IF HE WAS FROM VENUS, WOULD HE FEED US WITH A SPOON?
—The Replacements, Alex Chilton
The chords are such colors as pleased the artist,
and that is the reason, I think, they now please others.
The more I think about it, the more miffed I am
that I wasn’t asked to that party. Good grief,
why am I being treated like a baby? A lot of work
gets done here, and a lot of magic has happened
in this place over the years. He loves it;
he really loves this room and what he’s done in it.
When it came, the sound from his throat was strangled
as if he had come to the end of some strange, exhausting battle.
The most sacred things carry us beyond words.
The story of a major alteration of consciousness that occurred because,
apparently, it was time for it to happen.
I had the impression that some corner of his soul
was still attached to wherever he’d been,
but the ties were weakening. We clustered around him
in chairs and on the floor. He’d launch into us
about our appearances. Everything you do,
it seems like you strive for anonymity.
Thank you, I said, reaching up and stroking the side of his cheek.
I feel horrible for all of his women. There were no other girls
to hang out with, believe me, it was mostly guys
and the few women that were there
didn’t really know they were women.
It’s hard to believe I’ve finally met somebody who’s trying
all of these things, exploring the universe, and isn’t afraid
of discovery, when most people want just to make enough money
to support families and house payments, and buy the usual nice things.
For years and years I’ve been fascinated by this whole idea
of experience, of exploration, and I’ve read Huxley and Michaux
and anybody else I could find who seemed to know anything about it.
I kept gazing at him, trying not to let my happiness show.
It was a rare thing for me to be feeling so happy.
I had long ago figured out the conflicts involved in trying
to clear up any accumulation of objects that represented
some part of myself, especially an unwanted part.
But that wore off pretty quickly. There are coordination problems
with the fingers, a few little odd neurological signs that bear watching.
What am I doing to my body? When I first started performing
I got a kind of thrill out of it. I had exactly what I wanted.
There were mornings when I felt like the king
of the world. I’d imagined myself
into my life. Everything you do—it seems like you strive
for anonymity. I like to think, because of my unlimited talent
I would’ve risen back to the top and been recognized
sooner or later anyway, but that’s not necessarily true.
Basically, I have one feeling—the desire
to get out of here. Do you want me to quit, or do you want
rock & roll? One of the problems in talking
about this kind of exploration is vocabulary.
There simply aren’t the right words available, words
everyone can agree on to do a good job of defining
this territory. We got chased all the same. These fucking rednecks
just came out of a truck and started shooting at us. There was this law
in Memphis, where if your hair touched the top of your ears
you could be arrested for being a homosexual. I remember
not having any sort of feeling of anything but verbal aggression.
I had no feeling of physical aggression. Do you want rock & roll,
or do you want me to quit? We clustered
around him, in chairs and on the floor. He’d launch into us
about our appearances. Decorate the tree, kids!
I have come to appreciate, at a very deep level,
the possibility that this state (blessedly transient),
might be the day-to-day reality of some guy out there
on the street. The house is dominated by its three-story
living room and impressive fireplace, built out of impressive dark stone
and volcanic rock. From the outside,
this was an impressive-looking A-frame house.
The windows were immense, allowing a view of trees
and the Mississippi which flowed past us.
There was no insulation anywhere. We were cold
all the time.