50 MILES OF PHOENIX and THE EYE OF GOD
Day 26 Phoenix to Apache Junction
today: 32 miles cumulative:482
After my previous rests I have been afraid to walk out the door. I know what it means now, I know about the sunburn and the blisters and the people telling me to go to hell, but I also know that you can find crystal roses in the desert, and mothers at truck stops, and smooth sailing wind filled mast blue sky defying gravity. Today I am not afraid to walk out the door. It did feel like another life again, staying in that apartment, like a life I lived once in Denver when I was in school, it always feels like another life when I stop to rest. All of these rests trick me into thinking Im not really doing this. Sometimes I wish my body could do this straight through with no rest, sometimes I want that kind of insanity, because insanity and genius are so close. We walk that line between, and when we wash our faces with the water of insanity we sometimes come back with lightning bolts and flaming chariots to wake the sleeping masses, the greatest music, the greatest writing, the greatest art. I am sure insanity will come in the months ahead, I hope for it.
Back to the city, back to where I left off. 50 miles of Phoenix.
City walking is the most unrewarding, city walking makes me a pessimist, city walking is another day of work, another day where no one talks to me. People want me to go to hell. The people in these shopping complexes want me to go to hell, there are so many shopping complexes. So many people glaring. So many housing developments made of cheap wood, Trend Homes, Greenwood Estates, Ridgewood Heights, Etcetera Estates, so many Starbucks, BigO Tires, Office Maxs, Toys R Us, WalMart (the evil empire), McDonalds, Mattress Warehouse, 40 screen Movie multi Plex, chain Restaurant, chain store, units, numbers, etceteras. This place has a name, but it should have a number, it looks like a number, so does the next and the next; Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, bar code symbols. Passing through #00212, across the street from a Super K-Mart that is under construction, and is being painted white by 6 men with air compressors, smell of fresh paint, I see a peacock feather in the gutter.
Everyday there is something like this that saves my life. This peacock feather today. Its colors so bright it can't be real, but it is. It's pattern, the eye of God. The blues and greens in the center fade into the deepest black pigment, a color and surface that defy normal spatial relationships and tricks the eye into a deep receding hole, into an infinite pupil.
"The problem (that we must overcome in this journey (the journey of "The hero with a thousand faces") is to enlarge the pupil of the eye, so that the body with its attendant personality will no longer obstruct the view. Immortality is then experienced as a present fact. 'It is here! It is here!' " Is that why so many people eat those pills, those desert cactus, those fungus in the forests? To see beyond the attendant personality. Battle with a blow pop turned into the eye of god, conversations with the moon, a vision that wraps around until nothing is hidden, to hear grass growing. Immortality IS a present fact.
And so, tonight this eye of god opens my own, beyond the numbered cities, to the place in my mind where I fly on homemade wings. This feather will travel with me, in my hat, with the owl feather that I found in the desert. When I finish this walk I will have enough feathers to build the wings that carry me through my mind tonight, to fly forever, sailboat, blue sky, when all the numbers fall apart. Concrete blocks in the bottom of the ocean.
Down the street still sailing, James sits by a shopping cart, pulls me in for a word or two. Homeless, his wife raped and killed, he lost his mind and his children taken away. You cant pay your bills when youre crazy so he lost his house, lost his job, and when you really hit bottom like that how can you come back? Shelters full of drug addicts and drunks and fights or full of Christian propaganda force fed and he is not interested, so he is here on the streets until he dies. I want to take his photo but he does not want it to be taken. In his cart are a baseball bat, a golf club, and a crowbar, all wrapped with blue grip tape for swinging harder. I want to know more but the twitching scares me. I think I'll let this photo go.
Nearing Apache Junction a tire goes flat. The repair lasts 1/2 a mile, then it is flat again, and then it does not last a half a mile. The cart wobbles into the outskirts of Apache Junction. A drunk woman who calls herself Joe stops to see if we are OK, she wants to take us home, but there are no dogs allowed in Golden Viata's +55 retirement community with a fence and an electric gate with numbered keypad. She wants us to sleep safely so she leads us to a dumpster behind the Burger King. Nobody will bother us back there, she's sure. She feels terrible, I feel like a bum. She slips some money for breakfast into the cart when she thinks Im not looking. Sleeping behind a dumpster, but 32 miles on my feet today have made me very flexible. All I require is flat ground. In the night it rains a little so I curl up under a tarp with Cosmo. I am too tired and comfortable to get out and set up a tent. Before sunrise someone is at the dumpster, Cosmo growls, the PT-80 is in my hand. We stay low and wait, but fall asleep before we hear another sound. I think when we sleep our pupils are open. See 360 degrees.