Posts Tagged 'improvisational'

Felipe II

Felipe II was the finest creator and destroyer of roadside attractions ever seen along Route 66 back in the day. Or roadside distractions, as he liked to call them.  Felipe had quick and changeable interests. The plastic reproduction of the redwood forest in Chloride, Arizona held his interest until it was two-thirds completed, and now it lies, a city of cracked and petrified plastic wood, with bumper stickers fading on the date shake shack – from the gulfstream waters to the Chloride forest – and the exit itself is a cluster of broken asphalt, a closed, possessive world. Felipe never looked back, it was said. Rumor had it there was no Felipe I, that’s what they said.

Felipe II wore a quirky wood band around his head, giving him the look of a suffering Christ with the figure of a Bob’s Big Boy. He did not tolerate philosophical discussions, but he did love time and the road itself.

“The older I become,” he told me the day we met – the only time we met – “the more connections I can make between time, experience and place.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Nothing, what the hell do you think I mean?” He said, and pulled out his map of California. Death Valley – good place for a dinosaur museum and ice skating rink. The Thing – it is whatever you want it to be. Wherever you want it to be. The roadside fruit stands, the tarantula meandering across the yellow lines, the shimmering road itself. That was time. I think that was time. To Felipe. Every crack in the road, every fissure, was another idea, another tumbleweed, another billboard. Every 100 miles a sign said “next gas 100 miles, stop here!” and we did. We bought copper bracelets and moccasins, postcards and ashtrays, plastic fish skeleton combs, mirrors with dead city logos embossed on the back.

Felipe II died in Flagstaff in 1982. His body was taken by Mexican bandits and laid out on the top of a flat red butte, and there he rejoined the earth, turning slowly into Felipe jerky, lines of his life spreading out on the hot surface, still visible even 30 years later. A faint tracing, like an old town, you can see it still, if you can find the way up.



Maru bought a carnivorous plant at her local nursery and named it Seymour (ha ha ha ha, she said to her 12-year-old son and her neighbor, Phyllis, who grew tomatoes). The carnivorous plant never did learn its own name, which was something Kenyon, her son, could never understand. He stood in front of Seymour three times a week and misted him and gave him ground earthworms from a resealable vacuum pack. But maybe Seymour does know his name, thought Kenyon, maybe it just doesn’t show he knows it because Seymour does not have eyes. He went to the Party Barn and bought plastic stick-on googly eyes and affixed these to Seymour’s widest leaf. The carnivorous plant’s google eyes bobbled along with an amiable little bounce, but it was never clear that the bobble eyes actually looked, actually saw. Kenyon was worried that Seymour was looking in some utterly other direction, so he removed the googly eyes. Now the widest leaf swayed gently on its sturdy stalk, gently and rhythmically, contemplative. The ground earthworms disappeared overnight, regardless of which side of Seymour Kenyon placed them. Maybe he has eyes all round, thought Kenyon.

One day, Kenyon made a trail of ground earthworm that started at the buried roots of the flytrap pot and trailed along randomly through the greenhouse and out the greenhouse door. When he awoke the next morning, the flytrap was gone. In its place was a trail of root bits and mud dragging along the shelf and down to the ground, out and through the greenhouse and into the open field. The field was full of corn and sunflowers. The business end of Seymour settled into the cornfield and waited, biding its time til the corn was ripe and the children of the village came looking for it, for the legend of it, that no one ever believed in anyway.

The Menstrual Chronicles

The Menstrual Chronicles, Part I

Wherein we have a problem, a need for absolution, a problem that drops oh soft and miserable onto the sand. The sand where the pilgrims wandered, the sand where the hoi polloi met in tents and barbecue stands, where the ribs were sucked clean and the fingers were washed in the blood of the lamb and in little bowls of clear water. Absolution shooting out of deep skies in lost cities in continents local and far away, as far away as Obiwan as far away as Moses as far away as Jesus as far away as Osama as close as Jerry as close as Mike as close as election day as close as daybreak, as close as faith.

The Menstrual Chronicles, Part II

We planted snapdragons, we did, one spring and they bloomed. We sang to them in the yard, all of us, with the karaoke machine hooked up to the orange extension cord that we jerryrigged with an adapter that made it foolish dangerous but we’d read in a catalog, a farmer’s almanac, a hippie guide to life on other planets that life on this planet is better when you sing to your flowers. So we did, karaoke Joan Jett and Hannah Montana and Alice Cooper and Louis Armstrong, I see skies of blue red roses too I watch them bloom for me and you and I think to myself what a wonderful world. Those were the best snapdragons and daffodils and bluebells and little wild roses that ever grew in our sucking mud clay. Then one day the plug overheated and the cord melted and there was a little spark in the early morning dew and that was the end of our snadragon concert.

The Menstrual Chronicles, Part III

Wherein we have a problem, the problem of virtue and right living, wherein we have a problem of definition and decay, wherein the blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, but rather becomes the reconstitution of mashed potatoes and purified water and loaves and fishes, wherein amendments play American gladiator with commandments and we all sit down and direct our prayers to several kinds of mecca, where our knees are the worn knees of supplicants and carpet layers, where the marshmallow visions come thick, fast, and suffocating.

The Menstrual Chronicles, Part IV

Cyclic, of course, like gardens and bleeding, like saviours and sinners, the devil is a dog with his tail between his legs. We set aside our discontents, said be grateful for where we live, said thank you sweet Jesus for not making me live in Lubbock or Manchester, thank you for soccer, thank you for my libido and yours, thank you for gratitude, thank you for honest mistakes,  thank you for chicken-fried steak, and once again thank you that I can have chicken-fried steak without having to live in Lubbock, A-men.

The Menstrual Chronicles, Part D

Wherein we change all the regulations and re-write the rules and then hold a few meetings and air some dirty laundry and discover that we’ve all been angry and discontented all this time and that secretly we all knew it would never ever work anyway and then we reconvene to discuss the whole mess later, after the funding’s been approved and then we all go home to watch Indian movies, Bollywood taking us far away from all this. We all go home and dream of frog princes in Bombay, their handsome black-lined eyes, their promises, and when Pavlov calls us, we wake willingly.

The Menstrual Chronicles, Part VI

I sit in the radio silence, there is static but in that moment I am meditative, calm, ecstatic, supraservient and then there is a moment, a moment unlike the others in which we watch the sea change from blue to green to black to gold. Fecundity, fidelity, fear, faith, the heirophant and the rod. It’s looking like a game of Texas hold ‘em from here. Play it close to the vest, watch their eyes and their hands and those little twitching places we’ve all got somewhere that gives away our secrets, for those who are looking.

**Take note: This is a completely improvisational, altogether unedited, 30 minutes timed writing in group. I offer no guarantees of quality or sense, it is just pen to paper, write it and let it go.

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