It’s Cinco De Mayo….
Today is a reason for people who don’t have a good reason to to get drunk. Me, I can sit on a grassy hill and be inspired by the misshapen clouds to toss back a good 5 or 7 beers any old Tuesday or Thursday afternoon. And I’m not even a professional drunk, just a hobbyist. Days like Cinco De Mayo is when I stay away from watering holes like they’re filled with rank Yellowstone sulphur. The amateurism drives me bonkers, absolutely crackers! Vaporized personalities, clouds of polluted words billowing through the room. You need a gas mask just to enter.
There’s a certain collective, celebratory air that creates a cranky, cantankerous me.
There’s already fire in the hills, the news swarming over it like moths drawn to bug zappers. Summer is on its way and comes armed with heat. I don’t like summer. I like winter coats, scarves, and going to the mountains. I work all summer. There’s no vacation in the Bahamas. There’re no whimsical jaunts to the seaside. It’s just backsweat and overheated engines.
A tribe of Cinco De Mayo revelers just trundled past my apartment. There were hoots and hollers and diabolical laughter. I knew if I whoo-hooed someone would whoo-hoo back. That’s why I refrained.
I started to redecorate my apartment, but only in my mind. In actuality, I haven’t touched a thing, haven’t lifted a single object, but it looks great. I start by throwing away all the bills, tearing them up and leaving a can full of trash. I then finish the three beers in the fridge. I tear down the slap-art I’ve pissed out in random bouts of inspiration and derangement… it’s the same shit really. I take the TV and turn it upside down and fill it with fish and confetti. The couch gets redone into a canoe; with paddles by my side I’ll float downstream to port. In the kitchen I’ll keep a penguin.
As deep as you stick your foot in the ground,
you still can’t stop the Earth from going round.
Some of us try to be fence posts. We plant ourselves in a lovely patch of garden and pray against droughts, and tornadoes, and bugs, and lightning. We try to beat the odds by hunkering down. Like a 100-year old tortoise, alive but not going very far.
There’s nothing like an untethered flag, frivolously and un-symbolically flapping uncontrollably away from its place of containment. Unhitched from its pole, it dances on the air with gusto. Flags so rarely are set free, but live a life of fettered obedience. Once, maybe twice, a year they receive a brief salute, perhaps a poorly-sung, antiquated song. If I was a flag I’d have a lot to hang my head about.
I’m inside my apartment with the window opened listening to Wilco singing Woodie Guthry lyrics about my sky while a helicopter is flapping overhead, and I argue inside my mind whether or not to mention that fact. That the chopper was buzzing my apartment — just saying it makes it seem much less real. Now it’s gone. And so is Wilco, and like that we’re all spindling down some other moment in time, different than the other; like every star in the universe, a whole world is contained inside. I wait with baited breath for the next song to play, to take me to some other place, but I realize it’s the end of the Playlist. And silence is its own moment.
There’s no bed of California stars. I don’t know if anyone told Woodie or reminded Jeff Tweedy. There is a place where they sleep when no longer shinning on us. I think somewhere south of here. But it’s hardly classified as a bed, more like a wooden case. Sometimes, though, I admit I do find a bed of stars, camping somewhere far out in the desert, the night sky spilling over with them, like mints knocked out of their jar. I’ve kept a diary of their movements, blurring through the sky, a tableaux of worlds mesmerizing to these eyes. They dance in cursive loops over millions of years.
Here in L.A, we have but six or seven stars in the sky, choking on smog; and though the city-glow mostly obscures them all, I cherish the fleeting light, it’s like a passing brush with heaven’s majestic, dazzling coat.
Every now and then you can even see the Big Dipper, or is that the Little?