Dual or triple pronged electrical surge. Two Ben Franklin lightning bolts come flashing down from the sky cracking and crackling with Zeus-like determination and vengeance. It is an outlet for this metaphysical energy. Slapstick comedy routine, but Nature as its star. It is very avant-garde and abstract and I don’t expect you to understand it unless if you’ve read a little Schopenhauer or Nietzsche. Obsessed with the spelling. Obsessed with the corrections. Little things I cannot let go, though I know I’m supposed to. Categorical horrific melody in the Barrow bathroom. Like like carnival music to get murdered by in some cutting room floor Goosebumps novel that didn’t quite make the cut. Is R.L. Stine alive today? I recall childhood when Goosebumps, Nancy Drew, and the Boxcar Children were the taste of the day. It was like those books mattered and nothing else. This was pre-Harry Potter for sure. I devoured these books. Loved them like nothing else mattered. There was another book series too, similar to the vein of Goosebumps but I can’t remember the series. I do remember a clown and a cake and it looks absolutely horrifying. Animorphs were also quite strange. And then Little House on the Prairie was just an Americana vacation. Outlets for my childhood energy. Reading must be practiced to enhance comprehension and the act of reading itself. Shuttered windows on some nice Montclair home. They are white-washed and nice and compliment the brick face front of the house. There are flowers growing in the garden. And this house is simply too much to be real for me. There are dozens like it. Outlets for marriage and parenting and the requirements of being a person. Call up the Bastards on Main Street and demand the fulfillment of your rights. The telephone are ringing off the hook now. Old rotary phones, black and blaring. Toys on the floor that have not been picked up. Mistaken otter with his whiskers trembling, dives into the water and makes a run for it. His silky sheen fades out in the aqua distance. Stranger to so many. Hot sticky humidity where your clothes just cling to you. Sacred Starbucks chalice, replacing churches in the real estate game. My controller’s broken for this one. I am –
Malibu Bay Breeze can fuck right off. What are we, 12? I reject these teenage notions because they are embarrassing admissions and hangers-on of total and utter immaturity. Figuring out a new way, figuring out a new path. Wind whips my face as I curse this drink. It feels nice and I will have a beer instead, probably. These days I’d much rather have anything that refined sweetness. No, that is not what life is about nor was it ever about. And I don’t know the right answer. A hermit crab gets blow off course in its search for a new shell. Hurricane season during home shopping. Call the realtor. I want to quench and melt my uptight bullshit and replace with more breezy nature. Why can’t I be more carefree? Stuck in the mud with a stick, hardening clay around my bottom and ankles, so I’ll be stuck here. Call the museum. Put a trash bag over me and transport me elsewhere. I won’t even talk, but stay stock still.
Invisible wind careless to who it heals are harms. Arbitrary wind, in all directions, making my hair stand up. Hot soup gets cold by the breeze from my mouth. Blowing on the spoon, craving salt. To hike and stand at the precipice, finally free until the car comes ’round. Mild salsa donut harboring victim Lemon Yellow Black Kerouac. What can do to be more like Jawbreaker? More like Blake? How do I stand on the shoulders of giants? How can I approach and climb up and perhaps understand greatness from their height? I am tired and need of coffee and carb. I feel as though I am giving up, but I know I must not seeing it as given up. I am recontextualizing myself and my routine. But goddamn it if I don’t feel depressed about it. Like I lost, like some Loser Year. Cheap Trick and Pinhead Gunpowder. Was I ever who I said I was? Almost seems like someone else’s life, someone else’s memories. Why do I have to be such an Android about it? (Another great Green Day song.) I don’t feel righteous, I feel tired. Unmade bed crying out to be fixed. Early OCD habits. Rethinking the entire system and structure, like I’m wont to do, like I have done. Marmalade messes on kitchen counters, baby bathwater squishing tomatoes, dirty face and chastisement. I am going to rocket launch out of this chair and hopefully say something better and different tomorrow. Maybe these words do not call to me so I am pushing all that I can.
A marching band triumphantly plays moving down the street. Crowds of people cheer and wave American flags. There is the smell of soda, popcorn, and soft pretzels. Kids cry out in excitement and joy. Red, white, and blue floats make their way behind the band with town officials and contest winners waving blindly out, big smiles so that their cheeks hurt. There’s the colorguard with their flags, baton twirlers in their wake dressed in Olympic Gymnast Barbie (from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) patriotic leotards. She sets a high bar they do not meet. Italian Ice melts in the summer sun, orb of burning butter that comes up every morning, betraying us on overcast days; Sets every night even though some nights are pancakes and slices of toast are left unbuttered. Loneliness of life, loneliness of the night. After awhile the crowd grows bored, but there is still so much parade left to go. The stack of signup sheets was profound, and now that town must honor their promise. Elderly folks sit in lawn chairs, relieved and glad that they have brought them. They were thick sunglasses and look simultaneously tired and amazed. One old woman has brought her camera, and she is gladly snapping pictures of the event, hoping to develop the photos and send them to her granddaughter in Tuscaloosa. State lines divide family hearts. Love sometimes is a one way street. The mayor stands up in the back of a convertible finally, signaling the end of the march. Uncle Sam with his face painted in the colors of the flag, dances a ho-down on stilts, twirling his tall top hat and scaring more than one child. What is this Frankenstein of dreams? How are they supposed to know? Glitter and confetti rain down from last minute budget cuts purchased canons it makes for a nice show, but a bitch of a cleanup. As the crowd disperses, BBQs are to be had, swimming pool time. Beers will be drunk and couples will get a little too high-strung at each other preparing for the event like the President is coming to dinner. Mass crowds walk away from the scene, some get in their cars. There are teenagers spinning on bicycles, talking over their shoulder to their following friend. The ride with one hand on the handlebars, sipping a soda, perhaps not realizing that in this glass cage, in this snowglobe that simple act and action is what’s granted here.
Peonies are gorgeous flowers. I can see them now, painted Still Life, from some unknown French artist’s canvas. They are full of bright pastel Easter colors: Pink, Light Purple, Light Blue, Green, and Yellow; Perhaps Teal and Turquoise and a dash of Red somewhere. The brush strokes follow a pattern. In this scene, painted so expertly, rendered so expertly, I the viewer, from my POV, there is a an open window across and to my right. The curtain, thin and breezy, flutters lightly with the wind. This white, sheen sheet like a benevolent ghost in greeting. Dividing us is a large wooden dinner table. It is rectangular and closer to me. It is wooden and polished. You can tell the table has known life and spills and drama, and hands slamming on top of it. The table has a lot to say, if you look at the grains closely enough. If you put your hands on top of it and have the energy catapult you back to some family argument. But it has remained stoic and steady and useful; So it stays. On the corner of this table, closer to myself, is a red vase of flowers. These peonies, which are so much marvelous of nature that they hardly look real when in fact they are. Some triumph that makes you want to believe in God, even if you don’t. What engineer, what mathematician, has dipped his palm into to Holy Water Genius and crafted this? I know I couldn’t have. And these flowers are fresh cut, and lovely to behold. The numerous petals smugly smiling, this family, knowing no drama, gladly sits in this vase on the kitchen table, knowing the peace offering it is, and balances it out, this pervasive sense of drama and leftover rage from the night before. Forgiveness flowers. White dove stand-in. A love letter without words. Apologies. Reconciliation incoming. Before the whole cycle starts again. This will not be the last time, and this scene is not the first. We see the TV off and to the left, and it will stay that way. There are so many other ways to numb the senses that you don’t necessarily need a remote to do it.
Three years ago I went to New Orleans for a friend’s bachelorette celebration. It was my first and only time there, though I desperately want to go back and do more besides endless drinking. It was on this trip I fell in love with gumbo. I could have lived off it. Rice and broth and vegetables and southern goodness, I guess. It spoke to me in spice and flavor. Such supreme comfort food as I felt it put my soul back together, a soul I did not even know was broken in the first place. That’s the power of good cooking. That’s the power of food made with love and wholesome ingredients. I have not had any since, and it is killing me. When I came home from that trip, I put it on a list of things to do (to making my own gumbo), but never got around to it. It still sits on that list and I have forgotten it until now. It’s now summer, and too hot for gumbo, but perhaps as the weather bigs to turn to cooler fall, I will assemble my shopping list and go forth to make this triumph of a dish, and hopefully, by following a good recipe, I will do it some justice.
I miss the lightheartedness of the French Quarter. And the breeze by the river. And the palms on Canal. I miss the jazz in the streets and the murals and statues celebrating great musicians; These should never be taken down. I miss Church St. and District Donuts. I wanted to get to know this city so much more. But you can only do so much in 4 days. I recall the rainy day we left, NOLA on the outskirts of Hurricane Harvey, and our slightly delayed flight coming home. God, how I love a good storm, even when it puts me out somewhat. I want to go back to Cafe du Monde and get a nice big iced coffee and eat beignets with someone I love and care about. No matter the humidity or the heat. There are so many beautiful, wonderful things to do in the daytime. To me, it makes the night pale in comparison. And perhaps, that’s just who I am.
I could’ve lived off that gumbo. Buffets and restaurants. My favorite choice, my go-to. Chicken and andouille sausage. Tipping the jazz band to play “Dream A Little Dream”.