Journal 4 101
Day 121 The Vortex of Bloomington today: 0

The Angel lays beside me. She is beautiful. Her hair is 3 feet long.

Kids in the hall are crying. I have not met them yet. The Angel’s oldest daughter Aurora, wants to eat. It is 6am. She wakes up Pauline who is sleeping on the living room floor with Johnathan, Pauline is not happy about being woken up, Aurora cries her way back to bed. I am in and out of sleep. What state am I in? I know the beautiful girl beside me in this bed, but I do not know which state this is. Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, yes, it’s Indiana, and in 3 days it will be Ohio. In a field, on a couch, lying naked in a bed with some beautiful woman? Or maybe sleeping behind some dumpster. Dreaming of places I have been or will be, they are all just blurry enough that I do not know. And the struggle to remember where I am pushes out the detail, children screaming now. Asleep again. The door opens. Aurora is 6. Alex, Pauline’s youngest, who is 2, looks in under her legs. Aurora asks "Who are you?" I am a naked man in your mother’s bed. But that is not what I say. I say my name and smile and tell them that Cosmo is looking for someone to play with, so I can get dressed. Angel is making coffee. Chaos in the living room. 4 screaming children, riding me like a horse, gabbing cereal boxes and my camera and my cowboy hat and trying to ride Cosmo like a horse too and some sporadic crying and the two youngest, Pauline’s children, come back in after their shower and refuse to get dressed. Running laps around the living room naked. Crazy running naked money boys. David and Alex. Aurora is talking to Cosmo. She is beautiful.

The Angel is leaving. She’ll take me back to Bedford after work, she works in a leather shop. She takes Julian, her 5 year old with her, to drop him off at school. It is not quieter. The two boys that are left have megaphone mouths. They are naked monkey boys, and they are still ricocheting off the walls like rubber bullets shot at looters. Jesus I need my shield and gas mask, this place is about to go up in flames where is my riot gear? I have been told that food will calm them down. But maybe not this kind of food. STAR WARS CEREAL!!!! And they are jumping up and down holding their bowls. Gimmie, gimmie! And with all those sugar marshmallows I think we may be in for a long day. Still naked, eating the cereal on the floor. Shaking from sugar, teeth rattling. Eyes bulge. Surrounded by clothes and scraps of leather and toys and a big white dog that looks like a horse in this little apartment. An old REM tape on the stereo:

I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it's's all for nothing
I know the barricades, and
I know the mortar in the wall breaks
I recognize the weapons, I used them well
This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the wall, and I will be the one to knock it down

Pauline left her husband after 3 years because he was an alcoholic. Married for 3 years but not in love. They were together for the children. They lived in Alaska. On the way back to the lower 48 they took 30 day because he had to drink everyday and when they finally got here she said she was taking the kids. She left a nice home and a nice car and a not so nice man. I hope I do not embarrass Pauline by telling her story, but there is a bigger lesson in this, the lesson of the conservation of energy. There are people who will say that marriage is so sacred it cannot be broken under any circumstances. There are traditions that say we cannot leave. Those traditions are wrong. There isn’t always a way. Pauline lived with an alcoholic. I lived with a cocaine addict.

Consequently the kids have not had a stable male figure in their lives, they have all come and gone and come again and eventually left. Johnathan is not sure if he will stay. He sleeps here on the floor with Pauline sometimes, like last night. He will be back tonight. The children are confused. Am I confusing children too by sleeping in their mother’s arms? I can’t think with all this noise so I will go to the library.

Someone has written to me.

… you seem in search of black and white truths, have said you don't believe in gray...and i want to say that therein lies your only failure in this. you're looking for the extremes in the human condition...seems to me, touting the extreme as the life well lived, hard fought, worthy. and i say to you, your search should be for that particular balance...extreme only in its nature of humble appreciation, acceptance. your walk should not be about exploiting some masochistic fervor -- sufferfest -- it should be the great exploration in equilibrium, extolling the ethos of a nation so frequently pitched black v. white that may one day in fact see no color.

you wrote a few days ago that you may believe in should so. evolution is a process (this is wilber (reference to Ken Wilber), it’s what i believe) of transcend and include. integration. take the best of what was, discard the rest. to that end, there are virtues in all dogmas…so too dilemmas. it’s all gray.

the anti-messiah is still messiah.

ranting…but always seeking,


And so I ramble back in reply:

Yes, I fear gray twilight as in a raped mind, not as in the integration of ideas. The gray of effort where effort is wasted, and yes, I too waste effort, energy, I am working on that. So the gray I hope for is gray beyond language, beyond symbol, to what I have seen with the pocket full of keys that I have occasionally referred to, way beyond words to the point that explaining it I sound like a junkie. So yes, that gray, but not the gray of fear and inactivity that I have seen in Amorica. I know nothing. I just write. And so you must criticize, yes, I need it, you at least question, so many do not. So many are asleep. And yes, I too want to sleep, so, have I not contradicted myself many times over in these few sentences? Yes, so I walk on. In search of another strange encounter like last night, the Angel with the Burmese coins attached to a belt of shells that when shaken can erase my whole world, trance dace and a beautiful body and long, long hair and a beautiful night well spent indeed. I exist in a place now where anything can happen, like I am tripping all the time, I like it. It is the place where dreams can get so big they cause riots and coups and earthquakes. Yes, I want my footsteps to be felt like that, and no I do not yet deserve it, but I will walk on, and someday soon..... So I guess I do not dislike all gray, but gray is not a tidal wave.

And I realize that I need to be more like the Chinese and think in terms of thousands of years instead of today, but as I have said I am not a monk in leather and saffron, I am the Gore-Tex pilgrim and my flask is filled with Dr. Pepper, and I have a weakness for pretty girls. So I want to see the Tidal wave today. But that is not the way it works. I will look in these coming days and years for the subtle erosion of the shorelines from the tide, not the tidal event of a storm, but of the slowly lapping tide, and how it effects coastlines of social movements and the temperature of the global mind and how the that can make tomorrow’s Berlin Wall fall down. (Give me time, perspective will come) So thank you friend, yes, the gray of integration is necessary. I know this. I do not speak softly, I am not humble enough it is true.

(still the song from the stereo:
I've a rich understanding of my finest defenses
I proclaim that claims are left unstated,
I demand a rematch
I decree a stalemate
I divine my deeper motives
I recognize the weapons
I've practiced them well. I fitted them myself)

My finest defenses. I divine my deeper motives, I seek and I will not stop, and perhaps I will fall very far in this life (but I doubt it), or perhaps I will rise to make that tidal wave that I have spoken of. I do not know, but I know that when I fall now it is easy to get up, and that I can pull more from the depths because I have seen more, so the tidal wave is coming. I do seek to include. There is no hell. I am sorry if I have made you feel to be the fodder for my scrutiny.

These words are my flesh and my blood, given to you, (DO NOT) do this in remembrance of me. Remember that prayer? Bleeding heart and soul and often I do not think as I write, I just bleed. Everything is sacred, nothing is sacred. There is the gray.

Peace and love my friend

- Aaron
Too much thinking and too little living and there will be no blood to write with, so let us go and live a bit. The Angel comes to find me. We drink coffee and talk to a man with blonde dreadlocks called Tadpole, he is writing poems. She talks to a man on a motorcycle about a woman named Gypsy. Angel is a gypsy too, Angel is a sailboat on a muddy river with the sails made of brightly colored children’s t-shirts sewn together. "Yes," she admits, "I am a gypsy at heart." And she knows about the ego. "Ego is the eye and the eye is immense, but if your faith is in the eye you will fall. There is a faith of the road. A faith we both know from our travels. You have to have faith that the universe will provide everything you need when you need it, or before you need it, it is like the shaman’s leap of faith, like walking on coals." I love your mind my gypsy Angel. We have walked the same road. Singing schools of studying, blacktop textbooks.

We drive to pick up Aurora and Julian at school. The Angel’s favorite time, because they are always happy to see her, they are not crying or fighting (yet). Aurora is beautiful, she is 6 but she looks 10. She loves the camera. She will be a model or a pop star. Now we will return to the hippie mamma commune apartment, jungle gym, chaos incarnate, below the deck of the pirate ship, pirate children. And lets corral these wild horses or pirates or whatever chaos you can call it and get them to the park before they usurp our power of attorney, quickly get me my spurs. Alex has taken his clothes off again. He does not like clothes. Alex’s megaphone is still turned on. Am I really staying another night? I do love their faces and their questions, and another night beside the angel. I don’t really need a day off, but when you meet a girl with a belt of Burmese coins… Its always a girl. My dad knew it right away when I called and I said I got a little off track. Its always a girl, and this one will teach me something. And so will Pauline, who Johnathan say he believes to be the female version of me. (I hope I am that beautiful.)

(This is my world
And I am world leader pretend
This is my life
And this is my time
I have been given the freedom
To do as I see fit
It's high time I've razed the walls
That I've constructed) – R.E.M.

At the park. Children free. No apartment walls. I help watch Alex, he is prone to escape attempts. The Angel tells me about the people in the woods, she and Pauline lived with them for awhile, they have found a way to survive with less. And having less often frees the mind, so I am interested. I could stay here in Bloomington for another month, or 2, or a year. Now I want to go live in the trees. Now I want to live a longer piece of this life, so I will stay and make this my day off because I love these women and their children even though they are loud. But I become like the children too, screaming with them for pizza. We are all chanting, "Pizza, pizza, pizza!" and the Moms give in and we go back to 2430 to order pizza. We are joined by Tia and her daughter Jessie. Part of the Bloomington single Mom club. Tia wants to climb Mount Kenya. That is her dream. Her father is from Kenya. Her daughter wears a t-shirt with Bob Marley on it. Put in a movie to distract the children until the pizza gets here. It has been a loud day. I couldn’t do it. 4 children in an apartment this small. I am dizzy from the noise. When the pizza comes a relative calm is restored. All the children eat pepperoni and the adults eat supreme. I eat pepperoni with the children. We are all on the floor, there are no chairs. One of the other members of the Bloomington single mother’s club who is not present, will be watching the circus of children while the adults go out tonight. By the time the house is empty and the four of us sit on the living room floor to figure out what we are doing it is quite late. It takes us an hour just to wind down. We are going out for coffee. We are going dancing, we can’t make up our minds, Pauline and Johnathan are arguing. And in the end we don’t do either. The vortex. This apartment is impossible to get out of, between trying to get kids ready or in bed or quiet and some other strange sucking energy, 2430 is a vortex inescapable. We are too tired now. We sit exhausted, two couples, on the floor of the living room, across from each other, like we are looking into a mirror. But more like we are watching TV. "Hey, do something over there. We want to be entertained." So we watch and imitate each other like monkeys.

Eventually we turn the TV off and go to bed.

Laying there with the Angel I ask her about her life. It was harder than mine. She lived on the streets of Milwaukee. She ran away more times than she can count. She grew up on the road. She is raising two children alone. She asks me about my childhood. I tell her it was "apple pie and little league with a scoop of ice cream on the side." She laughs. I admire the Angel for being so strong. I hold her closer. I kiss her half sleeping, to carry over into dream. And then all dream.