i took the time i good to jot some notes about
how it was.
today is sunday. august 31st.
i just got out of bed, though i've been awake for a while
i've forgotten my dreams...
(mostly, i'm just recalling now that i met xavier as i drove back into
NYC and he met me oustside of my van
and said "guess what i found... " and handed me my old journal back...
the leather one i made... the mont blanc pen had been lost, though, but
he had bought me an old used one with someone else's name monogramed in
it... battered... )
but i lay in bed for quite a while
taking the homeopathics my mother gave to me
and rubbing oil into my swollen leg
-- the arsineca album was very strong
i felt it immediately go to the rash on my leg and burn
in that pleasant kind of way
-- thoughts of robert's email rolled through my head
though i did my best to quiet it: it's not important anymore.
the day went on here in a lazy sunday way:
upstairs there was already-cold sausage in a skillet on the stove
and it seemed like most of the people were gone
as i sat here typing, i heard the events of the day unfolding around
the mothers were at church
the fathers were out in the forest
"playing with the forest"
the chainsaws were growling out there
and soon my brother went out to help them split wood
-- it never occurred to me to help them
but when i walked out i talked with them a bit
grabbed my kombucha
and what else?
it was only moments later that louis came in telling us he'd been stung
and eventually he was taken the the hospital
i kept thinking of the story of two six year old friends
picking black berries
one gets stung by a bee
and is dead (forever)
- the boy in the that story always made me think of Louis
... now i think of louis...
last night, saturday, 30th...
i stayed up late with my brother Louis, my uncle Rick, my sister Kari
and louis's girl friend, Heather
around the fire rick made
it took a while for me to get out there initially
--- i decided to get the computer working and check my mail
and try to discover what the hell was wrong with my leg
in all likelyhood, it's a spider bite that has, of course, turned over
now, it's not pussy or anything
but there is a large red rash spread all the way around my leg
which is probably a strep or staph infection caused by the bite
(weakening my immune system from the venom and pushing bacteria from my
skin and the forest in my leg when i was bit)
but of course, i was derailed a bit by the emails:
robert's just making me sad he had to resort to being accusitory,
projectionary, and debasing
but it didn't hurt: it was so obviously said because i... had hurt him
though it made me question how often i really have "betrayed my
--other emails made me think of bears, of course
so i went to my various sites to look at them
and got incredibly horny and started emailing all sorts of people
' well, i'm driving through, and we could meet... '
and then felt kinda silly; sugar
and all cousins came in from drinking around the fire
after getting involved in a conversation about yet another person in my
life being diagnosed "diabetic"
i shut off the computer and went out to the fire
but the main part of the day was about canoeing.
that's what i came here for, i guess.
i woke up kinda early.
cajoled my old cd player (long forgotten downstairs) to play the
barely-burned cd Alain made for me
did yoga to "breathe" and "there there" and "Gypsy" and "amsterdam",
the day got going
everything felt so difficult and stressful
-refusing to come to this level of interraction
i became more abstracted from the Men here
the women and i danced between the layers...
everyone was worried about the day being cold
which it wasn't... really
it was a nice day
we went down the river in a little row boat...
- i wish there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt.
i was singing that song (the pyramid song)
and my father made a nasty comment about it
mother and syster shut him up, saying he enjoyed it
it was nice canoeing with Kari like that
then i kyaked alone for a while
really enjoyed the whole feeling on the river
despite the human tension
the trees, the green, the flowing water
the lightning flashes of salmon running under the water.
i swam a little
the cold rush of water
while the family stood around drinking beer and smoking cigars
the collage kids canoed passed us
joints and beers and jokes
and torturing the women
of course i started watching the fishermen
the other canoers
the big men in camo
the big men in camo
the long brimmed hats and full mustaches
the big arms and wide chests
the bellies and the blank stares
like dogs tackling eachother in the water
there was no one i could share this with
my mother took the kyack the rest of the way
and upon arrival at the landing
my syster and cousin rushed out and tipped my brother's canoe
-- a family tradition
the boys were all drunk
our clan and the colleged ones
and it was rolls and waves of picking up screaming girls
and throwing them in the water
everyone shivering and cold
we got back in the car and headed home...
after all the showers and tex-mex chip dip and ukranian dinner-feast
we all went down stairs to gather round the TV and watch an old family
where i, yet again, smiled a lot, but looked distanced and awkward in
and for nearly twenty minutes
the whole room laughed about my father picking a wedgie and squating to
re-adjust his underwear
insisting he come down to see it
because he'd hidden away from the whole family for two days
very little interaction
apparently he'd been diagnosed with diabetes and his retirement dreams
aren't blossoming to what he wants them to be
-- he hasn't talked with any of us about this
it's all been whispered behind his back
which is always in another room.
Friday, august 29
i arrived early in the morning, around nine o-clock
organized some things in my wreckaged van
put bags in on the seats of what i was taking in to the house
but the house was locked
and everyone was still asleep
(them having arrived at four or five in the morning)
i compiled a stack of books
and just started reading one
when my mother and father came out
it was all very friendly and nice to see them
in their sleeping clothes
all of us
the day was spaceous and open
and i was very tired
what, with this infection in my leg
wracking my body
i was very tired
and often found myself just acquecing to everything
(a good way to deal with my antagonistic family)
we went out for a less-than-mediocre family breakfast
and it seemed like so much of the table talk was a very offensive to my
he became quiet and sulky
and i hardly saw him the rest of the day
(bash him behind his back, we all did with aplumb)
it was tiring.
i showered for an hour
shampooing and conditioning my hair with fine potions from my mother
letting the water pour through me
and then collapsing into sleep on the couch
this is vacation
watched over by the seven deer heads, buffalo, elk and the turkey...
big family dinner
aunt chris hounding me about cutting off my beard
-- i told her i'd be glad to if she shaved her head
it almost shut her up quick.
thursday the 28th
we woke very sore
hard to move my leg at all
and very reluctant to get out of bed
it was very cold
and it was only the coughing of Mark from behind my van that convinced
me i should be going
seeing that i had planned to drive twelve hours or something
>> mmmm, be on the road by eight and i'll arrive... ugh...<<
i gathered up the remnats from last night's fire
and the burlap bag with two logs left in it
straightened out the mirrors
and by the time he'd put his tent back together
Vic was all warmed up and we were on our way
i drove and drove
Mark in his shirtsleeves
chilly, but toughing it out
we drove through North Bay entirely missing any usefull stop
though i'd mentioned "Fish and Chips" and we'd bother been nurturing
and hunger for it for breakfast
and Vic needed gas..
we saw a billboard for "Chesters" and tried to keep our eyes out for it
never seeing it
but we did see a hitch hiker
i swirved over and stopped for him
his name was Brian
and he had a mullet
black cap on
flanel shirt, unbottoned, exposing his big belly covered by a red shirt
and black jeans
big bright eyes
and thin unshaven beard
on a very Red Indian face
didn't usually hitchhike... tended to walk the forty miles from town to
he and i and we started hemming and hawing about America
the whole world being fucked up
and being silent a moment as we drove by a bridge that someone must
have grappled over to write
"THIS IS INDIAN LAND"
in large capital letters...
as brian sat behind me talking in his animated voice
and Mark stared determidly in front of him interjecting words
and i rattled off responses to Brians excitment
and his body came into my perception clearly
i could feel his thick legs
the curve of his belly
and the heat began to rise
a smile crossed my lips and i let it go
Brian told us the perfect place to get fish and chips
"all you can eat... on thursdays. my father in law took me out there
shifting around the conversation on how to get there
i handed him a pen
and he set out to draw us a map to get there
upon arrival in HAGAR
(" like the viking? "
""No, that guy had two G's and the little points over the A.. "")
he gave us the map
with all the details we could possibly use to get us to "Teklenburg's"
"and he waitress's name is Karen..."
he told me about his wife's illness: sever rhumatoid arthritis
i gave him a kombucha culture
he was very excited
said "maybe i'll see you again out there on the road"
and Mark and i watched him saunter off down the arm of the intersection
as we looked over our maps to see how long it would take to get to
wasn't long at all
we got there found Techlanburg's easily, with the help of his map
and Karen told us it was usually tuesday that they had the
but she'd give it to us..
recommended a great beer
(so mark said he'd drive after lunch)
and the place was owned by a dutch couple
the wife came out and served us and i nearly bursted getting to say to
just after leaving town
mark picked up another hitch hiker
and eli called
we talked about the journal first and formost
though the excuse for calling was the computer
which, after three disconnections, he admitted wasn't important
is this maturing? or giving in?
are these the same things?
when i just have to shrug and say
"i don't understand friendship"
i don't understand love?
i don't understand family?
let it go
let it play
i was on the phone with Eli and Eric
while the next hitchhiker was in the car
and left his cigarettes in there..
just ten minutes later
Mark stopped to pick up another..
these two kids, girl/boy
and their dog.
who had gotten into a skunk recently
and the girl, Harvey, had got into it too...
Justin, the boy, just smelled sour
and it was then that i questioned just how helpful i should be
just through the first town
the van started screaming
and i told mark to pull over:
a belt was smoking
he turned off the engine
the belt was melting
there was a auto shop just a minute's walk away
and they told us to pull up
and told us not to worry
"it's just the air pump
just a stupid pollution thingie
look man, i've been running mine without it for eight years"
and he showed me his engine
"shit, i need to get a new alternator belt on there..."
so onward we drove
and the kids sat in the back and talked
but they smoked
and read johova's witness mags
and complained about the world
and jumping trains
it started to rain
just as we pulled into Sault Sainte Marie
i felt bad about leaving them
but not bad enough to say goodbye.
and rush off into the rain through the city
to the beautiful bridge leading to michigan
i called my mom
and told her about my leg
and asked for salves or homeopaths or something
she called Val
who said it was a spider bite
and helped clear it
i also asked my mum to pray for me to get through the customs with
and it worked...
the threw a dog to sniff around in my van
and the dog guy asked me
"when was the last time you smoked in your van?"
' smoked what? '
i said, not falling into such insinuations
'kids were smoking cigarettes in there today
but i don't smoke them
and haven't smoked any marijuana in my van'
'fuck you, then'
another pitbull beside me said
"what'd you just say?"
'he called me a liar... and he doesn't even know me'
i was through in about a half hour.
i haven't ever smoked any marijuana in my van.
the sun was setting
as i got over the Mackinaw bridge
which was beautiful
more beautiful than the Golden Gate by far
but so far away
and so less seen...
my parent's weren't going to be at the cabin by 11 as they said
so i took my time at overlooks and rest stops
(nothing going on to speak of)
but such beautiful vistas
but i was too far away as the sun went down
and my sleeping patern was to twisted
i began to swerve off the road by midnight
only 20 miles away i drove down a dirt road
and slept in a farmer's field...
Wednesday, august 27th.
woke this morning in Alain's bed.
it was about ten, i think
and alain kept saying
"oh, don't worry, you can stay in bed, i'll make breakfast"
but he kept comming back and chatting with me and carressing me
but not sexually at all. he was being very loving and friendly
so great to see him, big shaved head and huge full beard
i had to tackle him
cuddle him up
wrassle him into position
and dance with him
such love and playfulness and beauty
it was nearly noon by the time we finally got out of bed
and then i started trying to make a cd
1 everything in its right place (christopher o'riley)
2 little kids (ladytron mix) (kings of convenience)
3 martha, my dear (beatles)
4 can't get enough of your love (barry white)
5 dreams (fleetwood mac)
6 bridge over troubled water (simon and garfunkle)
7 breathe (telepopmusik)
8 there there (radiohead)
9 gypsy (stevie nicks)
10 me and bobby mcgee (janis joplin, alain insisted)
11 let down (christopher o'riley)
12 on the way to the club (blur)
13 amsterdam (coldplay)
14 wolf at the door (radiohead)
15 out of time (blur)
16 taxi ride (tori amos)
17 julia (beatles)
18 parallel lines (kings of convenience)
but it, of course, didn't work
we surrendered and went to breakfast at Le Petit Boudon
and i ate a lot a lot
and we made jokes
and the waitress....
well, it was beautiful to see a kinda white-trash/red-neck/lovin french
and it was past four by the time i left
and i had meant to be on the road by eight!
so i would certainly miss meeting Christopher in Ottawa
(whom i'd met in Province town...)
and it was only an hour of driving
(beautiful rivers and rolling hills)
that i stopped for a hitch hiker named Mark
who also was from Indiana
"never expected to have another Hoosier pick me up"
he was from Greencastle
just an hour or so north of where i grew up...
we talked about small rivers
and New Mexico, where he'd been going to school
and Alaska, where Mark was heading
after hitchhiking across canada...
we talked about the mississippi
when mark graduated from highschool
he and some guy
went to minnessota
and canoed down the mississippi river
all the way to New Orleans
so this year...
he's taking a year off
from his first year of school
"hmmm, yeah, i don't want to go back.. there's just too much else to
live... but i feel i'd severely damage my relationship with my parents
if i didn't finish collage..."
we drove til all the light was gone from the sky
mark at the wheel then
and we parked by a little swamp
started a fire
(by pitchwood and found kindling... it took the both of us to get it
he made mac and cheese
and i added a salsa my aunt had given me and i had doctored up with
fresh garlic and cayanne pepper...
talked til it was late
me rolling him herbal cigarettes
(lobelia and damiana and nutmeg and osha and mugwort and mullen...)
i walked to the road looking for mars
who didn't look so orange as i knew him
standing in the middle of the highway
then the semitruck crested the horizon
and i was bombarded by much more light
much more noise
from both directions
i crossed the road
waiting for the silence and subtlety to return.