At Chapter Twenty-five


I’m wanting to quit reading this book, ‘Big Sur.’ It’s hard to invite a man, syllable-by-syllable into your head, then read in his own words, how he is drinking himself into an early grave. Makes me want to break out into a high flying semper fidelity fit.

That sounds like a bunch of hypodermic needle hip-ship. But no drugs, nothing, all-natural, not even the drink to cause my thought process to unfold in such a psychedelic phase, jus’ this damned book!

This from a mind, my mind, that wants to say more, but has neither the intelligence to put into thought, nor the words. I’ve been caught, flat-footed, standing out on a barren landscape, scratching my ass from this one.

It’s a mind that doesn’t fully sleep even when it is sleeping. My dream-state remains plugged in and fully charged, tuned into the oldies on that made-up memory chart, the kind ever so rarely’s in tune musically with my circadian rhythm that a sleeper is supposed to have to successfully navigate through the nocturnal.

But I am an abnormal person. My body has been born in tune with night owl’s rum-dumb life under phony lights and lamps.

Furthermore, how can I set myself loosed when it’s God’s brain power that I operate on? No thought is mine alone, for He is the salesman, the One with all the stories. I am merely an instrument; one of a multitude and akin to all His stars in the universe.

Maybe it is laughter that I need. It is a sounds which comes, goes, arrives and fades like a wind from off the sea, over mountain top, through tree branches across the desert to me.

This is how I like my days, with coffee and imagination and sometimes a general dare to go beyond my emotional bounds, break my mental bonds, into that space only I can explore and describe, if I had a full grasp on those needed works to complete the work. So who needs drugs or drink to find that they are lost, alone and hurting? Not this old man for I’m fully equipped to find myself, rescue myself, fail myself.

In other words, and there are always other words, the medicine in that needle, that button of peyote, that final dribble at the bottom of that bottle are not the drug I need to aid me in telling my stories. My mind is my fix and it keeps me awake at night, deep into morning, brain click-clacking like an old manual typewriter, that rolls along in the misshapen form of a locomotive, emphasis on loco, heading over here, there, somewhere and nowhere all at once. There is no siding, no rest, only full-throttle fatigue where the head-on crash becomes imminent and impossible to avoid.

But it is a flat-afternoon now, dry, dead air and heat. I can tell that it is flat by the puffs of white cotton, gray, even bottoms, resolutely shapeless and altogether billowy at once. This too, will not last long as finally a leave overhead begins to shimmy a shadowed strip-tease, wolf-whistling in the fact that a breeze is picking up, moving west to east. The cloud, that puffy slacker, the one which builds up higher and higher, into a striking thunderhead will be well on its way from here to there within the hour and another tick upward of the red-glassed thermometer beneath the house’s eve.

I am no quitter. At least not yet, not till my death…

It may be difficult, but I shall finish what I’ve started, including this dusty, worn-out book, published the year I was born. I’ll read it cover to cover. I do, however, feel like the dog’s red water bucket, filled with floating mud water, mud clumps at the bottom.

“Dog germs!” Charlie’s friend, Lucy screams.

And soon I’ll decamp from this chair that I dragged into the under-shade of our aspen. And like that red bucket, I shall empty it and refill it. This is in my nature, and that bucket with the mud, and me, share a terrible inert languor: we each seek refilling after dirtying ourselves, whether by our own doing or another.

In the end, I only selected this spot to scribble because I wanted to exhaust the dogs in the heat while spilling a few words on to a spare sheet of paper. Notes actually, and all about this day or perhaps some other day.

There’s also a strange and gentle sameness to it all, as I absorb it, take in, find refill, so that I might spend it in awe, record my findings, then sending them out like a kindergartner on her first day away from mother, screaming.

That god-damned chapter won’t read itself.

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