The silent night was shattered by a single highly excited “Whoooooo hooooooo!” I spend a lot of time awake in that twilight state between consciousness and sleep. If it is cold I put my head under the quilt and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. If I get up and do anything any chance I have for any kind of restful state of body and mind is ruined. If I stay still and let my mind wander I have a chance of going back to sleep for an hour. I don’t sleep very much, or well. I might get four hours a night if I am lucky. Last night I was listening to the peaceful whoosh of the traffic passing by outside, which I find as relaxing as a river running, a kinda white noise deal. When I first moved to the city I could not sleep for the constant noise. The traffic and the outside chatter, the slamming of doors, the flushing of toilets, the buzz and drama of the shelter all conspired to keep me awake. I was used to the camp life of remote rural areas where the only noises were wild life and the snoring of my camp companions. Owls and padding mountain lion, dogs barking at racoons, and crows on the roof provided the background hum of life. Those crows could make as much noise as any city life rat race din creator.
The joyous yowl of Cal fire imbibing shattered my peace. I waited to see what came next, but nothing happened. The night closed back around the sound and as the last of the exclamation bounced off the sidewalks and tenement buildings, there was no sign left that the expeller had ever even taken a motherload of a hit and taken their own 30 seconds of fame.
I looked outside. I gave up on sleep. Sometimes I go and take a couple of hits of whatever cheap indica I have picked up that month and try and knock myself out. It works, but if I do it too late at night I end up terminally relaxed come ten am, and that is no good at all. I am too old to take my foot off the gas too determinedly. Nothing was happening out there. The street lights were still flickering, the road slick with rain, and the street deserted. That was the creepiest thing of all. Deserted. Usually I have a few unhoused neighbors, but now worryingly, the street is deserted at night. It isn’t right. This crackdown has removed people who should be there. I wonder where they have gone. In my head I made up some story about my neighbors being shooed onto buses and driven out to Reno, or Portland or some semi secret fema camp in the hills for reeducation and involuntary detoxification.
We are not that far off such fascist actions. We are not far away from such inhumanity. We are perilously close to disappearing people in a way that would be familiar to the likes of Solzhenitsyn. I feel as if I am in some dreary Kafka play with endless lines and gaslighting prescribed as the means and tools of societorial control. I listen to Joni Mitchell singing about a cactus tree, and being so ‘busy being free’….and the beads and the circing freewheelin’ melody and the love that comes and goes and the ships that float on the water, and it feels like another world. A different reality. I am suffocated in this world. I am dragged down by the stone. I do not know how much more I can carry. I am desperately both happy and unhappy at the same time.
The joy of living in the apartment jars against the weariness that comes from the world being so cruel and dull and tied up in a blizzard of control and disease and fear and loss. The happiness rubs up against the impossibility of paying the rent when the subsidy runs out, and the supreme and righteous anger of being fucked around by this person and that when I could have been directing my energy elsewhere more productively. What’s done is done. I am good. I just have no idea how we are going to do this, how we are going to survive. How are any of us going to live? Words and news buzz around my head. I need a can of spray that promises “Info Be Gone”. There is too much news. Too much information that changes and evolves hour to hour. We are being fed like geese for their livers, tube down the throat, and a thick paste of information and opinion forced down into our systems to digest and vomit out or excrete as hatred and prejudice and superiority. It isn’t just tribal, it is feudal, and I cannot take much more.
The poppies have formed a fuzzy green carpet in their planter. Little leaves pushing up from the soil and seed. The coriander won’t sprout. I don’t suppose anything other than an opiate for the people wants to grow for me right now. I have poison fingers. I have poison thoughts. I grow poison poppies to stare at and talk to. Just be thankful they don’t talk back. Yet.