Today is the second day of the Day of the Dead, Halloween’s older, bigger sister from the South. The usual clowns were outside last night, drunk and partying instead of making amends with those who roam the ether from the afterlife. I woke up early while it was still dark. How I love those mornings when I go and sit on the sofa and watch the sun rise with a cup of tea and the total silence around me. It is silent out here in the burbs. There was never silent back down in the Tenderloin.
There was always disruption, distress and disarray. Someone was always fighting, or dying or struggling outside my window. The silence was regularly punctuated by gunfire and fireworks. Now there is nothing but the sound of the crows waking up in their territory. The Tenderloin is Pidgeon-Town. Here Hummingbirds flutter around the trees. There the only souls surrounding the trees are of the junkies passed out cold in the small patch of nature they can find amongst the concrete.
Last night I put my headphones in to listen to some music for a little noise. I have to create my own noise now to get to sleep. I can’t relax in total silence. My body is trained for noise, not for quiet. Youtube mix decided to play me 99 Red Balloons, that song about an accidental apocalypse caused by a red fucking balloon. Not exactly anxiety-reducing. I turned it off about the time when she was singing about some General pressing the big button in an attack of absolute misanthropy, and lay there in the dark in total silence. I heard the boy get up to shower. Saw the moon streaming in through the crack in the blinds.
I suppose it was all going this way when Russia decided to get down and dirty in the Ukraine. No one ever says a word about that any more – those poor people struggling and dying over in Europe in some forsaken sunflower field. We have the crisis de jour. It is very fashionable, very human, to flit from this disaster to that, changing flags on your twitter profile like changing your shoes with the season. This is the season not of some Shakespearian ‘discontent’, but instead of a biblical kind of disaster of 99 Red Balloon proportions. Anyone with half a brain must go to sleep with these niggling anxieties about what thing, big or small, could trigger some dick-swinging general to press the button for this side….or for that, and I for one, do not desire to dodge nukes or balloons.
The Day of the Dead is meant to allow the Dead to roam amongst us, unquiet. I wonder what the Dead would say if they could talk to us? What would those who died in wars and attacks recent and long ago, would demand of us? Peace? More war? Gore? Battle? Love? Kindness? Forgiveness or revenge? Should we listen to the Dead anyhow, after all they are dead…not alive. What do they care! Sometimes I wish I cared much less than I do, then I remember that I am not a monster and let the pain wash over me once again.
Once we stop feeling then we might as well be dead. Even the Dead have feelings. Once sadness means nothing and horror is but a daily companion, then what do we have? Old songs, old psalms, old warnings in old books from old old humans that once longed to live like we live … for now.
The sun is fully up in the sky, but the foghorn is not sounding. It looks as if the sun will burn through today and leave us without our beautiful fog to surround the city and soften the edges of the day. I put on CSNY’s Almost Cut My Hair. My head is still shorn, but has a little fluff after I shaved it bald on the day of Yom Kippur and the Terrible Day of having a new neighbor attack me. I felt like I owed it ‘to someone’. I almost cut my hair again today, almost took it off back to the bone, like offering my hair to the heavens might be a small sacrifice, like it might show the world I have stopped fucking around and just want, no need to be left to live quietly.
The autoimmune arthritis has flared up horribly, leaving me in such constant pain. My anxiety is through the roof. I can barely bend my fingers, or walk across the room today. It will loosen up again as the day goes on, and I will have a few good hours before the bad hours come around again. I do not want the chemotherapy at all, but then I know I have to take much better care if I don’t want the awful triumvirate of medications that leave me feeling even worse than I do now. I’ll keep my hair for now, but those red balloons can fuck right off. Who needs the hassle, man?