Reading on Tour
Yoshimi supports me
When I came back from tour, everyone seemed sad and angry; and when I did my finances I realized how much money I had actually spent touring, I cried. What did we do? Three weeks was a little much. Would this be, as we had intended, a good memory for us? And did we come back with any fresh perspective or outlook on what to do with our lives now? I don’t know.
I was lucky enough to hunker down with my friend on election night, following my instincts to not walk home after work but visit in Lauraville. We retreated into the end season of Game of Thrones, a show I had never watched before–I loved it. I needed escape. And companionship. To be back with my roadie dog friend, too, but in their house, out of the car.
I was grateful to be able to sit out the zombie apocalypse at his house. That’s what it felt like.
I didn’t want to speak the next day, as the weather mourned and cried, and all felt silent. I cried in his house alone as he got a hair cut. I couldn’t remember my Facebook password and spent the day off Facebook: wondering what my friends list thought of this tragedy. My flip phone died and I didn’t think there was a suitable charger. I spend time off the grid. When my friend later helped me charge it, he asked if anyone had checked in with me–I hadn’t been home for over 24 hours. No they haven’t, I said. I live a very isolated life, an isolated life I’ve always lived, and as I always feel sorry for myself, I feel sorry for myself now too.
I also felt bad the night I first made it home to my rowhouse the night I came back. To go back to being in a run down cluttered messy dump. I had stayed in many nice houses on tour–and heard many stories–now the challenge is to come back to my own life alone in the city.
Back home in Hampden, I started to thaw. What can we do now? This is really bad. It’s always been worse than we thought. It’s always been all true, although we doubt our sanity. It doesn’t seem true but it’s true. And the explanation has been given is that there is a lot of fearful rural white people who don’t have jobs and their life is not out of the depression and they are scared. The truth of this country, this big country, is it’s important to get out of your circles and meet and talk to others. You learn so much. There’s blame on those who don’t vote. And there’s blame on those who vote with whiteness over gender. To me, politics, this country, it’s always seemed upside down.
Yes: There are those of us who don’t believe in the political system at all or don’t vote in conscious or abuse in a system that doesn’t care.
I run with some folks who are quite smart and radical–and our media doesn’t see the same world the mainstream media sees.
In our world, this feels like a real threat. A real wake up call. A real change. We said it would be a new world, that we would start new things when we came back from tour–but how new we didn’t realize. We wanted the election to be over, we thought that was bad, but now we have this. We keep having really bad things happen, and we keep going back to normal in whatever way we can.
How many times can we go back to normal in whatever way we can? Aren’t there times that change a person. World events that draw a line into you? Katrina was one. National disasters. The nuclear disaster in Japan. Drumpf. I can’t say his name. I don’t have any thing smart to say. I’m not done waking up to this yet.
But thoughts that have come to me:
It’s time to get serious, as I cut off my long nails.
It’s time to get practical.
It’s time to stay human. I pledged to myself, if I stay alive–and honestly there are still times I think to myself that I don’t wanna–if I stay alive, I pledge to stay human. To live how I think a human being should live. I can’t always control myself or understand life. But there may be a time I need to make a stand and die as a human being and I hope I make that stand. Like a beloved community member of many who passed recently, who I just met once at West Wednesday protest—when I saw news of his passing recently on Facebook, I also saw in a video he made, he said “I would rather die than let the police take any of you.” I remember this, and I think, I’m not a protesting person, but if it ever came time to me see someone being hurt by another, for their religion, race, sexual orientation, citizenship, disability, or color of their skin, I want to step forward and put my body on the line. I want live and die as a human being. All that is left to do, that I can think of, is be a good person. It’s really hard to be a good person in this society, and I think it’s something that most people want to do, and it’s really hard to find a place, where you can matter, or be counted, of be part of society. I just want to be a good person.
I want to be a little kinder. A little more gentle. Everyone is hurting and scared right now. I am, too. I want to live as the big strange person I am. No better, no worse. Keep some privacy in order to keep some freedom for complexity and chaos and truth to emerge. Keep my mouth shut more. Listen more. Improve. But just be good. And to be good, well you work and you have discipline and you seek. And with the touring stuff, I really want to go after my highest aims, not my lowests, I want to go after abundance in a world where there isn’t much love—where there hasn’t been enough love. And we’re suffering and continue to suffer and hurt others and ourselves. And I want to offer kindness.
I want to be more simple. I’ve not felt at home in the mainstream. Well, we need to go to the mainstream. That’s where we need to be. Things can’t change in the margins anymore. What is common, and simple, and everyday. That’s the place. That’s the thing. What does that mean to me? I like to organize. Should I get in politics? Me as an old school anarchist? What can I do to be part of society and making things better? I am a writer. Is that enough? Is it an arrogant insistence? I know it’s the one thing I will never stop.
I’ve been thinking about how to make my life better. But how can I live in this time, with my humanity intact? How will I do no harm? How will I stand up and not let harm be done to other? What we have done so far is not enough.
I have to be more simple. I have to be mainstream. I have to be in public. I have to be good. I have to be kind. I have to be strong. Everything is going to change now. Life is going to start from now, from here, it’s not the same.
It’s a scary serious feeling. It’s shock. It’s silence.
We know how lives are finite. We hope there is a god. We know the planet cannot sustain human beings for much longer into the future. These are the facts to make evident. There is so much pain, and sorrow; violence and fear in the world.
It’s been wrong for so long. This is not new. What time is this now? The time for me to not be a radical. The time for me to be in the middle—in the middle of the people is humanity and I believe in this truth. I am middle America. I am in the middle of America. This is my country too.
I wonder how much weirder it’s going to all get, like the Game of Thrones?
Yet I walk out, the next day, and much is still standing the way it was before.
My first taste of normality, was sitting on the porch of a café, on the sunny side of the avenue, when suddenly noise broke the silence. Technicolor sounds gushed from a painted car and Jenny walked out. Jenny talked sense. Jenny felt warm. Jenny reminded me of her humanity and my place touching others in the fabric we weave together even if we are alienating kind of aliens.
What were you playing from your car? I asked.
Earth, Wind, and Fire. That’s what we need now, she said.
She also admired the warm sunshine of the porch. We had three sunshine sitters at one point, like a porch life-raft, and a human conversation. I asked about jobs. I read the city paper. I planned my life. We shared our feelings. I felt heard. What it’s like to come back from a big trip. Maybe you change and others haven’t. What it’s like to drive through Texas–the seriousness of Texas.
Jenny. Earth, Wind, and Fire. And sunshine. Made me feel like a human being again. This is how you pick up and go on. One human being climbs out of the wreckage, and the silence, shaking their head: What the fuckety, fuck, fuck, fuck. And you go on.
And this is my city where I live, too. I do know some people. I can talk also. I can relate also. I can, in any moment, find some new joy or life or new day because that’s what every day is. And after winter comes spring. But winter is coming. And it would be wrong to be too joyful, to bury our heads to far, to pull up fake courage. It’s time to take some time, to wonder in this national disaster: What were we expecting?
Why haven’t we been able to stop this so far?
We will all die. That is true. Nothing will last, not even this.
We will be human. We will live as we can. But more than just live, we will die, if need be, in defense of what it means to be human: That humanity is more than fear, ignorance, and violence. Humanity is love for others and belief that we can all live here. We all deserve respect, in our manners and our actions, we will honor life and each other: A life not of fear, but of dignity, in any means that we can express in any minute that we can. Those with privileges in situations must exercise them. We must stand for each other, if we are to stand. We must die for our beliefs, if we are to believe in anything at all.
This is not a call to terrorism but more a call for those who are afraid of what will happen to them if they stand up for the right thing. That there is no life without being able to risk your life for what you believe in.
Anyone in any minute must take a stand that only they will ever really understand–to stand for what is right is more than self preservation, it’s the preservation of humanity within you; and feeling like a human being; something more than living rock or physical survival there is spiritual survival because at a certain point, spiritual survival is more important than soul death in a living body.
I’ve been of the belief that one needs to survive to fight another day, that survival, at its basest, is resistance: But perhaps the climate and my age now makes me realize that risking my life may also be the form of resistance I will take. I am not a fighter but I will put my physical being in between state violence or bigotry and another.
We tip toe. We are tender. We are amazed we are all still here. Nothing has blown up yet, nothing had blown down. The news is bad. And what will be coming in the days ahead? We do not know.
I keep writing semi blog entries afraid to be as brave as to publish; and too slow to be timely in today’s world. To enter the stream.
Ariel writes me and asks about transportation to the protest the day Drumpf is pledged in. I say she can stay at my house if she wants. My house is her house. Andrea, an old friend, writes of waking up, and the weight of seriousness descending and yet knowing to carry a burden always of seriousness gives you ill health manifests in one’s body. What to do? Others answer about the shock of this–like a death. That was the silence I felt at first. We start to talk, online. I start to collect links.