Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gimme Back My Bullets


The Sage in the desert sand took them to the base of the mountain. There were no birds; only mice and scrub. The Indians left here long ago and if a person stood long enough they would sink into to the sand. The pickers scratch and find their way into your socks. This was no place for hair extensions, Botox or stripper shoes. This desert was good for two things: hiding what you don't want people to see and doing what you don't want people to know.

The traces of man were everywhere with brass and plastic casings. The first thing my eyes came across was an electric guitar laying on a sand heap. The Pete Townshend in me sprung out and said, "Rock and Roll is Dead". For the last five years, in my soul, it has felt like it. Then the voice of John Hiatt said, "It breaks my heart to see those stars, smashing a perfectly good guitar". I told them both to shut the fuck up because the guitar wasn't a Les Paul or a Fender strat. It was cheap...like the quality of a man I have always hated but somehow end up with after a hard night of drinking and ovulation.

At first it was a bit disturbing to see all the junk and trash. But every piece of waste became a treasure to discover. The question became how you could make or build a new target. From behind a bush, Scout found a paper target with the letter "Z"- her last initial. It was a sign from God- a synronicity of surreal moments. The life came back into me as we yelled, swore and laughed. I knew I needed to get out of town more often to reconnect with the inner child, the artist, the wild spirit that has been stalled in an urban disneyland of fuck ups called Las Vegas.

Puscifer chimed in with my end of the world anthem, What do you know?

It's all fire and brimstone baby, so let's go outside

It's all fire and brimstone baby, I got my brand new pistol baby

and a scratchy recording from some old phonograph record voiced over:

"The existence that people have come to know is falling out from under us;

The gravy train ride is over"... "Those who know how to work and survive will".... "Hold on".... "Those who are unwilling or cannot adapt will not..."

The Sage had kept up with us as we ascended the rocks to look at nature's ledge and the slew of beer bottles, aerosol cans and a red plastic apple. We arranged and filled them with stones to stay upright in the wind.

There we were- The spawn of 'Nam soldiers and part of the dead mom's club. Scout was in her step dad's fatigue jacket. I lost my dad's fatigues in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1991.

We stood with the Sage as we walked through the stages of armament. Practicing a ritual that only supports further realization that a woman with self confidence and the ability to call her own shots needs a boy like a fish needs a bicycle. The sage pulled the 38 out of the holster and I heard that slinky Gary Rossington guitar part and the lyrics, "Mr. Saturday Night Special...has a barrel that's blue and cold....aint good for nothin'....but put a man 6 feet in the hole."

We were singing Lynrd Skynrd like children but yet we had enough gun powder to blow away the pain for every time we were invalidated, used and robbed. Having my good nature manipulated was one of my particular afflictions. But the demon was excorcised the minute when Jesus, the holy ghost and cold hard steel were miraculously connected by my index finger. "Well Punk, did I fire six shots, or was it three? "

My brain was a medley of music...Rage against the machine....Pocket full of shells.....The left side pocket of my hoodie was full as we reloaded. One taking turns on the wheel gun, the other on the automatic. The Sage filled the magazine in an ordered trifecta of practice. The sounds of metal, time and gunfire were hitting rocks and dirt. It was a wild western movie. It was heaven. This was all part of the great adventure.

And that afternoon, I had an epiphany through the act of target practice: It is only when one can truly defend themselves in word and action for protection, they stop acting as a potential target for bad behavior. It is not about the gun in and of itself, it is about boundaries and protecting what is valued for the greater good.

Scout and I were on our way to becoming citizens and true virtuous women--- Not victims, not trophies; not dolls, not usable vessels that when emptied are discarded for another. The spirits of our motherly matrons were laughing at us, as we chanted over and over,"Gimme back my bullets".

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today's deep thought: Horse sense forgotten

Horse sense is noun that means common sense, good judgement, logic. I understand it as an awareness of acuity in a way that a horse can and does sense things. It can also mean the sense that comes from working with or around horses that may transfer into an uncommon but innate understanding of people or situations. Having it takes time, years and it is a quality that is earned through struggle and if nothing else total failure. I do not own a horse currently. However, I have flashbacks of my early life with horses quite frequently which is the inspiration for my "deep thought" today. I will take you back to that moment:

My parents didn't have any money yet bought this Thoroughbred Quarter horse for me because I wanted a barrel horse . I didn't just want a horse, I wanted a winning barrel horse. And my mother was dying of cancer and wanted to give me something whether it was practical or not. It wasn't practical, it was the furthest thing from it and as I review my own relationship to finances as an adult: I see the paradox of my own undoing. I see how I might have been set up from the start of my young life to desire and to want beyond the means of logic and actuality. It was the venomous want, the sweet sickly poison of consumerism that now is trampling mid-lifers like my self as part of our "dirty little secret" in Amercian economics.

In my teenage head, I wanted to look like every other girl did hanging on for dear life amidst the pounding hooves, the flying gravel and sand. I wanted to feel that tension through my whole body of that animal pushing and reaching with all of its might; And I wanted to feel like a winner. I wanted to be a winner. My sister and I would play "barrel horse" and take turns racing. We would act out the movements, talking to the horse---everything I saw the other girls do when I watched the speed events at horse shows.

My dad hated horse shows; but he put up with it because he loved my mother and at least we were involved in something constructive. It was before the advent of teenage self -pleasuring devices otherwise known as cell phones, i-pods, and the infamous PSP. It was before the consumer brain fuck revolution that has since turned most teens into friekish little sociopathic extortionists. But in essence, I was just like they are: Wanton, needy and trying to experience reality with some gadget that was all mine; for me, that was a fast horse.

It had to be early spring because snow and ice were on the ground. I did not go with my dad that day to get the horse but I waited patiently for him to come home.Well, he came home alright, but apparently there was an accident. The horse (that stood over 16 hands tall) wouldn't go in the tiny trailer we borrowed when my dad went to pick it up. He manhandled the horse, as he always did, into the trailer and it got hurt in the process. So the animal was lame from the time it came home. It ended up going to auction and eventually a slaughterhouse.

I woke up this morning and relived that moment. It is one of the many incidences where I experienced first hand what my parents did consistently with money. I didn't need the horse. My dad did not need to endure the frustration of doing what he didn't want to do in the first place let alone be forced to manhandle it into the trailer. And my realization from reliving this moment was that trying to make something happen out of desperation to appease someone else or something only leads to lost prospects. Ironically, that was the horses name: Joby's Prospect. Furthermore, Jobe was the dude who God tested and made everything go to hell just short of his weenie falling off.

I always felt that Joby's Prospect was one of many curses to happen with the dream of being a successful winner in the horse world; to have that winning feeling and to be the best at something. Imagining that trophy or that ribbon in hand was part of the reward for the time put in to training and caring for a horse. But nothing ever happened that way in the barrel horse world for me; I had horse after horse from that time on and before I knew it, I was 18. I had a job and no time to ride anymore. Then, my mother was gone, and so was I---off to run the race of adult life. There were many times I felt an emptiness and a disappointment about that time of my life. I looked at other people who were in that realm with the same wanton-ness as that needy teenager because it was something that had lived itself out before I had a chance to let it go.

Years later, I realized that it was never really my dream to have horses, it was part of my parent's dream, the dream my siblings and I now refer to as the "Utopia". We were just part of it. But it will always be one of the greatest gifts I was given to learn from. Looking back onit, I am still learning the meaning of "horse sense". Although I don't look like a horsewoman today, it is a way of life that still exists beneath the surface and will always be there. I can saddle a horse from memory and I know that when you get bucked off, you have to get back on. But now, my horse sense needs to take a different approach and yet be revisited as I search for solid ways to be practical, healthy and happy with what I have-without over doing it.