There is a pit of grief and guilt and pain that is so smooth sided it is impossible to climb out of. I don’t know if I will be able to scrabble up the sides today. Instead I am going to try and just survive it. Stop struggling, stop climbing and give in to it.
Too many people suffered so I might survive pig. Too many people lost and cost too much. Too much.
This is gaping hole in my chest that all the light is spilling out of. My heart hurts. I can’t stop crying. I’m literally on my knees. I keep telling people I love I will be ok, just so they don’t worry about me, and can go about their day without worrying, or spending too much time trying to help that which is unhelpable. Enough people have been hurt because of me. Enough people have given up and suffered alongside me. Enough sacrifice. Enough. I promise I am not worth it.
This pain in my chest is scaring me. It comes from trying to stop crying. It comes from guilt. I’ve been that stone cold fucking bitch that gave people heart attacks in my pursuit of another planet. I always flirted with death, I looked like something from the grave at regular intervals, and I was something from the grave. Welcome to the lair of the ultra alive. Welcome to the resurrection. Hello insurrection against the grey dull world of people that live with their feet on the ground. Welcome to the fucking universe of the space travelling elite who give all they have in pursuit of bad knowledge. Bad knowledge is a far better band name than Bad Company. Quite why it is never enough for people like me – and Billy – to stand with both feet on the ground, seeing reality through untinted lenses, why we have to push open the doors of the dead and peer beyond the veil, I do not know. Something in our mental make-up. Something of the explorer in us, that we need to find new girls and other planets.
There are certain songs which are lava right now. I won’t be able to listen to fucking Mott the Hoople ever again. Ta Shunka Witko, by Ian Hunter will always send me back to Little Big Horn. I did it. If I am going to sit deep in this pit, I might as well dance with the ghosts and commune with the spirits. It is going to break my heart anyhow. There is a power in facing fear in the face and staring it down. Turning away from fear, turning back from confronting the Monsters is not an option for me. I can’t. I live with them. They are in my head, and sleeping my bed. They tweak my toe as I sleep and brush my hair as I cry on the floor, reduced to my knees and my forehead on the cool floor as I try and not scare the crazy horses. I am so distraught I fear I am about to start floating. The power of this moment. The strength of this medicine is so OG, so fire, so past power and into the realm of pure electric, there could not be more white light running through my veins if I shot pure meth and plugged myself into that old Mason Boogie and turned the dial up to spinal tap ridiculousness. I feel like I am about to have my brains blown out by the grief and the sorrow, the strength of the memories, and the experience of running down the highways deep into Billy’s land.
There is nothing for it. I press play. “Tell your great white father up in Washington, I’ve a knife between my teeth for that fork in his tongue” sings Ian. Ta Shunka Witco, Crazy Horse. Imagine yourself in the Beastie. Her rusted and battered sides ploughing down the road, swimming through the air and the miles, carrying us in a reverse Oregon trail, headed East, away from that State that is cursed for me. I don’t even feel safe with it sitting to the north of me. Hotbed of militias, fascist posturing and Trumpist bullshit. “The only good white is a dead white, that’s what I was taught”..Ian is pushing the envelope. I am not sure he has the right. In fact, let’s be honest here, I know he doesn’t. Driving down the highway I saw a sign that read “Little Big Horn: 18 miles”. Or something like that. I yelped. “Billy! Turn left! Turn left! Go!! Here! Now!” He hauled on the bowline and pulled the boat around, sending us down the kind of county road of the midwest that it is generally not advisable to head down. Once you do, you can get so lost that is almost impossible to extricate yourself. It is not merely a rabbit hole situation, it is a case of no gas stations, those criss cross of rural roads that run next to endless farms, and no cars that ever, ever pass by. Billy once told me that you can break down out there, and it can be days before help reaches you, or you reach it. Breaking down out there is not possible. It simply cannot happen.
We had gone down those kinds of roads, while not really going anywhere in particular, just to the next campground, the next rest area, heading vaguely north, or kinda south, or vaguely east or sometimes west, and ended up in communities that America had lost. Places that no one ever goes to, and no one ever escapes. I half expect to find mountains of guitar picks in one little community in the hills, or vast mines of old socks in another, who are constantly seeking to pair up with each other in vague approximations of symmetry. We are those old socks, looking for a twin, the left to our right, the stripe to our polka dot, the campfire koala to our bear and the honey pot. Heck, the Ron to our Harry would do! Yet still all we ever find is some other rightie of a totally different mental design and force our feet, too big or too small into the opening, the eternal Cinderella with a glass slipper that never fits, and if we do jam our dainty foot into that icy abyss, all it does is cut our toes and causes bunions.
The beat of the drum as we pulled into Little Big Horn, the sky cracking in fury, a real good electrical storm brewing up and exploding into light, splitting the sky in two. My Crazy Wolf grinned at me hang dog, leering at the voltage and shock and awe as we huddled in the camper and he promised me the rubber of the tires would keep us grounded. He lied. Nothing ever kept either of us grounded. We were both two feet in the air, ten miles high, and on another planet. It was just us. Those were the days, that was the road. We were running from the violence of a capitalist society where the pigs run the pen and all the heroes and heroines are standing away from the walls trying not to get a shock and hoping that physics and luck, chance and desperate men do not catch up with us. Somehow there, in that field in Little Big Horn, overlooking the battleground and the graves, eyes scouring the horizon for ghosts dancing in the dry skied storm, bending their lashed backs against the yoke of white western destruction of civilizations, and raising hands into the sky, reaching out to us. And the coyotes howled. And the Beast Train huddled. I held both his hands in mine and he looked past my eyes. “Welcome to America” he whispered. “Greatest show on earth. Roll up roll up. Bite the snake. Get down low in the prairie wagon. Unhitch the horses. We are alive!”
And the sky and the storm and the ghosts that refuse to be mourned. The antelope and the yellow stones in the wilderness, the arrowheads that fell as they missed their marks and the reasons for running faded into black, as I lay down in his arms and wondered how we were ever going to make it. In that moment it didn’t matter, in that moment no one cared apart from me. They were basking in the power and the glory and that moment will last for ever and ever, until there are no more men and the planets sigh ahhhhhhh