Woke up from the strangest dream. My family and I, are on an adventure, through some unknown city, a walk back to our vehicle, a familiar, yet different, older van. Chay and I are in the middle seats, and we drive for a mundane moment. Until, we pull into a building and a dream becomes a dream.
We’re in a tunnel, and before I know it we’ve blasted off, through some worm-hole time tunnel thing. I open my eyes for a second, and it’s a glittering kaleidoscopic other world, seen in yesteryear, too beautiful to stare at. I close my eyes, losing my breath, and reach for my boy’s hand. It’s there I can feel it through the mitten, so real, how soft the loose material is, how it slides on his little fingers in my grip, so real.
I was hit with a bug (thee bug?) Friday to Saturday. The heat in my knees and groins provides the perfect warning system of illness. It was a strange batch. It never got too bad, no throwing up, clogged nostrils, or too intense of a headache, yet still it brought pure immobilization. Like I was basically fine, laying there, but if I attempted anything it would come on more severe. It could have been the questionable jar of apple butter in the fridge, to all appearances of sight and smell it was fine, under six months as well, so I’m more inclined to believe it’s thee bug.
It’s funny how you sit in sickness, analyzing your reality. That blank space of the hospital bed. Especially in this season, post holidays, the netherworld of significations. And I read on my phone that “false-alert” in Hawaii, and it can all feel so weird, that so much can be at stake, and yet fake, and nonsensical, i.e. stuffing children in sewer lines? Got to thinking about vaccines and all that, and the simple contradiction that every year they say it’s the worst flu season ever, yet they keep pushing the shots like they’re a panacea, but what I see is everyone getting the shot, seems to be sick, and sick worse. And all that holiday food, the crust of empty sugar and salt of the holidays, booze, bloated opinions and dreams, running you down, when you should be sleeping, resting, leaning.
I slept through it fine,, noted it was probably time to take a break, lay around, imagine the future. I’d worked early Friday on cleaning out the little shed that covers the stairs to the cellar/basement area. I’m imagining how we can turn it into a baby chicken house for a month or two this spring. Friday, we had our official familial planning meeting about Spring goals for the homestead, budgeting the money for that. We were able to put a couple hundred towards a big berry push through Johnny Select Seeds, got fifty raspberry plants, half Killarney and half Anne. And they’re an early to mid, and mid to late season thing, so that means we should basically have berries forever. We also ordered 25 Sparkle Strawberry plants. Our goal is perennial gardening, meaning we want to plant stuff that will grow forever and just do its own thing primarily, as opposed to row-farming, or anything like that.
We watched movie The Revenant. It’s a brutal tale of the American frontier, Hugh Glass/Dicaprio, is a pelt trader who gets eaten by a bear, he chases John Fitzgerald/Tom Hardy around for killing his boy. Of course with some crazy Injuns and Europeans tearing after them all as well. What I like about this movie is that it gets it basically right, I imagine, in historical reality sense, I think to mean. How brutal life can be, savage and beautiful simultaneously (Shown in the bear fight, for the briefest moments, the bear will lay on him like another bear or cub, just like he lays on his own dying/living boy). How this current theme of White (a made up/ahistorical word)-is wrong doesn’t really work out in the real world, but yet it does, in the generational sin, marks a mankind, that all of humanity regardless of race have sort of got to take account of. How we can all be petty, greedy, low, and selfish, but that’s all right, we got live, and we can get along, goddammit, if we can forgive each other’s trespasses. We’re in this shit together. America.
Don’t really like graphically violent movies like that anymore, and it is a disturbing movie/reality. I do have this thing with Westerns while I’m sick though. Remember being in High School, just feeling like I was going to die, and I watched Tombstone. I’d seen it before, but in that weird lucid, liminal state of the sick work, the movie was a perfect escape. Val Kilmer, all sick and ragged, but still the baddest dude. Because he is staring death in the eye, tuberculosis, venereal disease, whatevers there with him. Love that scene though, the other Lawmen, including other 80s movie icon (template Bad-Ass Dad) Kurt Russell, are sort of punked by the maddog criminal. Russell tells him he ain’t economically worth nothing, exposing his true motives, material gain, a la Babylon. The sickman, dead man tells no lies though. He finds from a calm position on the sideline, perfect reckoning. His guns is behind his back, ready. At the end, the maddog is put back on his leash, he stumbles into two caskets, emphasizing the death symbolism twice.
Woke up at four and it was gone. The aches, but even more pronounced the mental motivation, function deficiency. I was again excited and capable in life. I’d lost almost ten games of chess on Friday. An unusual occurrence. I’ve been focusing on my rating and trying to stay above 1100, which for how many games I’ve played, and my general ability should be no problem. But Friday, I went on this atrocious chess run. Then this morning, decide to play a few, bugs dissipated (but not gone I’m well aware), and it’s the best chess of my life. I withstand the same attacks as last game, but reverse and counter with ease. It’s a total different reality, based on what? A day?A virus? Bad apple-butter? Cabin Fever? Vitamin-D deficiency? Catholicism?
Things are snowy and freezing around these parts. It provides an ideal backdrop to these ruminations. I leave the window open and let hot house air flow through and out, until the wind pushes back in, forcing it shut. Like the cold, said that once or twice, I’m sure. Like how it freezes things, retains them, holds them, suggesting forever, permanence. Until next time, when they’re ready. After the sleep, we are stronger.
9ish, I’m sitting here writing while Britney puts the kids to bed. Had a crazy guitar lesson, getting to the upper-intermediary stages (a soulless description, no doubt) where I can just go through simple version of a lot of songs, the first time. Specifically through this Youtube Guitar Guru, Munson Music Live.
Started with a slower version of Rocky Raccoon, then I like. But this time I stuck with it, and it actually helped my strumming, trying to slow down and play it along with Munson. Then I did Elvis, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, and I again the slowness sort of annoyed me, but I went with it, until towards the end where I unconsciously started breaking the 1/4 notes into sixteenth notes, sort of improvising along with the video. After that I went to one that challenges my strumming Tom Petty’s Running Down A Dream, the fast version of that is a challenge to my wrist. But more and more I find myself able to rely on the muscle memory built up in my hands, and actually relax while I’m doing, take that forth dimensional perspective, where I can enjoy or critique what I am doing, see between the segments of music. Then I went on a random chain, Genesis/Land of Confusion, Fleetwood Mac/The Chain and Gypsy, and the last one the good bass strumming, strumming, strumming, through the cords felt very natural, and right along with the music. And it hit me, I was actually playing, like really playing. Hours and hours of sucking, and I probably am still not all that good, but still I can say I know what its like to play the guitar. The full thing, not just faking.
Let me tell you about another creature that doesn’t fake it. Max, the three-legged, semi-adopted farm dog. He came with 1900s house. He’s its official Dog of the Watch. He barks mightily at the vehicles as they hit the stop sign, or go flying passed on the dirt road. He dutifully tracks, all range of animals, coyotes, possums, deer. He’s invaluable. He’s technically the neighbor’s dogs, but I think he was owned by their Father, who lived here prior, I believe. He sleeps under our front deck, and likes to sunbath on the porch. Some asshole down the street shot his leg off, told our neighbors that he was going after their dog. That seems impossible, but who knows, young four legged, freedom loving, dogs can be something. He his a younger sister, a beauty named Lady. And the freezing temperatures iced her electric leash, so sometimes she gets off too. She likes to hop, but like Max, has to be respected for her benefits, namely keep the coyotes and strays away.
It was a wintry mix this morning. Sleet and snow, all hell really. Lil salt particles of ice that whipped against the house. Cold winds that make you run for it. And there was Max, enduring it all, outside as always. Thought of bringing him, but realized it wouldn’t work (Lady too, she stared at me longingly, chained up in the barn). We do let the him downstairs in the basement when the storms comes. He appreciates that, hates the thunder I think. Tries to push the door at times, but he was loving the snow, skipping around in it, making his rounds. I noticed the birds too this winter, especially. How do they do it? Survive the snow, I mean. Even more so the birds. So little. You think about how much blood they got in them, probably not enough to fill half a coffee cup. But I saw it today, a black and grey Finch (not sure if it was a Finch at all), with that striking red on his head, gripping the large tree in our yards. How do they do it? My heels hurt from the holes in my shoes….
Two nights ago the Bible jumped off the book stand, and John of Patmos began ranting; it was impossible to go back to sleep with that sort of thing going on. Initially I had thought it was a redneck blowing up a propane tank, or maybe an example of those strange sounds people hear world-wide, where it sounds like God is rearranging deck furniture in heaven.
But nope, just John and he went on and on, and when I finally told him to shut the fuck up, or at least address me in a language I could understand, he got offended, said something about pearls before swine, and with a humph put himself back on the shelf, precariously perched once again, of course.
Max, our 3-legged, inherited farm dog, whose a real sweet heart and asset for the homestead, barks at the devil and the coyotes every night. In the dark, it’s hard to see exactly what has his focus. We try not to be annoyed, knowing in our rational minds he’s just doing his noble work, but still it annoys us. People can be quite short sighted and selfish, can’t they?
Sunday there was a kid’s B-day party scheduled, and a dinner party later that night, back in Des Moines. I had said my attending was unlikely, but then the force of socialization, and really a fear of my sweet lil brood traversing the lonely country roads forced me to go. I decided to cut the boredom and anxiety with booze. So I stopped by the grocery got a big bottle of Guinness extra-stout and a six pack of Voodoo Ranger. The cashier was in a death struggle with a maintenance guy about a non-working beer fridge, and I had to separate them with a crow bar to pay for my stuff; I should have noted the bad omen, and acted accordingly.
The birthday party was a new circle in Dante’s inferno. A small clubhouse had been overfilled, so the smell of hot ass and cheap pizza filled the place. Hungry, emotionally and physically, adults worked the place in an ugly frenzy. I joined other stragglers and black sheep outside or along the wall designated for the phone starers. Outside I found a likely ally, a wigger, with cheap “G” pendant, who was introduced as “Stoney”. I considered copping, but it didn’t seem appropriate, instead I tried to huff his second hand cigarette smoke, while he ranted about the facilities. “Oh shit, is that a water park? Bet that’s dope in the summer! Look at that fucking seagull!?”
The booze was calling me, and I can’t even remember knocking back the big Guinness when we arrived at the party. Alcohol digested, I was better able to play the social games, one person rants, gets off, then the other, back and forth, until a chunky social lather is acquired. The children took over the house eventually, playing some game filled with intermittent screams of terror and slamming doors. The host a world-class chef created an exceptional spread, and had plenty of interesting information to share (large parts were marked off record, and in the chaos I tried to explain that really wasn’t fair, as I’m a writer and a lowlife, so there is no off record, really) but ultimately the conversation went to a familiar debate of the problems of mankind, namely were people ignorant or evil. I of course am firmly stuck in the evil party, my friend the ignorant party, but really, subsurface we hold the opposite opinions. In any case, turned it over to my oldest, he of course usurped his Father and went to the other camp. I was proud, but sad, sad for revelations to come.
Britney made the most delicious Apple-Pie, I’d ever tasted. The innards became an appley caramel which was heaven. There was Champagne and delicious wine, all too expensive for a lowly dirt farmer and labeled in languages impossible to remember. I hate alcohol (a bold line delivered in a dramatic dream last night, that I don’t have the time or desire to relate) but can knock them back like the best when the mood calls. And calling it did…
Illuminate agents were posted up on the way out of town, subtle yet obvious to a Jedi, parked in an abandoned industrial area, reversed into a spot, lights on, too dark to see, yet there in subconscious force. Even the stable and grounded straight-man wife took notice. In the booze it didn’t bother me at all. It was like we were VIPs and they just wanted to make sure we got out of Dodge.
And luckily we’re mature enough to have a designated driver, Brit this time. So the drive was uneventful and beautiful, and in 15 glorious minutes we were in the hinterlands, and in the booze and darkness, it all seemed new, and I realized how far away from Babylon we really are, and that made me happy. Somehow, the boozy bravado had endeared the Wife, and she was eager for some love, but the demonic liquid had taken its toll, and so instead I just passed out, being scratched like the bear I am. Until like three in the morning when, my body decided it was time for me to pay the piper.
I’ll save the ugly details. It was a brutal, yet enlightening process. I sat there on the toilet head spinning. My mind jumped from non-sequitur to non-sequitur, dialogue from a soap opera I saw back in 1987, a philosophy text from college, recent tidbits and random minutiae. Cold sweats. Hot sweats. Shit. Vomit. A half an hour or so of biological torture. Then it was basically done, a mild hang over would annoy for most of Monday, but all in all, it was a great experience. A reminder, that booze is not for me. That despite all the television and ads, somehow maturity has set in, and I feel sobriety IS better! For someone from such dysfunctional origins the revelation is something like a personal achievement.
I’m beginning to realize, with every growing inch of beard, the way forward. I think it will begin this Spring, with a burning of the shoes, and then with a buckshot thru this IPhone, and then ultimately in a swearing off of all vestiges of Babylon, money, debit cards, petrochemicals, etc. Then it’s just me, cabbages, chicken shit, open air, and all that sounds like heaven to me.
Had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up carpet cleaner, a youngling had pissed on the floor and I did a half ass job cleaning it up apparently, so every time I walked up stairs I got a wiff of it. As I entered the megastore I got the first hit of whatever post-holiday dope they’re pumping through the furnace vents and by the time I had my cart, I could feel its effects running up my spine and infiltrating my cerebral cortex.
I walked through the isles, unable to stop observing my fellow shoppers. Their resonances (the term of the week) stood out to me like neon drugstore signs. Depression. Avarice. Apathy. Homicidal rage. An ugly old woman, with leathery skin, like she’d been dipped in a vat of Camel Light juice spoke loudly on the phone. “That’s the thing Mandy, there’s always gonna be people fucking with you at work. No matter where you go, there will be someone who doesn’t like you.” Her eyes rolled in her head like a cartoon slot machine. The characters were made up of dice, the skull and bones poison symbol, and a cocktail waitress with her dress hiked up.
I staggered my way to the pisser. I’d been chugging coffee to fight a headache and so the cart blocking the men’s room door was ignored. I stood there handling my business, taking deep lung fulls of whatever they were pumping into the place. In a haze I looked back to the cart blocking the door and there was the crunchy, hair sprayed back of a woman’s head. She was grunting, frustrated by some disgusting mess left in the waste basket. I ignored and kept on with my business. It seemed like it took forever and when I looked back again, she was staring at me. I stared back and kept at it, the dope had done away with any inhibitions. She stared at me longingly as she kept trying to scrap the shit off the bottom of the white basket.
She followed me through the store for the rest of my shopping. A veil had lifted and now all the mechanisms of commercial manipulation stood out to me. The consumers we’re on a conveyor belt, and the machines forced things unwilling into their carts. A mother and daughter, kept filling and unloading their cart with 1$/lb turkeys, left over from the holidays. A man sat Buddha style on the floor with his shirt off, a can of gasoline next to him, vaping.
I got my items, carpet cleaner, paper towels, chicken, beef, salad. Whatever the machines told me to get. The cashiers face rolled, and swirled, and metals loops jumped from her lips, to her nose, to her ears, back to her lips. She invited me to an orgy in the break room, said I could put smiley stickers on her nipples while we did it, I declined, the way the cleaning lady was looking at me and licking her cracked lips was freaking me out. I smiled, said thanks, but no thanks and collected my bags.
There was a shirtless Pygmy checking my tires as I loaded up. But as the freezing air started clearing out my lungs, he began to shimmer like a mirage, and blinked out of existence with a wink.