The River (NOLA ’06)

There was no sleeping on those nights. I knew this, but still I tried. Laying on my unfolded futon in my tiny room, I could see the faint glow of the full moon through the wooden slats covered by the blue-tarp roof.

The air thick and hot, it wrapped around me like a fever sheet as I finally got out of bed. I stepped the few feet to the kitchen, careful not to bang my toe on anything in the dark, and looked out my favorite window onto the street one floor below. The willow tree that on a breezy day would reach inside was as still as death, as was everything else I could see. The porchlights on the small homes across the street looked like they were shining through a light gauze, and leaning on my kitchen counter, gently pulling the branches of the willow through my hands & loving the feeling of its life, I knew that it was far too hot for me to sleep. I could either fold up my futon, sit down & write, or…

I looked at the clock. Still around 8 hours until I needed to be out at Jackson Square. I liked being there earlier, but definitely no later than 11am for the lunch crowd walking up & down Decatur. I would stand until the storms came through, nearly every day like clockwork around 2:30 or 3, and use that time to either grab a café au lait and beignet’s at Du Monde, or just sit on my milk crate and rest underneath the balcony of the nearest building, reading, writing, and waiting the hour or so it took for the thunder, lightning & rain to move on.

So much, I love the storms. Many times I would just sit there watching the rain splash into puddles of itself, and feel a charge roll through my body & mind as the lightning flashed & thunder rumbled across the sky, through my body. It felt like I was a part of it, and if I wanted to, if only I knew how, I could simply disappear into its magic & become a part of the storm’s passion, leaving everything behind & off to another new adventure…

Still naked, I put on some clothes & my boots, poured some ice-water into my thermos to bring with me, and stepped outside, locking my door behind me. At the top of the stairs I breathed in, and smelled the fragrant still air of the Southern night. Completely relaxed but eager to feel the wind on my face, I quietly walked down the stairs, unlocked my bike, then walked out the front gate on to Esplanade. I thought a few seconds, then realized – I knew exactly where I was going.

It felt beautiful to be riding through the streets. Everyone was inside & the city was still quiet from everyone leaving because of Katrina, so the streets were mine, & mine alone. In no rush to get where I was going, I swerved back & forth from side to side, sometimes riding up on to the sidewalk for a bit then back into the middle of the street, or randomly riding in extended figure 8’ts, at the top of each “8” moving just a little bit more in the direction I was going. The warm wind on my face felt glorious, and feeling so wonderfully light-hearted, knowing these moments were as perfect as they could possibly be, I wanted this one to last as long as it could.

Crossing through Jackson Square Park then Decatur, I smiled & circled around the spot where I would be standing again in just a few hours, visualizing hundreds of people putting 5’s, 10’s & 20’s into my busking box. I was still saving up for a van to get Raven & I to Burning Man, as I’d promised her a ride a month or so before without having a ticket or any way to get us there at the time, but knowing things would work out. In those days, they always did. In those days, I was magic.

There was no one around, so I didn’t bother locking my bike – just laid it down off the sidewalk on the rocks. There was a soft glow from the moon, but still I was proud of myself that I had thought to bring a flashlight as I stepped from rock to rock, down to the river. Finding a good rock to sit on right on the edge of the Mississippi, I saw the cargo ships downriver, silent, still, & peaceful. I couldn’t help but think of what it was like a hundred years ago, remembering all I could of “Huck Finn”. I guess if I ever had a hero, someone I wanted to emulate, it would, without question, be him – with a good helping of Samuel Clemens thrown in for writing & the Gentleman.
Feeling on my face the slightest whisper of a cool breeze coming off the river the full moon giving just enough to see the ripples in the water moving with the current… and as I sat there savoring this perfect solitude, I felt my heart beating and strong, full with the beauty of this life.

Advertisements

bones

She reads.
All of me – all of my life, my loves, my mistakes, my small triumphs…

She reads it all. Every. Fucking. Word… that I have written

– except for the seven handwritten journals, the countless bar napkins, torn pieces of paper that needed the ink in my heart, all of the words that have been tossed out of a car window to decay, to rot…

but perhaps those again in time… I hope not. Far too much rot.

She reads, rattles the bones of my past. I gave her permission. She didn’t need to ask, but – she did.
When she finds something that speaks to her, she says little but the date, sending it to me in a message. Sometimes, with her own few words or part of mine.

Where did I find you?
How much will you cost?

Rattle and cast these bones, tell me what they say.

I will pay any price for you – but I will not give everything.
I will keep this language and its source – the boiling in my blood, the passion in this heart… but I give my heart to you.

Not sure how that works… but it does.

You remind me of who I have been.

You remind me of who I am.

Is it odd to shed tears for a past that can’t be brought back?

risk in honesty

As I said to Anne-Marie Goco earlier in the night, I miss ticket stubs.

Something to put in my overflowing box of nostalgia, filled with letters from past lovers & friends, mementos, photo-booth images & trinkets that mean the world to me.

I open it every few years, and just one thing can take me back to such special times.

Another small box is packed with all that Stardust sent me. Cloth, gifts, notes, a leather cuff she made with my name on it. We fell in a strange type of love through words alone, sent went while I was in NOLA, she in L.A.

I would like to think that it isn’t me that has changed – I have the same heart, the same mind, just a bit more worn and weary.

I would like to think that in writing to a maybe her that I am the same person.

What I write, what I risk in my words only reveals what I value… but perhaps I am not the same person.

A bit less carefree, a lot more inappropriate in a world of red flags and red-tape caution. A wrong word, a bit too much heart and suddenly you don’t give a fuck who I truly am. Who I am outside of my words.

Admittedly, I say foolish things. I have a tendency to say what I feel… or, at least I did.

Is that really so foolish?

 

For the past months and recently I have wondered where I have gone wrong, what has changed in my writing, and though I notice I am not as eloquent, little has changed with me.

I still believe in love and risk. I still am not afraid to say what I feel to someone I value.

That seems to be my weakness. I will say what I feel almost all of the time, and then realize…

That I am so very weary of all the reasons, either true or contrived.
I don’t wonder anymore where my passion went – it is still there, still here, but just simply not allowed in world of anti-social media. I have pushed it away and tried to not be me. Fluff is what seems to be important.

I have a box – a few boxes, that have been repaired, adorned, and are sacred to me for the memories that are inside of them.

In my life I have never known so many people – and I have never felt so alone.

This is not what I lived for.

I will continue to fight. I still believe in love. I still believe in and have passion, and I still have dreams.

I wait for a someone to share the same, and we will help each other fight for what seems to have been forgotten.

And together we would blind the world in our shine…