A BLACK TORNADO SPINNING AROUND IN THE BODY
Day 32 A field on Reservation to Show Low today: 18 miles cumulative: 628
Paranoid of getting caught on the reservation I pack up quickly in cold first hours of THE day. But I remember that Cosmo needs to play so we walk together in the field. This is the first day we have done something between packing and walking. Dont make this job Aaron, stop sometimes before you are tired. Sit in the sun before your feet are broken. Run in circles with your dog.
On the road there are dead bodies everywhere. Like a cemetery, In memory of. In Memory of David Ramirez, on every Adopt A Highway Sign. In loving memory of David Ramirez is not doing a good job of cleaning up the side of the road. These are not supposed to be free billboards for the victims of car accidents, but that is what they have become. In loving memory of 18 people, one for every mile to Show Low. Plastic flowers and tinsel and American flags and photos and stuffed animals half eaten by animals. Two of these memorials have Christmas trees next to them, glass bulbs and tinsel and a star wired to the top of some small pine near the white crosses that mark the graves of two families killed a mile apart. They also have an In Loving Memory sign. This is the bloodiest stretch of highway I have encountered, judging by the number of crosses. Its harder to walk by these markers than to drive by. Like leaving chalk outlines where they lay. Please do not leave a chalk outline for me. No plastic flowers, let all decay and go on your way.
I may have lead you to think I wear a golden fleece, but I assure you it is certainly not real gold, I have used spray paint to cover the dark spots, evidence of the monster. Like oil coming to the surface there is a darkness that I have seen in myself. It is the wrecking ball, bloody battle field, swinging swords in Trojan War, Antietem, Cambodian killing fields, napalm death, and pipe bombs. Grit teeth until they break. Just an acknowledgment that I see the darkness that makes men break each other apart, we cannot deny that we have trickle of dark waters. Because all is one and there is no wall that separates the good from the bad, no hell that is absolute and separate from heaven, arch enemy for the good god to fight. Convenient to place that somewhere out there, when we know it is in here, creation and destruction sometimes the same action. The monster. A black tornado spinning around in the body sometimes.
I dont know what made me think of this today, just something that I taste in my throat, the monster reminding me that I am not so far away from madness. I have to acknowledge it without letting it touch me. I have walked through hell three times in my life, and on each occasion I have seen the end of struggle, I have seen the thing they call heaven. I have known perfect thought, perfect love, and I have heard the music of the end of the world, and by that I mean the end of the divisible. One. Believe me when I say there is dancing there. Your favorite song forever just for you and you never get tired of it, but the musical scale is extended to the infinite so it never sounds the same, it sounds like the voice of the sun if were a female, and it is in my life today, but even beyond that. It sounds like that one part in my favorite song, two notes that make me cry, but instead of lasting for just two notes it covers a range that I will never hear the end of, and lifts me into dance and tears of laughter, and I am cheering ?I made it! I made it!? And everyone hugs me and touching them I feel like I am touching my self because we made it back to the source, and yes, that one I hug is myself.
But I said the monster, and yes I had to pass through the monster and acknowledge that and brace myself against a wind that tried to tear me apart, tried to make me swing bloody battle axe. Made me want to break out of my skull to make it go away. Someone help me! But it IS inside and so I have to grab onto that incredible fear of forever pain and dark deep soul folding of death and turn it inside out to play that perfect note, because it is that flexible. That note that strikes the deepest fear can be turned by your mind and then your eyes open to that place where you will never be afraid again. It is a sound like music, but music is not the word I want to give you. It is not in our symbols or language so all I can say is that it is like music. And I think about it on the road sometimes, the times I went through hell and found out that there were one thousand doors from there to heaven. The same place. Perception. But yes, there is that dark ocean.
Smells like my mountains in Wyoming, ice and snow in the creek bottoms, song of pines swaying, rhythm of my feet, always rhythm of my feet, uphill and uphill and uphill. Show Low is cold and windy, I see no little cafes, just chain restaurants. I walk into town on the main street, the Deuce of Clubs. A Mexican restaurant with high backed chairs covered in black and white cowhide.
The music is too loud. At the big center table a woman with big hair drinks a marguerita. A woman to my left is very pissed off that her steak is not rare. Large ceramic plates on the wall look good, all the paintings are terrible. The only thing that separates me from the vagrants that pass through this town is a Platinum Master card in my pocket, the secret to my success, my shield. Getting smaller everyday. How did I get so much credit without having a job? How long can I play this game? How long until this gamble pays off? The people in my hometown think I am a drug dealer. I am not a drug dealer, I am a professional gambler, betting on human potential, faith in the journey, in tightrope without a net. I reflect on the fact that I am the perfect American. I am in ridiculous debt, and yet I have a 2x3 inch piece of silver plastic that I can use to buy a car, a washer and dryer, a vacation package for two, uno cerveca please, or a dog cart and some new sunglasses. That debt keeps this whole machine I am walking through running. A man I know once got rid of everything. I wish I was that strong. I am caught in the wake of excess, piles and piles. Simplify.
I dont know where I am going to sleep tonight. I have to take a day off. I need to loiter until I figure this out so I find a chain restaurant where I can get breakfast at night, they always let you sit and drink coffee for as long as you want. High schoolers in all the booths, its hard not being Mormon in this town they tell me. Roll up the side walks at dark. No rock and roll please, outsiders beware. The police like to hassle people with dog carts, watch where you sleep. They fill the salt shakers, throw the silver ware around, they hate working here, clean the salad bar, 25 cent tips. Fat children screaming and a machine filled with stuffed animals that you can try to pick up with a crane. I dont want to rest in this town. I need to meet some people tomorrow.
On the phone Alissa tells me she is thinking about stripping to make money. Flashback to living in my van with a stripper who used all her money for cocaine, all those days and nights trying to find her, trying to get her out of drug houses and suicidal binges, trying to save her life and in the process killing myself. 3 months of crying every day. Please dont be a stripper Alissa. She is not serious she jokes, shell just have to work a phone sex line or sell crack. The problem of my generation: you need money to make dreams come true, but to make money you have to give up your dreams. She needs money to go to L.A., to make more CDs, to pay for studio time, to pay for gas, to pay for food. Working at a coffee cart, baby sitting, house sitting, dog sitting, barely getting by. I want to pay for it, put it on my credit card, carry her to L.A. but I am drowning in my own debt, I can barely carry myself. I tell her she can move her piano into my house. That means she can live with me. That means nothing in the world would make me happier than having her live with me. But she is too big for Santa Fe, her voice could rule the world. A new monarchy. That perfect note. If only I could make it last forever. Yes it is a small part of that song that I heard at the end of the world. Alissa, you will make it. I will still love you in L.A. And then maybe someday you will move your piano into my house.
Today is the first day on this journey that someone is cruel to me. Black Tornado. Even though I am clean and 26 and have money in my pocket I am refused at the One Eyed Jack bar because the bartender doesnt like the way I look. Says he wont take anything but an Arizona Drivers license. I have a passport. Its been a long day, I just want a beer, damn it. Power trip. People like feeling superior, like having the power to hurt people, to embarrass people,. He rallies the whole bar and they all cheer when he points to the sign that says he can refuse service to anyone he wants. ?Yeh, get the hell out of here! You tell em!? People laughing. ?Youre out a here.? On the phone a police man tells me that those signs in bars that say ?we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone? Mean that they can discriminate for any reason they like. If they dont like people with dark skin or long hair or beards or red shirts they dont have to let them in, they can just point to the sign and spit their tobacco on the floor and say get the hell out of here. They have the right to discriminate on any basis, sorry, we cant help you. I have stepped back into the 1950s.
I want to mount my battle horse, wrecking ball, napalm raining down on this bar. But that is not where I need to put my energy. I feel the anger that is a monster and that is the dark stain, a black tornado spinning around in the body sometimes. But I walk away and I let him have his ugly power trip, I need my energy to walk. Caleb, a local teenager shows me a place to sleep in the trees where no one will see me if I get up early enough. Dont think about the ugliness. Let it go. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow you can walk out of this bad movie, a town with no music, a town where outsiders are not welcome. Cold wind blowing outside my sleeping bag. .