This is how it went down – we arrive, wander through this mysterious and tiny town, a suburb of Taos. We meet our host and are given a detailed history of her involvement with the venue – it was a run down tea shop but had a happenin’ music scene, then the owner left and she took it over and permits permits permits. PLUS her dad just had a heart attack and everything’s so hectic! She shows us to our filthy yurt, which is full of empty ice cream cartons, spider webs, trash, and dirt. BUT there is a wood burning stove, which we will make good use of later. There are two people in the audience when we start. By the end, the room is packed with listening enthusiastic people. You never know.
In the room there are 2 beds and a whole lot of people sleeping on the floor. Some people are listening to music on the shitty little phone speaker. Doing impressions. Laughing. I’m on the floor, quiet and self conscious. Tagging along. The sky is getting brighter. What should I do? I’m thinking of driving somewhere to watch the sunrise. Then I’m back inside, trying to figure out how to say goodbye. “you should sleep in my bed!” she says. Somebody laughs. I don’t hesitate. Lights off. I’m lying awake, the sun is peeking through the window impartially. There are 12 people in the room, 7 of them creating a symphony of snoring- all different tones and textures. Some soaring and high, some growling low. It’s 7am and I don’t care about anything but being close to her.
On the beach at Flint Ridge.
We’ve been here for 2 days, camping – 3 if you count Sunday night on the hill. We’re dirty but we’ve been eating righteous healthy food. I had a minor tantrum on the beach the day we moved camp and then everything went perfect.
Horrible turnout, but not bad for a Monday gig. There were pretty women. They were excited to play a Nintendo wii dancing game with us. Kevin played. He danced with wild abandon. At the end he crawled under a table. Kris and I sat blinking like toadies. Somebody asked us- “do you watch ‘how I met your mother?”. We blinked again and it was 1:30am in the McDonald's Drive-Thru. I could feel the anger and frustration in the little voice coming through the speaker, offering us apple cinnamon oatmeal. We ordered ice cream and fries. I’ve never been served ice cream with such hatred before.
I press my nose to the glass and the passing by goes easy – if blurry, still colorful. In my mind I think I’m somewhere but I am very much somewhere else. You are a reminder of the star matter that formed this place. Every morning lately I stretch and smile before I begin bouncing around the cosmos, before my mind begins to try to figure things out. I’d like to go the other way, using reason in little bits like a dash of salt on a dish that is full of wonder and flavor. I wish for more closeness with the source of the light behind your eyes, of the heart audible to all beings and mimicked by drums.
We drove that morning to Rogue River and stopped at Wolf Creek to get out and stretch, walk around. The local park was closed due to a Biker rally and BBQ so we walked up the street a ways. It was Saturday and there were yard sales everywhere. We stopped off at one that covered the entire front yard, sloping up the hill to a ranch home with worn white siding. The owners were drinking beer under a tent, overlooking their kingdom. Rusted metal tools, cups and bowls, piles of empty CD cases (Dave Matthews, Rush, Journey), tattered Barbie dolls, a pile of old journals, some with writing still inside: "pick up Rick" "Groceries" "Get your social security card". There was even a full clown suit on the clothes rack. Poking around, pass by a sleeping pit bull, nothing for me here. Grabbed an old Pink Panther eraser from the free box on the way out.
I followed the light of your flashlight
And we sang in the dark
Every sound an echo
We’ve been inside these woods
For a few hundred years –
He says ‘God bless you’ a few times
On the side of the road
And we comment on the beauty
Of this particular terrain.
I scramble up and up
Chanting to myself
‘This is fun and easy.’
When the forest turned we were just about to turn back
And then it was irresistible
Wow. 99¢ corn dogs are back. The venue looks like a cross between an insurance office and a double wide. Man at the bar stares at me as I talk about Denver. Tiffany's top straps fell off both sides of her shoulders, she makes the old men smile. Frog Legs dances like a mad chipmunk. Lady asks if we know any Tim McGraw. Alex tells her about Fearless Freaks, their weirdness inspires him. End of the night he slumps over the keyboard and plays the theme song to Mash. Perfectly.
A tentacle pulled me into the water
A band of pirates charged at us
That’s what happens on the grey shore
At the top of the third rolling hill
The party goes on
Same as it ever was.
I wish you could tell when I’m full of shit
And take me only for those moments
When the truth serum tumbles out of my mouth, unstoppable
Near the stream the streamsounds are masking the highwayssounds. High pitched rubber tire strings, concrete drones, clicking truck seams on the bridge. Count them like sheep. They keep passing, going the other way, South of Detroit. She picked us out. Turned a mouthful. Shouted across two lanes of rush hour, something about being stuck in this same traffic last Friday. Kids fidgeting in the backseat. Authorized vehicles only. Bleached bones and cigarette butts collecting underneath the steelrail divider. That morning we sat outside in sweatshirts. I kept staring at the bowl of petoskey stones submerged in water sitting on the table. She said to call when you have time. You call because you are busy. I have lots and lots of time.
Somewhere along the line a tiny bug penetrated the immune defenses of the Chimney Choir organism. That is, we are rolling down the road sniffling and hacking, congested and low energy, a loud cacophony of sickos. First David, then Kevin, then me. Last night I was taken over by sneezes and tiredness and I slept in the car while the boys had magic. It made me sad for a while today – a pack animal locked away in the minivan.
Descending down through the galaxy of redwoods. We turned down the road and took the route back to camp along the nightbeach. A pair of headlights picked us out, odd creatures on a lunar surface. The truck pulled up and cut the engine - a man leaned out of the window. "There's a baby seal down there wrapped in an army jacket. It's contagious. Game warden is coming first thing in the morning." We solemnly thanked him and walked back to camp- hoping to stumble on the young sea mammal. We saw nothing. We got back and roasted hobo pies in a driftwood camp fire.
Now I am spending my time on the steps outside the door, bumming cigarettes and falling into conversation with whoever is nearby. Sometimes she is outside, sometimes in. When she’s out, we are talking. When she’s in, I am biding my time. It’s around 5am now. Zach is gone and I have no idea how to get back to wherever I came from.