taken it upon themselves to make our eliminations just a little more enjoyable. As I waited in line, I was offered a toilet seat liner, baby wipes, water, beer, candy, toilet paper, reading material and various other particulars that seem a luxury in the harsh desert. These items were provided free of any compensation, but many (myself included) returned to replenish their supplies and thank them for a fine toilet experience. Needless to say everyone left the public piss site smiling and that is an extraordinary job well done. Once inside the portosan, I became aware of the accompanying recording, in the style of an announcer from the 50's, a deep male monotone that well suited the situation; "Please remain seated at all times, please keep hands and arms inside the vehicle, please hold onto hats and keys". I was seated, a rare indulgence, taking full advantage of my seat liner, I look up and read "Burn Your Ego" on the portosan door.
Be kind rewind.
Getting there is half the battle Or rather half the fun. We fly to Las Vegas, arriving after midnight and stay overnight in a sleazy hotel. Ah, last showers, last beds. Next morning catch an 11 a.m. flight into Reno. It's cheaper than a direct flight. Once we arrive in Reno we head over to the car rental where I've reserved a car for our trip into Black Rock City, only to find I haven't enough money on my credit card to cover the cost, and my husband, Chris, hasn't a driver's license so we're stuck. Can't help but notice the boys renting a van next to us are heading out to Burning man as well....very much in the spirit of this tribal event we've soon gotten a ride with these boys. Kevin the director and Mike the photographer, our new travel companions are also from New York City. A few stops in Reno, last minutes supplies; thirty gallons of water, mostly non- perishable food and a pink bird pinyata top our shopping cart. A stop at a thrift store gets us some last minute costumes, its near halloween so we are in luck; skeleton outfits, a batman mask, and a coffin add to our supplies. Its dusk when we arrive at the gate, our tickets are taken, and we are greeted into Black Rock City with a warning of potential drug patrols; Ranger danger, and a heartfelt,
We set up camp at 730 and Gut. We're quickly introduced to Mojo Tony, a mystical town cryer of sorts, he's camped just next door in the voodoo shack.. It does smack of home to me.
Tony tells us not to sweat the Ranger K-9 units, though we see no dogs, he says, "They can't smell anything, their noses are packed with playa dust". Poor pooches.
Our first peek around is after nightfall and full of neon and flurescent piping, but many are building away, long into the night. There are giant projections and rave camps. Centercamp sells coffee and juice, the only hard cash exchanged at burningman according to tradition. It is a hugh impressive shelter, couches, pillow, carpets, very lush.
We lay around a spell and watch the beautiful world go by.
Next day we are up early and there is oh so much to see. People continued to arrive all through the day and night and oh what the sun does against the mountains. Incredible light. Everywhere is a fantasic show, its almost overwhelming. Every faction of subculture is represented, along with everything else. You got your hippies, your goths, your ravers, your frat boys, your voyers, exhibitionists, modern primitives, media exploiters and anything else you care to shake a stick at. And they all don't like each other either. An undercurrent of sarcasm and hostility bubbles beneath this collective community. Chris was remarking on how it was a reflection of the world climate, a sign of the times. There just wasn't all this anger at Woodstock. The first one, that is. The one he was at... Not the last one, the one with looting and fires. A different call to burn.
The man we've come to burn (at least myself and many others bent on pagan ritual complete with extastic dance) is being adorned with rope fuses and surrounded by bales of hay..finishing touches. Dust storms are raging, we invent flimsy but stylish masks with scarves and sunglasses. The larger sculptures and installations around the man are being constructed. The over all theme is the body. The head, the vulva, phallis and the anus being most promenent. The head is an impresive 20 foot high three sided face, made of metal, grass, and wood respectivly. We discover a group of folks rigging together an aerodynamic go-cart race car construction of sorts. They are laying down tracks and using bungee cords to propell the car across the desert. The wind picks up and slows down progress a spell. Rangers roll by and prevent any further progress on the bungee car. It is never to be seen again. Chris and I seek shelter from the storm (I'm blind and eating sand) at center camp. The storm is brutal, the worst yet, even the semi-shelter of this massive camp offers little protection. We crawl into a small geodesic dome within the camp for shelter. Inside the dome four people are tripping their faces off as ambiant and sometimes disturbing sounds are piped in.
We lounge until the air outside is breatheable then wait two hours for mochas, this is not a bore nor a chore the wild worlds surrounds and stimulates. We read the Black Rock Gazzette and Piss Clear; the two papers printed at Burningman. I learn from the local news that the head on the playa may do wonderous things. The head made of metal will cry fire and sing heavy metal. The head of grass will cry water and sing opera. The head of wood will cry sand and sings the blues. (We later caught the metal face in action.) Tears of fire. Magnificant.
The Gazette seems straightforward, Piss clear is the alternative rag so they reveal Gazette cover ups and ask "Are frat boys and commercialism ruining burning man"? They may be onto something, but the dust is settling and off we go exploring theme camps.
Theme camps are a softly structured way to hang around with freaks who under any other condition may seem difficult to approach. A door. A way to mingle. Perchance, to tingle.
First we stop at the BRC Post Office. Lots of action here. Some folks getting stamps, ink stamps, on there hands, boobs, where ever. There is a train of the usual suspects so we join the line up. The postal workers seem accuratly disgruntled, and are giving people a general hard time.
We arrive at a window, are given some forms to fill out and sent on our way. Strangly beurocractic and deliciously absurd. The forms require we do service for another theme camp, in order to obtain our green cards.
Our Green Cards will identify us as citizens of Black Rock City thereby exempting us from spectator status. A precious postal officer, Teddy is dressed ever so smartly in officers jacket and he is familiar with Mr. Stein, the rocker. Soon they enjoy a brief fencing match in the midday sun. Never a dull moment. Moving along we dicover the passport office, standing around trying to decide if I want to approach the information table or the humiliation table. We find ourselves chatting up a beautiful indian guy named Two Feather. I must have called him Toothfeather 50 times before Chris corrected me. I thought he said Toothfeather. Well Tooth and Chris and I and a couple of naked folks are plucked off the end of the long line and asked to fillout some more crazy forms and to draw our pictures in our new passports. Chris and I bribe our way through the system with beads and trinkets and are rushed through to see the doctor for our physical examination. The women in front of us had drawn a portrait of her vagina on her passport,so there was some question as to proper verification her identity. After some discussion and closer examination they detirmined it was her allright, her portrait an "uncanny likeness". Well, actually it was a weak drawing (up close her pie was much sweeter than the crude likeness drawn with magic markers on her passport), but after all, she was up on the table with her legs and lips apart, smiling. Lets hear it for that. Yee Haw.
My passport, issued by the ARF deems me "a free global citizen, and is not subject to political, economic, or social boundries." And that's not all, it also states;
"As a citizen of the Artists Republic of Fremont it is your duty to exemplify a code of social conduct which furthers the freedom of artisticexpression; to quetion authority; wage a continuous assault upon the forces which seek to censor us; to be loyal to your own artistic integrity; to stand united against the lies and injustices with which our enemies assail us; to be pure of heart and soul; to lawfully and unlawfully uphold the morals of the anarchists code. de Libertas Quirkus."
Traveling on we encounter another duststorm, they are sudden, sparotic and occasionally brutal, not to mention hot as hell, in search of shelter we stop over at Camp Haiku where I trade a Haiku for a drink, as per their request:
The perfect playa
settles thickly in my nose
where the hell am i
Marching on we pass camp Menstrul Cramp where a bevy of personal feminine products are offered to all. Chris spots Twofeathers bike outside a tent and notes he probably fucking white women. Well, we certainly hope so.
Stick a fork in him, I think he's done. Maybe it was the fencing at high noon in the desert. Chris has had it, so he heads to our camp to rest and refuel. I press on, pulling my shawl tighly about my face to block the onslaught of dust.
Next I stop into Costco; the soulmate trading post to duck out of the storm and check out the soulmate reassingment process. It seems I'm short a soul to offer for trade in so as I prepare to turn and face the extreme elements, the good people of Costco introduce me to a sweet and slight brown boy from California who is also in need of a soul to drop in for exchange. Then Sam and I (no he does not like green eggs and ham, yes, I asked him, sam I am.) He gave me some water and I gave him a "beautiful burner" bracelet I had made that morning. I filled out some more forms, what I liked and disliked. I couldn't think of anything to dislike except ego and anchovies. They asked boy, girl or both; I think I said yes or D) all of the above, but i requested a girl and hoped for the best. They took a video pic and I was on my way back to camp to rehydrate.
A stop in at my favorite Johnny on the spot on my way back. I am a sieve. Those kids are still out there, going strong. Making it a pleasant reststop for all. I take some baby wipes and a seatliner. Ah luxury. I glitter these bathroom attandant boys up this time on my way out. Silver and gold glitter abound. Don't leave home without it.
Gotta get your sparkle desert shine on. Somekind of crazy diamond alright.
A few hours later, Chris and I are out again exploring. Copius amounts of fluid must be comsumed at all times, so where else am I but on line at the portosan AGAIN when my soulmate spotted me. "Barbara", it shrieked and rushed at me. A flutter of chrismon hair, a flicker of white vinal (or was it masking tape)? Suddenly, it was on me, all over me, shouting, "I am Li Lu, I am your soulmate"! Waving a sheet, proof indeed, the one I' d filled out at Costco, complete with my tiny video image on it....How was I spotted? There are 20,000 odd people here.
He/she said my sequined american flag hat was the giveaway. It seemed my soulmate was a drag queen dressed as Li Lu from the film, "the fifth element". Ohhh. That explains everything. Chris comes screamingly swimming out of the portacan and quickly snaps our picture. As we departed, Lilu promised to visit, the form has my cooridinites Umm.. Great. Our current home.
Good ole 730 and Gut.
It begins to rain softly as Lilu leaves us. Chris explains to me how he overheard some people whining that the soulmate exchange service "did everything backwards". He says someone complained they had put down on their form that they disliked german tourists, and can you guess who they were fixed up with... you got it, A GERMAN TOURIST. Suddenly, I had a newfound fondness for the soul trading post. I began hoping our little Lilu would drop by. What was his/her story?
I stop by Costco to pick up my soulmate finder form and lo and behold, MY soulmate is not Lilu. They assign different people to everyone. Bloody Brilliant.
Here it comes. The big rain. Like Travis Bickel says, "Someday the big rains gonna
come and wash all the scum off the street". But here the classless saints and scum reign free on the desert plane. Anything but plain. We pass the portosans during a rather disgusting cleaning process. Chris remarks on the immigrant wage slaves who are probably getting paid fifty cents an hour to literally hose the scum out of the portosan to mingle with the scum in the street. Sand rather. No streets on the playa, unless you count the location grid.
With street names like Head, Brain, Throat, Gut, Anus Knee and Foot, intersected by time intervals. (ie; our address of 730 and Gut, the Garbage Acres, the self proclaimed white trash camp located at 315 and Throat and so on.)
We hightailed it back to camp to seek shelter, and dicover that 20 dollar tents from k mart are not a good idea for anyone ever. Wet, curled and cramped the night creeps by.
Its maybe our third day in the desert, Hurray,
I'm losing track of terrible time, a sunrise spectacular, and Kevin and Mike (of our Reno hitch and current home) have some eggs and bacon cooking like good little campers. Mike seems forever gloomy, Kevin consistantly drunk and cheery. Odd couple. Chris and I can barely stand up straight, so damp and bent was the night. On a lighter, brighter note, a beautiful breakfast is had by all.
Today is cooler and calmer then the past and Chris and I make way over to the pymamid where Pogo invites us to take off our clothes and come on upstairs for sweet shade and comfort. Pogo, my friend from New York, a fantastic free spirit, is looking a splendor in his apeman costume for the upcoming Opera this night. We enter the pyramid, it is a massive and impressive structure. The ground floor trembles with drums and dance. We climb upstairs, strip, and are soon laying about having our tarot read on a rolling homemade deck. Everyone is naked, some are intimate but most are sitting chatting, chanting. Indulgent, soon I'm eating cheese, then chocolate, rare treats in this enviroment. The whole experience feeling deeply sensual but not overwhelmingly sexual. I sit in the small window and let glorious light crawl over me. Oh, so lush. Chris lounges and fills my eyes so lovely. He entertains his own eye, forever the photographer.
Soon I ruin the mood and ask Pogo if he would be interested in checking out some forms so Chris and I can apply for our greencards. He laughs and says, "Sure I'll take a look at your forms". The form requires we do service for the camp. I do a little belly dancing number for Pogo and the tribe. Chris offers his photos he has taken of Pogo, pending development. Pogo eyes him, unsure if he has fullfilled the required service, and marks the paper accordingly. The form also asks, "Was soup consumed"? Pogo writes, "Not Yet". We hung around the pyramid absorbing a bit more magic before turning in our forms to Teddy at the post office. Teddy with a keen eye notes Chris' service discrepancy, and after some discussion and bribes, he is approved. Our passports were stamped, we were issued Green cards reading:
"OFFICIAL BLACK ROCK CITY CITIZEN
This card certifies that the Bearer of this card has successfully attained the Black Rock City (BRC) Immigrations, Nationalization, Socialization Services (INSS) citizenship through the INSS Spontaneous Volunteerism Program (Form 18794A/2C).
The Bearer of this card is a known participant of BRC and as such is entitled to all of the privileges encompased therein and is exempt from spectator status. Should the bearer of this card be found spectating, it should be known that they have earned entitlement to this activity. Also let it be known that the Bearer has either eaten or promised to eat soup".
Sun was setting, growning darker and cooler, we venture to camp costume up and consume, yep, you guessed it, consumme, or rather, some soup straight outta the can. Those polyester skeleton suits we found at the thrift shop come in handy as the temp drops from 90 to 40. Mike happens by, the photographer boy of our hitch is home, he asks if I' m eating my soup cold. I say "yes", merrily. He says, "yum" and darkly withdraws.
Now for something completely different, Kevin flys in. The other half of our hitch, all brawn and beauty in his batman outfit and a charming cowboy to boot. Yee Haw.
Night falls, and we crawl. Pitch blackest, save star spots leaking, peaking through the clouds. We weave through camps, sight by torchlight, christmas lights, flashing disco lights, glowing raver sights, firelight, neon and sparkling light. I wasn't even on drugs and the scene was a wild and crazy trip. Chris and I fall into the stereo egg chair and sit cupped comfortably together, and get down with James Brown. I stop in at Elvis Yoga to fire out a few rounds of sun salutations and your basic yoga wrap and roll, executed to " shake rattle and roll". A 12 foot neon head rolls by, I think there are a couple of people in it. I see Robots. A thirty foot fire breathing dragon is battling a smaller dragon, puppets are serving drinks and insulting people, dancers and dreamers are passing by, pixies and pyrotechnics; this place has everything. Chris comments that this artistic explosion should be an ongoing event. We talk about what it would mean to create such a community, the problems, the potential, this fantastic playground, the escape from our twisted
world. Jump start, change cilivazation, kick culture.
He thinks, however, the hostilitly is to big. Give it another few years, a few thousand more people, and they'll be killing each other. I hope he's wrong. I like it here. I watch this technicolor dream drip by and uh oh, oh no, here comes the rain again, drip dry by, bye.
Retreat to our "home" camp, no treat and another reminder to never, ever under any circumstances purchase a 20 dollar tent from Kmart. The zipper has broken and there is no way to keep the water out.
Lightening flashes, and we hear Burningman radio suggests riding out the storm in a car (its grounded). Stay out of tents, away from metals. Chris and I spend the night in Mike and Kevins rental car. Thanks for that hitch, that home. Let's hear it for the boys.
Bleary, sleepless at dawn we dispose of our shitty tent and shake and angry fist at the giant corporate K. We creep to center camp for morning ritual coffee and local paper action. A fantastic group of cybergoths are taking there manmachine for a crawl. He is crawling about on robotic limbs. Here a Sater, there an angel, this guy has more piercings in his cock than I can count. Too much to see...sensory overload.
The heavy, consistant overnight rainfall has weighted the earth. It is much cooler today and there is nearly no dust in the air. My sandels are soon caked with thick mud and my feet look and feel like cement blocks. The two hour tour at center camp is capped with an offer of mocha for barter by the coffee counter boy. I rush to the counter with my homespun necklace, flashy red beads which reads, "I'm a burner baby". Each of my barter baubles bore some unique phrase or design. Aformentioned coffeejerk, scans my offering and flat out refuses. No deal. "No candy raver beads for me" is his reply. Chris responds with humor, "You can't eat them". Frat factions in the subculture. This weekend warrior, this 19 year old eurobrat backpacker decides that an artistic labor that bore my sweet sweat in the desert this very day, is not good enough for a bloody fuckin mocha coffee. At least he knew what he didn't want, the picky bastard. Sadly, this exchange briefly effected my mood but soon we were up up and along our merry way, plenty of roads to choose from and miles to go before we sleep.
Back on the road again we by chance run into Cary and Justin, a couple of infamous Dazzle Dancers and all around beautiful folks from NYC. The day is drying out and the earth is cracking up and falling in chunks from my filthy Flintstone feet. The dust is also picking up and kicking up. The air stays fairly cool.
I consider a stop in at Camp Carcass Wash were you have the opportunity to strip and enjoy being washed off while relaxing in a plastic chair, get your hair washed. But the sky is overcast, the carcass washin water is cold, people are screaming. Maybe later,if it gets above 50 degrees, I'll get a washin.
Cary pouts about the inclement weather and we ride out another storm at her camp holding onto poles and fabric to prevent the large dome from blowing away. A very gusty storm, we squint out and watch neighboring campers struggling to fill a large portable swimming pool. Cary, reading the tank asks, "Whats non-potable"? I tell her if she goes for a swim, just try not to swallow too much water. We are all squinty and shouting through the roaring wind, suffering a head full of dusk when miraculosly, a package of dust masks literally blows into Cary's camp at my feet. The universe provides. Even this barely cheers poor Cary. She's mostly pissed because its too cold for her to run around naked. Well it pisses me off a little too. Cary looks great naked.
Cool weather didn't seem to deter too many of the hippie, pagan, nudist exitionists in attandance. I'll tell you though, the weather was a factor in our decision not to perform with the Opera as Sunsnake and Moonchild as per Pogo's request. Could not get into wearing
nothing but body paint in 30 degree weather.
But on the night of the burn 100s of spirited naked suns and snakes did, I couldn't help but wonder...body paint.....does it keep you warm?
Fire in the hole. Fire up the whole. We caught the man already ablaze and its going up ahead of schedule, they say, an unexpected spark. All perfectly normal for playa time. Creatures roll out towards the burning effergy, and all slowly awaken to new ritual twilight. Fantastic spectle. Most everything burns. Except for the giant man made of books. The artist says he will not burn. "Only communists and natzis burn books", he says. I decide not to ask him what he means by communists. We continue to cruise the heavily psychadelic afterburn.
Everywhere splashes, flashes and dashes. Whoosh. They haven't got words for the things I saw.
We take a ride on the largest, fire-breathing dragon. Its like a bus inside, equipped with a stocked bar. I trade beads for a cocktail, the pretty barmaid is very pleased to receive them. We hang around a while, waiting to enter battle with another dragon waiting for us on the playa. The beast is too heavy, some must abandon the dragon. Tickets are demanded. "What are tickets?", someone asks. We are informed that tickets are bible pages. Chris happens to have one in his pocket, it was handed to him wordlessly as we sat around in center camp days ago. Never know when something might come in handy. We decide to abandon dragonship anyway, wishing the warriors well.
We head off in search of Dr. Megavolt. He's not too hard to find. Standing on top of a large truck, between two enormous Tesla coils, encased in metal, brandishing a metal pitchfork, Megavolt dances with electric lightening. He splits volts across the sky with his pitchfork and sends currents through his body and out of his hands. The crowd screams for Dr. Megavolt. MEG A VOLT. MEG A VOLT. Wouldn't you? Yee Haw.
Around 2am we pack it in and drift towards the main entrance to hitch a ride to Reno to catch our 7am flight to Vegas, then switch planes, and then on to Denver then switch again and then head finally on to NYC.
Only a half hour of begging at the gate, most of the cars are too crowded to take us,
but we are told once, "I'm sorry, thats just not my thing." We finally land a ride in a RV with a very sweet ride to Reno.
Once inside, I fall dead asleep, awaking only when we are stopped for speeding. Our driver, a sober scholor and gentleman, talks his way out of a ticket. I awake again in Reno around 430 am, as our lift stops for rest before skipping on to their base in san fran. Again, lets here it for the men.
We call for a taxi to the airport at an abandoned hotel. Our cabdriver calls us out as burners saying, "Ya'll smell like cowboys." Uh huh and Yee Haw.
Bet your sweet ass we do. Ripe and right as rain.
We spend the next two hours lurching around the airport with a handful of scattered, scraggly burners. They're easy to spot in this bleak flouresent light. Very "Night of the Living Dead". "They're coming to get you Barbara. Look here comes one of them now". Except, I'm one of them now. Instead of eating flesh, we smile at each other, knowing, been there brother. Picking up our electronic ticket seems like a joke, isn't there a form I should be filling out. We are embraced by a total stranger, a fellow burner, no mistaking, we all look like the tired tramps we are. This hulkin scandanavian, laughs with tears in his eyes as we stand on line. We are leaving and nobody is saying goodbye. We are bringing, more than stink and dust and material exchanges. I'm getting on a plane with more of myself than I came with. All because, for one week, I was supported and accepted by a community, in the process of being guilty of nothing more than expressing my beautiful "self". That is the very same spectacular self you're walking around with and strangling at the smallest infraction of social misconduct. The trick in life is letting it go and holding on to something else, this formless idea of true freedom. Something like faith, a belief in balance, in duality, the all and the individual.
I got a lot thrown at me at Burningman, a lot of swimming around in my soul. We get what we look for. I imagine some folks got really stoned, saw some really cool shit, got a lot of boners and even got laid. Well, right on. I think everyone is doing whatever it is they need to be doing, at any given moment. That's the glory of choice. Hey, it's your canvas, paint it.
Meanwhile back at the airport filled with grandiose advertisments, and judgements, concepts imposing who, what or how I should be or behave. These lines are so very different. How quickly I remember them, hard, harsh and crystal clear. I fear, these meaningless things (I do and don't want), these people(I could be), this "real" world (I'm in and seperate from). So aware of different directions. Lines we create where lines don't exist.
On the plane I dream fight club, pyrotechnics, antiestablishment,
lost in my coffee
staring at my single serving lie.
But I know a place of my existence
a part of some mad free collective concienceness
the sweetest piece of my being
is a soul swinging
somewhere between Black Rock City