like a hole in the head

Going To Prescott (part 1)

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Ch. 14

by Cloyd Campfire

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When you attempt to be an astronaut but don’t quite make it ~ when you’re one unit shy of graduation & on empty ~ when you grow weary of working some bummer job & can’t find anything else but another one ~ when you grow wary of handing all your money over to your greedy property-gobbling landlord month after month ~ when you have fallen in love while nobody has fallen in love with you ~ and the military is no longer a viable option ~

Don’t hang yourself. Come with me. And be ~

A tramp ~

And celebrate spring!

Well, I stumbled into the train station.  The old dude behind the counter told me it would take 3 days for me to get on a train ~ a train to Flagstaff, Arizona. Lordy, by that time the VA could catch-up to me and have me all talked into going back to work. So I stepped across the small lobby to where a person could catch a bus instead, which the senora behind the counter told me could be caught at 4 o’clock, about 5 hours away. Okay ~ I bought the ticket. Incidently, I also had the back-pack weighed. It weighed some thirty-odd pounds ~ hmmm. I checked it in & went and sat down. No. I tried to check it in but was not allowed to do so ’til a half hour before the bus left ~ five hours away. Yehaaaaaaa, Greyhound.

Then I went & sat down, still fondling the pack. There was a little group of lockers in the corner of the waiting area that didn’t work ~ like what else was new? I got up, found this out & wore the pack around downtown Albuquerque killing time…  After a coffee here, a pizza there, I came back and sat down again ~ sat the back-pack down next to me. Me and my pack were rapidly becoming bosom buddies!

Speaking of which, suddenly, I missed my room-mate. God forbid, how could one miss a room-mate? For over two years I’d been complaining about having a room-mate. The unexpected emotion welled-up out of no-where. I sat there in the train station waiting for a bus, missing my room-mate ~ who was an old black man with a bad back. Huffing and puffing was I ~ on the verge of tears!

I was mashed like potatoes, sliced like bread, spread like mayonaise, and chilled like milk. But most of all, I was drop-kicked by the “Nigger Of The Narcissus,” by Joseph Conrad. Whoa, what am I talkin’ ’bout, oh reading commander?

It came down to this: this man, with his overflowing pile of shit in our room that I was not allowed to shovel-out ~ this man, with his tenacity, sense of worth & fairness & humanity, not to mention intelligence wisdom & savy ~ this futher-muckin’ son-of-a-whipper-schmucker had pulled my head up outta my frickin’ ass.

I had knocked over lamps, thrown books at the wall, dumped entire cans of Ajax all over the bathroom and left it there. I had paraded around naked with Indian war-paint on my face and with the Dixie Chicks screeching on my music box (and on repeat), “I need a boy like you like I need a hole in the head!” I couldn’t get rid of this feller, his television, his cancer-like mess of belongings, his midnight-snacking with his mouth open, or his constant yammering about his bad back & his last employer & the endless march-of-the-lawyers aftermath. And he was always there ~ when I woke-up, when I went to work, when I came back, when I went to sleep. Other than these & oh so many other incorrigibilities, Quest was a pretty nice guy.

Early on, he suggested we stick together for survival’s sake. He wasn’t kidding. In time, we grew to understand each other & modified our noisy media engines. And I became kind ~ I, kind! And that’s what I mean when I say he pulled my head up outta ~ the gravel.

And this is why I can’t help but mention “The Nigger of the Narcissus,” by Joseph Conrad. In this classic olde English novel, a black dude jams up the white-boy crew on the ship “Narcissus,” when he decides to die on a particular voyage.  All the white boys end up taking care of this black feller until he’s finally gone.  Quest, bless his soul, was the target of my “Narcissus,” or of my oh so vain & over-blown self-concern.

One day I begun to give him the Dixie Chick treatment on my 25-dollar music box. He raised gospel music to a high level of vibration on his much more elaborate music system, drowned the Dixie Chicks until they were face-down n’ dead.  The worst part of it was, he started singing to the gospel music ~ all gooey-eyed and walking like an Egyptian while sitting on the edge of his rack, if you can picture that.  Singing!  We were friends, but this was going much too far.  

Lord Jehovah in the name of Jesus have mercy ~ I had left without saying good-bye.

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photo above:

Joseph Conrad of course !

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quite a guy

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Ch. 21

by Cloyd Campfire

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About the closest I got to meeting anybody in traffic-choked Flagstaff was ~ Indians ~ Navajo Indians ~ of course.  The first one was at the breakfast counter of the little touristy restaurant across the street that was dolled up in such a way as to be a replica of The Old West.  I sat down a couple stools away from a pudgy old Indian.  I said “hello.”  He said “hello” back.  And that was the end of that.  I don’t think either one of us wanted to get to know the other.

But after I ordered biscuits and gravy and bacon, and after the steamy plate of grub arrived, I couldn’t help but note that he, the Indian under a cowboy hat a couple stools away, kept trying to get the waitress’s attention so that he could have his coffee cup refilled.  He would hold it in the air but couldn’t get any waitress’s attention.  So he sat there with his empty coffee cup on the counter in front of him and slumped into a fatalistic acceptance of his lot in life ~ which seemed to be an eternally empty coffee cup.

I wiped my plate clean ~ no more big helpings of biscuits & gravy & bacon.  Hmm hmm good ~ although the bacon was somewhat ~ commercial.  As I polished off my own cup of coffee, I couldn’t help but note that the Indian still sat there with his empty coffee cup infront of him.  The waitresses were bustiling back n’ forth n’ all about but wouldn’t fill up the man’s cup.  What was up with that?  Was he some kind of troublemaker & were they trying to get rid of him?  Had he already had eight refills?  Or what?

I didn’t want to get involved.  I didn’t want to talk to anybody.  I just wanted the check, to pay, and leave.  But hombre, is this or is this not an injustice ~ an injustice to be acted upon & nullified?

“Can I get you anything else, Sir?”  said the waitress ~ to me.  I looked at her.  Studied her for a moment.  She was just another poor young hard-working gal.

“How ’bout getting me and that guy there some more coffee?”

She did as she was beckoned.  The Indian nodded his thanks to her ~ and to me.  I threw a grin back at him & picked up my check.  I left my renewed cup of hot coffee untouched & a tip.  At the cash register I payed the bill ~ then sauntered out the door ~ quite a guy.

Quite a guy!

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Black Bart (photo)

Archangel Raphael (art)

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forest priestess

a weirdtakoyaki photo story & cloyd campfire memoir

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All kinds of growth poking up out of the rot, here, in this Ponderosa Pine forest at the edge of the little city of Prescott, Arizona.  Lots of trees verily verily tall.  The wind keeps blowing but only touches the tops of the trees ~ and sings its song ~

To me.

What’s so important about me? Nothing. And everything. A remnant of Walt Whitman’s song to democracy.

Lordy Lordy, thank-you for getting me out here ~ out here where I don’t belong. Ask the deer. They’ll tell you I don’t belong here. Ask the ranger. He’ll tell you the same.

I didn’t know what I was doing, but You, oh Lordy Lordy Lord Jehovah, got me out here anyway ~ camoflauged away from the highway, which sings its motorola song down below my own true-blue knob of silent granite outcrop, behind which I have pitched my tent, here on the mountain side that I share with the birds and the deer, the rotting logs, pine needles & pine cones & all these tall tall trees.

Which reminds me of Diana, the forest priestess from Portland, Maine. Thinking about her, the mountain chill no longer bothers me. Suddenly, I like it!

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A soft lump of gooey play-doe in the bottom of my belly is all thats left of the hard brick of jealousy that once long ago reigned in my chest ~ over the flesh & blood woman who is now the idolized priestess who rules deep in the night ~ especially here in the forest when the wind has stopped blowing and the quietude is topless & bottomless. It’s a slice of the pie of the mystical reality of reality that I am now a slave to the etheral priestess ~

Diana!

She, a newly-arrived PFC in the U.S. Army, took me jogging thru the snow-flake-ed woods at Fort Ben Harrison, Indiana, in the frost-bitten January of ’81. I was hung-over. I couldn’t keep up. And my 30-year-old wang-dang froze off.

Diana!

She was 28 years old, long legged, long haired, and long over-due and I don’t mean pregnant. She was way ahead of everybody else & nutty as a fruitcake. T’was I who was her chosen slaughter.

Two years later, up on the Presidio Military Post in Monterey, California, disenchanted with barracks life & unwilling to put up with other women, Sp5 Diana pitched her tent in a woody grove of the military post.  She actually knew how to live in solitude  while in the U.S. Army. When I finally caught up to her, she told me of how a deer with whom she lived in this patch of pine trees would eat out of her hand.

Diana!

cloyd campfire 2010

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photos courtesy of weirdtakoyaki

http://weirdtakoyaki.deviantart.com/art/These-Wilds-of-Mine-262671988