Archive for Mississippi

“Smoke Bend” Dollar Bill Johnston (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Now it’s winter on the river, and a cold swift swollen tide meets a warm southern breeze from the gulf of memories.  

Every year, around the 9th of October, I fall into a funk. This blue mood is a complete mystery to me until the part of myself that’s been trying it’s best to keep the date from me will lag,  inevitably exhausted, and it will hit me. Oh! Right. That. The day that my father left this lousy place for good. The day that changed everything. The day that was so swollen with uncontainable sadness that even now, all these years later, it still will not be contained.    

      

I have another tough week in the spring. Another mysterious doom. “So?” Steffe’ll ask, pensively. “How are you? You always get down whenever y’know… me too. I miss him too.” And then it’ll hit me. Oh. Right. That. The week that our friend Paul had a heart attack in Florida, while shacked up with another poet on a houseboat.     

   

Souls have a secret calendar of agony.  

The Robot fades to black every year ’round labor day. The holiday serves as a hard-to-suppress reminder of the weekend his cousin/ little brother/best friend put a gun to his own temple. He was drunk and fighting with his girl friend, suddenly desolate, momentarily stupid. Maybe he meant to mash the trigger, maybe not. Those kind of over-wrought emotional moments can color the future with what is really just a temporary explosion of too too much. I keep a close eye on RB as the holiday nears. He wouldn’t do something so drastic but still, the date itself is a reminder of how hopelessness can swallow a grown folk whole.  

Like a snake eats an alligator.   

The gator goes down easier than you’d think.     

   

(Though I did see a story where a python tried to eat an alligator and the snake exploded… so that’s oddly comforting.)     

These last few days, I was hit by another mysterious gloom. It began with three days of insomnia — I was amped & aimless, annoyed with TV, avoiding the computer –followed by 15 hours of boulder-like sleep. It was a sleep-monster Saturday: ’round 4, Robo put me down like a toddler in need of nap; I reluctantly dozed off at the approach of 6; woke up at 3am to finish/post the gospel but mostly spent 2 hrs staring vacantly into space; then came Gospel!? We don’ need no stinkin’ gospel!; at 10am the Robot woke me with my favorite breakfast. I’m still annoyed and considering sending him back for reprogramming. It wasn’t until I finally got online that I ran smack dab into the Oh. Right. That.     

 Katrina.     

   

There, on the wordpress dash sat a letter from a reader/ friend, bummed about the anniversary of Katrina and wondering where-o-where was the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel? Ah. Arggghrr. (That’s an argh that becomes a grr.) In a split second of watery blinking, I decided to forsake my previously planned song in favor of another song which we played constantly in the wake of that fateful & fatal storm. Before too, but so so often after. This song has meant the world to myself and the loverman (why, he was just a little robot, maybe 8 or 9, when he first started reading The Times Picayune; wishing he could get into the city, good old Big Easy, to see Black Sabbath at City Park.)     

We played that record ragged. That album was our refuge in the storm. That smoking Piggie was a good gentleman friend to us. The song is “Smoke Bend.”  The album is The Gourds 2002 release “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig.”      

   

Yes, I know we’ve just done The Gourds recently but we’re talking about Katrina today and for me, there is only one Katrina song.     

 “Smoke Bend” by the Gourds with Dollar Bill Johnston.      

Dollar Bill Johnston joins The Gourds on stage

Dollar Bill is the father is the father of Gourd, Max Johnston (also of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.)  Interestingly, Max’s sister and Dollar Bill’s daughter is singer/song-writer Michelle Shocked, who I love.       

        

They’re sandbaggin’ the levees     

They’re shovelin’ night and day     

It’s the year of ’27     

Gonna wash us all away     

 This song was not written about Katrina. Which in my mind, for my purposes, makes it better. Rather it’s about the ever-present worry that the levees might break and if so, then what?    

 The levee gonna bust     

On your side or mine     

A little dynamite on your side     

Help the river make its mind     

It’s about the day that you hope never comes. It’s about the risks we all take in life whether it’s living in the basin of New Orleans or loving even when you know know how much losing is gonna hurt.    

 Folks left that west bank town     

 Left it all behind     

 Start life on higher ground     

 Gonna get out just in time     

 I didn’t grow up in New Orleans, but I was worried by my own what-if’s.    

Even as a small child, my attachment to my father was so enormous that I was haunted by his mortality. This what-if stayed with me through-out my life. In college, laying in bed one night, I tried to picture the cruel day and could imagine no future for myself beyond it. I saw myself in my messy closet, tucked in the fetal position, refusing to come out. Ever. By the time it happened for real, that closet was long gone, and I was living in Austin, but I could still find the fetal position.     

It must’ve been crazy growing up in New Orleans in the shadow of what if?    

 After all, that’s was the place I wished to be.     

   

I’m a corn-fed midwestern girl (by way of A! I! Ohio!) so I’m not native to the south. But I wanted to be, oh I wanted it so badly, always, and I think that counts for something. It always made sense, jived with my version of self. I’ve kinda secretly way-down-deep-in-me thought of myself as the Delta Lady, the epitome of southern eccentricity. When I was very young, probably too young to long for such obscenity, I’d listen to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” and think “That’s me! There I am! Standing wet and naked in the garden.”     

   

So it’s no surprise that this secret self-appointed Delta Lady found herself a mint julep of a southern gentleman.     

The Robot’s often spoke of the hurricane parties people have while weathering out the storm. They drink hurricanes, play cards and hope like hell. His stories were always punctuated with “Oh, you’d love it. You especially would love it!” ??? 

A hurricane party?     

   

It did sound like something I’d adore — the enforced play, the mandatory leisure; the tendency towards hedonism or at least too many hurricanes; the chaotic familiarity of community and iffy festivity of gatherings; kids running wild, adults divulging secrets; all that human energy, all that snap crackle pop, and over-top — the bristling electricity of sky & fear.      

But after Katrina, I dunno… it sounds too… scary.      

Robotboy grew up in Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, so his family was hit. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over the family home. It was scary and it was scary even for us, waiting to find out if everyone was okay. They were. They lost a roof and few 100 year trees, a prized pecan, but our people were all very lucky. But then they weren’t depending on the levees…       

    

“Smoke Bend” is about the day that we hope will never come, and yet we know it will, and still that changes nothing.     

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley     

  There’s poison in the air     

 There’s new dangers on the river     

 It’s so good to be from there      

    

We continue to love whatever it is we’re so afraid to lose. Once we’ve lost out, the love goes on. That’s another little something we can count on.     

{{MP3 17 – Part II – Smoke Bend}}   

Smoke bend 

CHORUS:

Now it’s winter on the river

And a cold swift swollen tide

Meets a warm southern breeze

From the gulf of memories

Missouri and clear Ohio

Give their currents to the tide

Now the river’s Louisiana’s

For the willow tree-lined ride

From cruel Angola down to Venice

Scatterin’ horseshoes everywhere

The river’s Louisiana’s

With no glory or bank to share

If the river had its way

The Atchafalaya’d be its home

Straighten out them horseshoes

Find another bank to roam

There’s cane fires up the bank

Of that horseshoe of Smoke Bend

The smoke was double thick

And the fog was rollin’ in

Tie your boat to a willow tree

Climb the bank so high

Above the blanket on the river

See every star in the sky

Smoke fog and family

Kept to that west bank town

Smoke and fog would burn and blow away

The folks they’d stay around

There was catfish with the Kingfish

And a culture spice gumbo

There’s coonass music playing

On a glowin’ radio

Klan and crackers on the side

At the Last Chance Cafe

Crawfish etouffee

Warm red river Beaujolais

CHORUS

They’re sandbaggin’ the levee

They’re shovelin’ night and day

It’s the year of ’27

Gonna wash us all away

The levee gonna bust

On your side or mine

A little dynamite on your side

Help the river make its mind

Folks left that west bank town

Left it all behind

Start life on higher ground

Gonna get out just in time

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley

There’s poison in the air

There’s new dangers on the river

It’s so good to be from there

CHORUS

**************************************

Stay ahead of the snake, y’all, don’t get swallowed up cause really that’s silly, a gator in the belly of a snake, c’mon? Even a python! C’mon! And it’s not safe for the snake either. So just lift yer snout outta the swamp n’ hum a little cajun tune or maybe that one about the river, who did that one? The potatoes? The parsnips? The Gourds! With Dollar Bill Johnston!   

 So whaddaya say, alkies, got a hankerin’ for hurricanes? Well, why’ont you whip us up a pitcher!     

  

Thank’s to Mike — fellow Austinite, who grew up in Chalmette — for documenting his own (from afar & helpless) vigil during the storm and subsequent obsession with the recovery of his homeland. See his story and more of his storm photos (like above.) 

Immerse yourself in gourdy goodness at the band’s sweet sight, complete with wood round rekerd playa.   

If you’re in love with “Smoke Bend” (and you should be) the song can be downloaded for 99 cents. A great song for the price of a candy bar. The album “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig” available on amazon.  If you’re not ready for the I couldn’t nor wouldn’t begin to suggest where future aid should be sent so I open comments to suggestions.  

*************************************************   

Today’s edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel is dedicated to everyone who saw Nola through that storm as well as to those who continue to be with her now. To those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, schools, churches, haunts. To those still healing and still helping in the aftermath.     

My heart aches for all of you, for your families wherever they may live, and for every one who had their heart mangled by that hurricane (even if “only” in an an empathic human way)  

Today was hard for people, people’s hearts are still hurting. Even those not directly affected by Katrina, even those hearts are clenched like angry fists. In a strange sad way, Katrina became a shared trauma, a throbbing dated ache that yearly seizes up. Katrina blew through our TV screens and flooded our family rooms. Which is not to diminish the unfathomable experience of being in New Orleans both during and after that storm; nor the losses borne by other areas hit by Katrina.

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“Cracklins” (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I gotta find some weed and some wine! I just got to find some trouble sometime!  

They’re called The Gourds. They say their music is for “the unwashed  & the well-read.” I’ve oft-referred to them as “Austin in a can”…frothy, cold and startin’ to sweat straight outta the icebox. Pop the top and out comes the sound of Austin in a musty, malty swoosh.  

The Gourds are (left to right): Max Johnston, Claude Bernard, Jimmy Smith, Keith Langford and Kevin Russell.

Goof-damn, there’s been so many good gourd-carved memories!  

Hearing ’em live for the first time ever at the tiny Cactus Cafe, a room as big as y’all’s den; dancing with Leah at Antones, on one of her last A-TX visits before she got married and became Sophia’s momma; flirting with Cha by the lake at twilight as The Gourd’s tore it up cuntry-style.  

Then there was that sticky sunset, driving into El Paso on my way to The Unified Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson (University of Arizona.) After a long blistering day on I-10, I celebrated crossing the Texas border (finally!) by repeatedly cranking “El Paso.” Cigarette on a rumble seat, drive all day got nothing to eat. I’m Drivin’ all day,  got nothing to get me to where I’m going to. El Paso I’m going to, El Paso I’m going tooo….  

Let’s see? What else?  

Ah, the annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. One in particular, at The Parish. I wore my elaborate indian headdress & daisy yellow tights under a black mini-dress (trusty LBD of the day) and all night long I played the hell outta my tiny toy accordion! We passed a bottle of bubbly (my prize for best-dressed) and we sputtered laughing cause it was just the kinda New Year’s Eve that you expected to have as a kid, while all the Grups were out partying and you stayed home to watch the ball drop with Grandma. The RobotBoy had a robot mask and we danced all night –rung in the new year right.  

Yep, so many of the gourds-soaked memories are romantic: like “Hallelujah Shine” on the radio those days, those nights in a dark dash-lit car, when the Robot and I were first falling in love.  If you want to meet the Jesus, you gotta go down there brother. If you wanna meet Muhammad, you gotta get in the water. If you want yer hallelujah shine, you gotta go under. You gotta go under Jordan’s mighty waters. This hallelujah shine is mighty dark & old!

If we ever get married — the ‘bot and I — we’d love to have an old-fashioned country carnival: snake-charmers, burlesque dancers, fried chicken and gin-soaked watermelon. RobotBoyLoverMan would don a seer-sucker suit and candy-striped socks. My dress would be all sweet & kicky; something shorter, since a long train would collect grass-stains. Instead of flowers —  as my “bouquet” — I’d tug a swaying, bobbing bunch of balloons. My bridesmaids would sparkle beneath paper parasols, six gorgeous faces shadowed from the Mississippi sun. Speaking of that sun! Let the sucker set! As the sun melts like a butterscotch, The Gourds’ll kick off a raucaus set with “Cracklins!” (Maybe later they’d indulge with a cover of Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.”???) 

(At this point, after 11 loyal years together, it’s worth waiting until gay marriage is legalized or until we have the budget for The Gourds.)
 
  
I’ve only  just arrived back here in Podunk, Mississippi, having come from Austin, Texas (at this point, I call both cities home… each one homey for different reasons) and after a long roadtrip, I’m thinking damn if it isn’t high-as-hell time that we featured “Cracklins” by The Gourds as a perfectly punk-ass Punk Rock Gospel selection. 
 
The song makes me wish I was a wicked cracklins connoisseur but no. I’m no fan of real-life pork skins. They’re stinky and they’re furry. I prefer my snack foods to be hairless. But hey, I got nothin’ but good things to say ’bout some weed and some wine and some trouble some time.
 

 

“Cracklins” is about recovery, reinvention, redemption! 

Reincarnation! Resurrection!! 

“Cracklins” reminds us that “living out loud” (as G*word would say) is a joyous & good thing — a great big noisyness, a holy ruckus, a prayer the gods are sure to hear!!!
 
I just gotta find a little trouble sometime.
 
When Blood of the Ram first came out( in 2004) I played “Cracklins” for my friend Mary Knott and she thought I was nuts! Especially when I started crying at the end — weeping really, like a stone statue of Mary. All overwrought & goof-touched. All giddy & awe-struck.
 
It’s been years and “Cracklins” still gives me chills.
 
Them Mississippi state police chased me, Pascagoula all the way to Metarie. I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs. A jar of sauce, some white bread and a bib.
 
“Cracklins” is an anarchist psalm & a trickster yodel. A holy hell holler & a crooked halo.

An ode to the outlaw! 

A sly nod to all that’s mysterious & mischievous & miraculous about the human spirit.

 Hot DAMN! 
 
Come all ye holy hedonists, this shit’s for you!

  

Listen up! 

Don’t read the lyrics until you’ve listened to the song or you will spoil the surprise at the end which is the very best part and the reason why “Cracklins” makes for good gospel.   

   

Cracklins  

31 days my fingers feel like rain. 

This jail was built on cracklins and cocaine. 

Policemen knocked me down and then charged me, 

With smokin and inciting vagrancy,

yes ‘ey did, yes ‘ey did. 

***

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime. 

***

Them Navasota troopers ran me down, 

Escorted me right out of town, 

For cherry pickin’ squirrels and feedin’ dogs, 

And dreamin of Jamaica in a fog.

Yes I did, yes I did.

***

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime.

***

Them Mississippi state police chased me, 

Pascagoula all the way to Metarie. 

I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs, 

A jar of sauce, some white bread and a bib.

Yes I did, Yes I did.

*** 

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime.

Time, time. I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna get it.

*** 

I was eatin cracklins as the Feds were closin’ in. 

They watched the water as my car went rollin’ in. 

They dragged the river and notified my next of kin. 

But brother, pigs do fly and so can a man! 

When he’s full of fried pork skins!!

Yes, sir! 

Whew!

**********************************************************   

Love love love! 

How ’bout a talisman to honor The Gourd’s teachin’? By PaganGypsy, only $5 bucks on etsy.  

 

In the mood for pork cracklins? See Emeril Legasse’s recipe for homemade cracklins!  

 Go thee to the gourds website  

TBA/Quintron & Miss Pussycat Holdover (Sunday PM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Dork Alert, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart Funny Femmes, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd, Music & Life & Sundays, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Technicolor Pop, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Mornin’ lovers… I bow my head before you, blue curls a blur of bedhead bedlam.  I am thunderstruck, drowsy….contrite.

Did you notice the PM in today’s title?

Ah. Blame it on the road, on the lure of the highway, on gas stations, on rainbows in oil puddles!  

Blame it on Hruskas (hybrid bakery/chevron) for making delectable yum-yums that had us rearranging our return date not once, not twice but three times. These suckers sell out fast and getting the really good stuff is some sort of competitive sport. Seriously! But oh it’s worth it. Egg sandwich — ooey gooey goodness — on fresh-baked croissant with a home-cut off-kilter slab of ham. And then there’s the cherry cream cheese kolaches that could maybe make a nympho nun cum.

Blame it on the baby with a sticky face, calling my name loud & clear from across the room; who later cried and cried until I untied my cupcake apron and offered up my lap as safe harbor. Blame it on the tears that dissolved into hiccups as I read about the pigeon who wanted a puppy but then met a real life slobbery pup and decided a walrus was a more practical choice.

Blame it on my own pups, let loose in the country, romping in the warm green Mississippi grass.

Blame it on Quintron & Miss Pussycat playing a Saturday night show in New Orleans in the old Shim Sham Club (you’ll always be Shim Sham to me xoxo.)

Blame it on Miss Pussycat’s puppets!

No.

Don’t frame the puppets.

Poor poor puppets.

Isn’t their lot quite a lot as it is?

It’s all the fault of rowdy pups & raucous thunderclaps which cause one pink-nosed pitbull to cower behind my protective legs.

Or maybe it’s the pelting rain and electric zigzags which keep knocking me offline?

OK. OK. Chalk it up to summery sloth.

I’m off to slumber, all sleepyhead fulla surprises.

Surprises?

The gospel — still in draft — is nearly written and the song is chosen but I’m not tellin’.

It’s a good one and it’s my gift to give — I know how some of you are with your google! You’d google Santa right off his sleigh if you could.

No, no, come back later and let me give you a belated gift. Oh, I’m giddy!

 

But I want it to be perfect and so I’ll wait… for a less-cloudy sky and a less-foggy mind.

In the meantime, for your patience, here’s a crazy wonderful surreal treat from Quintron & Miss Pussycat: “Mardi Gras in the Center of the Earth.”

More surprises? Clue: “Blue”… Look for it! (Any guesses?)

Nightmares, Roadside Tragedy and Other Vampiric Ick

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Books & Writing, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Psyche & Sexuality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by alphabetfiend

As a day, this one has taken an odd toll.

I awoke from a nightmare in which my little brother (a sweet affable fellow who is nothing but adoring, loving, forgiving and kind… to everyone, but to big sister certainly) was horribly vicious to me. I was writing a play in the dream and it was going well, very. I had that feverish creative energy-influx that happens when I’m working, and happens with giddy intensity when the work is going well. The play was about a young pre-pube boy and — this being a dream, a good dream at first — the play was pure lovely genius.

(I’ve had a YA novel about a young boy stewing in the far back of my mind, in real life, although it is developing so far back that it feels almost dream-like. The book has a steampunk theme which adds to the dreamy quality. I write literary fiction, not YA or sci-fi genre fiction so this project, if published, would be published under a pen-name.)

As I was dreaming, I assumed that the play must be referencing this project’s viability. Writing in dreams and buzzing/thrilling over the work is, for me, akin to sex dreams, only better because I prefer that writerly jangle to any other feeling in the world. So this was a damn good dream until suddenly the goodness and the writing were shattered by this familial attack which took me not just away from the writing but away from all semblance of security and comfort, leaving me homeless. The love my brother has for me in real life was completely non-existent and he terrorized me with relentless cruelty. I was especially stunned by this because things were going so well with the writing and how could he do this to me when I was peaking creatively??

(Of course those in the know will recognize that this has nothing at all to do with my brother and everything to do with the events of the past year; my best friend would snort at that “last year” part and point out that these issues go much farther back.) My brother has been a loyal ally in this mess and definitely didn’t deserve to be portrayed this way by my subconscious.

In fact when I called him, crying, he teased “You crazy dreamer!”

“I dreamt you didn’t love me, ” I sniffed.

“Not true, “ he said. “I do love you. I love you dearly.”

Normally, after a nightmare, I like to go back to sleep and re-work it in my favor like a good little lucid dreamer, but Mr. and Mrs. Robot had surprised me with a shiny new fridge for the Mississippi love shack and it was due to be delivered this morning. Yes, poor me, nobody loves me, everybody hates me, mize I go eat worms. Here I am, lavished with love, spoiled rotten like a summer peach, and yet sobbing into my pillow over imaginary unkind acts. Yet, I couldn’t shake my woe as I emptied out the old fridge in preparation for the new fridge’s arrival. Nothing helped to alleve my ill-temper, not the Bot’s sweet buss or the nuzzling of the baby wookie; not the loving assurances of my brother or the new “icebox” as Mrs. Robot says in her southern way. Not even my baby niece screaming “DIA! DIA!” as she runs to me for hugs & sugars. (She has just started to include the “i” rather than calling me “Da.”)

Then my big niecey shows up (little niecy’s too-young mama, I call them Thing 1 and Thing 2.) We’re gushing over the baby’s cuteness and plotting an art project for tomorrow, when Thing 1’s boyfriend comes in and says, “It’s good y’all got held up yesterday or you’da been on the road when that semi crossed the median.”  Why? Were there fatalities? Robot Boy hands me the paper and there on the front page is the familiar sad image from the day before. Up until that moment I’d held out hope — foolish hope — that everything had been okay.

Yesterday, we were just about to walk out the door for a much anticipated errand into town, the 9th of July being the expiration of our rip-off cell phone contract. Our family was now free to move to ATT and join the iphone madness. Thing 1 had been waiting for this day for weeks, warning the lazier members of the family (Robo and myself) that she wanted to be there at 9 am on the dot and would not tolerate our usual night-owl excuses or late-starts. I was so worried I’d over-sleep, I ended up with insomnia but hey I was there with bells on, no delays. But then Uncle Robot suggests to Thing 1 that she call around and make sure the iphones are in stock, offering to drive to the coast if needed. A short while later, having learned that there wasn’t an iphone to be had in all of MS or LA, we’re off to cancel our old service and place an order for future iphones. We looked like a clown car, packed in like sardines. Thing 1 and I shared the tiny backseat with Thing 2’s carseat. Slowing to a crawl on a normally breezy stretch of highway, we knew it couldn’t be good. The debris on the side of the road — including a wheelchair, lonely and eerie on the sunlit asphalt — made us squirm.

Well, the state troopers are filming it, says the Robot gravely. So there were fatalities.”

I desperately hoped that he was mistaken.

That was just after 9 am. We went on to have a great day of family togetherness:  jumping on the iphone bandwagon, sharing a nice lunch at Olive Garden of all places. Thing 1 was thrilled. Thing 2 was adorable. Mrs. Robot was proud to be out and about with her children. The Robot and I were just digging on the cozy vibes —  glad to be in town, making our loved ones happy. It was after 2pm as we headed home, so we were shocked to see the accident still there on the other side of the highway. Only now, that side of the road was closed off, as they laboriously lured a canary yellow rig with trailer still attached out of the brushy woods.

The road had been closed for so long that people were out of their cars and milling about on the hot tar. SUVs with impatient drivers spun their wheels in the swampy muck of the median; stuck like sitting ducks, now in need of their own tow trucks, awaiting police citations.

A hush fell over our happy car.

Thing 1 tucked her chin into her chest and resisted the urge to suck her thumb (a hard habit to break.)

My heart broke at the sight of that wheelchair, knowing with certainty that this was indeed the same accident and not just some new nothing.

It wasn’t nothing, it was SOMETHING and, for that family that lost 4 members in the blink of an eye, it was an ENORMOUS SOMETHING.

They were from our same po-dunk town (a town that can barely afford to lose four citizens.) They were a family heading into “town.” There were too many of them crammed into too small a vehicle. We were 5 (4 and 1/2?) and they were 4. We were in Thing 1’s itty-bitty KIA, they were in a pick-up (wheelchair loaded into the bed of the truck?) Myself and Thing 1, we weren’t wearing seatbelts. Same thing with three of them. One was Mrs. Robot’s age, another was my age. They were on the same stretch of road that we would’ve been on if not for Uncle Robot wanting to give his niece immediate ipod satisfaction. It could easily have been us — mowed down on a Friday morning, after the front tire blew out on an 18-wheeler, causing the driver to lose control and shoot across the median into oncoming traffic. Or we could have been the woman behind the pick-up who wasn’t hurt, except that she had to watch the whole thing happen which surely shaved a good ten years off her life.

Damn if that doesn’t put it all into perspective.

My heart breaks for that family, for that woman who witnessed the accident and even for the truck driver who escaped with minor injuries. I’m from a trucking family; my Dad ran a trucking company and his Daddy before him and his Daddy before him. I know that a driver never gets over this kind of thing. I know he faces his own rueful suffering.

Up until this morning, ignorance was bliss. I could still believe that they survived the accident. I’m fully aware of how quickly everything changed for them, and for the surviving members of their family. It’s not meaningful because it could’ve been us, but it’s that proximity — having seen the real-life version of that grainy newspaper photo — that makes it all the more real.

It sits sticky and heavy in my gut, like black tar and roadside gravel.

This dreary afternoon, done with chores and family socializing, having sat crying over the newspaper, I retreated to bed. I pulled my laptop onto my belly for more research on my recent obsession with William Blake’s painting “The Ghost of a Flea.” How icky could that be right? Yea. I ended up reading this spooky, creepy stuff about vampiric entities and mind parasites. Sonofabitch. I’m done with this damn day. Except it’s a Saturday and I have to write the Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel. The song I’d planned on is far too cheery. (Devo? No.) So don’t be surprised if this Sunday is more of a silent be grateful for what you have cause it could gone in a flash kinda Sunday.

*************************************

Author’s Addendum: having thought of the perfect song — “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” — I managed to do the Punk Rock Gospel. I featured the versions by Reverend Gary Davis (who did it originally) and the ever-brilliant Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. For a fine musical post-script to this shitty Saturday see Sunday’s Death don’t have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.)

**************************************

Out of respect for the family, I have decided not to mention the names of the deceased. This writing was about the witnessing. This is not my loss, these aren’t my loved ones, and those aren’t my names to drop. They were our towns folk however. I didn’t know them but Mrs. Robot did; she says the family ran (runs?) a dance school for kids. Our hearts go out to their family. We ache for the monumental loss that no one family should have to bear. I hate that this has happened and I’m so very sorry for everyone involved. These photos are not mine, they were taken by Channel 4 wwltv, where more details are available.

A Slow-Mo Wednesday on WordPress

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Books & Writing, Friendship, I Heart Friends, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by alphabetfiend

It was a slow, rainy day in Mississippi, which I craved after the chaotic heat of the last few weeks. The Robot asked if I wanted to drink beer on Magazine Street and I said no no no. No Nola today, not for me.

I was too exhausted from blowing the blooms offa roses like they waz fuzzy dandelions. I was too zapped from biting my tongue while my best friend talked crazy talk, just nodding my head when she said he waz her soulmate. I was over-wrought from bawling my eyes out on the porch steps cause crazy makes no fuckin’ sense but there’s no way to say it so there’s nothing to do but cry. I figgered she’d get there herself and she did.

She sez “Oh, the blooms off, it’s flat-out gone. Someone came along and blew it off, sent petals flying everywhere, and it was YOU!” And little trickster me, why I’ve never been prouder, even though her realization had her packing up a whole week early. After she pulled out, I crawled into bed and CRASHED. I slept for 12 hours, woke up, ate breakfast and then went back to sleep for another 4 hours. Now I’m curled up with the canine trinity and happy as hell to be here and not on Magazine Street.

On the plus side, I won’t be getting in trouble for my big mouth (again) because she does not read this. She reads everything I’ve ever written but not this. The very mention of wordpress or Cream Scene Carnival or bliggety-blog-blabla is enough to have her rolling her eyes as she stubs out her cig with ragged impatience. I said I was in an introspective writerly place and her face lit up, “Fiction?”  When I said no, her face fell like an avalanche. I’m so lucky, I know, to have someone champion my work. For 18 years, she’s been my biggest fan, but she hates this and hasn’t hesitated to say so. Why? Hmmm. She thinks it’s below me, that it’s a waste of my precious time, that it will lead nowhere (or rather, it won’t lead to her being able to see me on the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble and therefore, it’s going nowhere.) She thinks some asshole will stumble on my writing, either here or elsewhere on wordpress where I’ve posted the first 20 chapters of a novel in first draft (Pure Sweet Chocolate Sense) and that they will steal my stuff and use it to get where I should be going. I’d write it off as total paranoia but she’s been right about assholes before. She’s got a nose for assholes (this week not withstanding.)

I should be ecstatic that someone cares enough to obsessively worry like my friend does… and I am. Sorta. It’s odd being griped at for not writing when writing is all I’m doing these days. She feels I’ve got a gift for fiction and that fiction is where I belong. Fiction is my first love, my true love, but even at 10 yrs old I knew I wanted to master other forms of writing. I always expected to write everything from poetry to free-lance magazine columns/articles, from love letters to graffiti…. Cream Scene Carnival is representative of that creative mish-mash. Maybe if she took a real look at CSS she’d see “ME” in it and chill, but probably not. Like her, the word “blog” makes me bristle. Something about it seems not quite right… not quite “write.” I don’t really consider CSS a blog so much as a digital zine. If I “made it” as a blogger but not as a writer, I’d be devastated and then dead from all the I told you so’s. Which is not to say that I don’t think real quality writing is happening within the blog-o-sphere. Maybe it’s just about linguistics and literary pretension.

Still, I’m proud to be a Cream Scene carnie these days and grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from the people I’ve met through wordpress. I’m energized by the back and forth, the intimacy, and the immediacy of being able to knock something out and put it up to be read right that minute. I love how I never know what’s gonna make an impact and so I’m always surprised. I totally dig my dash — all the searches, the pathways people took to get to me, and sometimes to get back to me which is even better. It’s starting to happen where everyday someone is searching for “Cream Scene Carnival” in particular or else “Dia VanGunten writer/circus freak” or “TV sex carnival Dia Van” or some other variation on either my name, the site name or a specific post title. That never used to happen and now that it has, I’m paying close attention. 

I once got 900 hits in just one day for a post about Amy Poehler and Will Arnett’s first born. I’m a fan of both and so I was watching SNL and then on the late-late news, they said that Poehler had gone straight to the hospital from her final night on SNL, which had just aired. I giddily typed it up, never expecting the onslaught of views. It was timely, because it was late on a Saturday night/early on a Sunday morn and I was up anyway trying to get the punk rock gospel up for my “congregation” of misfit mystics. I ended up being one of the first to report it, even before Hollywood gossip sites, so I was top o’ google and still get hits for that post 2 years later. I’ve slaved over other posts — masterpieces in comparison, well thought-out, finely-crafted writing wise and typo-free — but they’ve been viewed by one very reliable reader and I always know it’s him cause he hops over from his own wordpress dash. I don’t mind either way. Really, to be honest, I write for myself first and then for that RELIABLE ONE… it’s all gravy after that. Lately, it’s looking like I have a reliable few and that’s cool too. Very.

In regard to my expectations for myself or the expectations that others have for me (see more of the above) — it’s those specific searches that most thrill me. It’s one thing to get lottsa hits as one person after another stumbles upon you because you’ve done a good job of staying current and guessing on that next big thing or even inventing that next big thing (in the case of one of my notorious top posts.) But it’s another thing entirely to be searched out, either because they’ve read you before and they dug it, or because they’ve heard from someone whose taste they trust that there’s something kinda freaky-deeky goin’ on over at “Cream Scene Carnival” and so they take the time to google and then to read. You end up with readers both ways but with the latter, you can see it happening and that’s a blast.

     
Lusty Luddite Looking to Seduce Lonely S 21 More stats
Home page 9 More stats
True Blood Theme Song: “Bad Things” by J 7 More stats
Peggy Hill in Flint’s Palin Porn: hot XX 4 More stats
Hot Mummy Love is Some Sexy Ass Gentle 2 More stats
Showtime’s Californication Makes My Brai 2 More stats
Tina Fey as Palin: “Not Afraid to get Ma 2 More stats
Baby Jesus Butt Plug (A real thing!) *Ad 2 More stats
About the Ringleader 2 More stats
Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What? 2 More stats
Swimming Pool Mermaid 2 More stats
Elvin Bishop’s “Fishin'” (Sunday AM Punk 1 More stats
My Sexual Custody 1 More stats
Peggy Hill to Star in Palin Porn? 1

A slow day in Mississippi, a slow day on wordpress, 58 views in all. I  love the goofy google poems that randomly rearrange everyday…. it’s like a window into meaning and culture. Here at wordpress we have these magical spaceship dashboards that give us a glimpse into the minds of human beings. What are people loving, laughing at, lusting after? What are they wondering about or wishing for?

I did a post a while back about the word “Diva” and how it’s been co-opted by obnoxious women with sparkly fingernails and I posted a clip of Sarah Silverman singing, “If you call yourself a diva, it better be for reals, and not just some sad pathetic kind of front…You’re probably not a diva, you’re a cunt.” She’d performed it in NYC for a storytelling thang which I’d listened to on pod-cast but no one had heard it outside of this small audience and no one cared a whip about my post. Until last Wednesday, when she must’ve played it on some late night talk show or something cause suddenly the cunt-diva searches came rolling in.

I have a couple posts about the amazing mofo comic Mike O’Connell of Million Dollar Strong and the hits are paltry but I fully expect to open my laptop someday and see it lit up & blinking like a white tinsel christmas tree.

I find it’s fun to anticipate the future obsessions of others and to be privy to their proclivities at present.

steampunk 22
tina fey 2
creme scene carnival 4
i wanna do bad things to you true blood 2
xxx carnival 2
janeane garofalo sexy 1
king of the porn peggy 1
bride frankenstein tattoo 1
hank hill porn 1
larry flint palin 1
tina fey’s wedgie 1
hot sexy mummies 1
peggy hill porn 1
true blood do bad things to you 1
camille rose garcia 1
true blood theme song 1
i dont know what you’ve done to me but i 1
californication 1
elvin bishop fishin 1
but i know this much is true; i wanna do 1
tumescent cock

I must say that I’m feelin’ pretty damn cheeky over the hilariously absurd collection of searches that show up on my dash. I’ve never written about Tina Fey’s wedgie and yet there it is, no nonsense white cotton panties all up in Fey’s yummy bizness. Mmmm. And “Janeane Garofalo sexy”??? Oh hell yea! Lately steampunks can’t get enough of the Lusty Luddite while the rumor I started about Peggy Hill starring in Flint’s Palin porn is finally beginning to slow down. The very talented artist Camille Rose Garcia is another sexy bitch that I’m proud to see on my dash. I’ve never written about a Bride of Frankenstein tattoo although I’m all inked up and was once the bride for Halloween. Funny story:

The following day was a Saturday and I was certain that people would still be celebrating so the Robot and I kept our wigs on as “Frank & Bride on their Honeymoon.” I wore a sheer ghosty nightie with black lace & garters showing through with marabou feather boudoir slippers. I also carried a little pink suitcase. But the Bot was the best with a green tee and green tights under his boxers and a BIG GREEN DILDO sticking outta his boxers like a franken’ woody. AWESOME! I was wrong, no one else was dressed up, but we did get in to see the band for free.

Perhaps, hearing about the giant green monster hard-on, it’s no surprise to you that I am especially proud of the “Tumescent Cock” search as well as “XXX Carnival.” I am certain that those Brits looking for “Hot Sexy Mummies” (that’s MILFs to you Yanks) are beyond disappointed to find actual bandage-bound mummies who’ve been lucky enough to find Everlasting Love. One of the coolest things that has happened lately is that people have started reading the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel which is my little 10 minute church for other godless heathens like myself who might still want to touch base with something beautiful on a Sunday. If church were more like the punk rock gospel, I’d probably go. No one ever read the punk rock gospel before, at least not on purpose, but I loved it and the RELIABLE ONE loved it so I kept doing it and now I see that folks are looking for it which pleases me to no end cause I’m that much closer to starting my own cult and getting fire-bombed by the government. We gots to have goals in life, right?

I love you, my sweet faceless kinksters, thanks for reading. Sorry for my hinky mood tonight — I’m zonked and I’m crabby, it’s rainy and the Bot’s drunk on Magazine Street, my best friend sneers at Cream Scene Carnival and that frustrates the shit outta me cause she hasn’t met all of you and so she doesn’t see what’s in it for me. I adore y’all, I do. Keep comin’ around. I’m here, I’m not goin’ no where, I swear!

Good night, my freaks, may you have sweet or wet dreams, whichever you prefer.

**P.S.** In ode to the deep south, there are two chickens in this rainy post — do you see the second one?

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