Rosebuds in the devil strips
It’s weird. Waking up this morning, I came out of a dream where I was walking along a sidewalk between frost-covered lawns and a similarly frosty grass median, what my late and sainted mum used to call “devil strips,” with a series of stunted rosebushes along the way. The leaves on the rosebushes were frozen, too, and the sky was cold and gray like it’s been around here lately.
At some point I looked down and noticed buds on the rosebush branches. And I was overcome with the kind of tears that well up and burst when, well, dunno about you, but for me it’s when I hear the music of Bach or Barber or Brian Wilson, or the time I was walking through the Museum of Modern Art and saw all those Picassos and Pollocks and Van Goghs and even Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth in person — tears of joy, of absloute gladness and gratitude to be alive in that moment.
And then my surroundings started warming up, and the buds started opening into flowers, and the frost evaporated and the gray hues became animated with more vibrant colors. I was crying in the dream, something I don’t remember ever happening before, crying because the impact of birth and life and death and rebirth hit me to the depth and core of my being.
That’s the best I can explain it. I had other dreams, too; in one, the boyfriend of a friend I stayed with this past summer was selling off all my old stuff, things left over from my past life as a writer and editor — most of those clothes and accoutrements have been gone from my life from a while, anyway: after the bad marriage, the house fire, the divorce, the financial collapse from not being able to find work, et cetera. And in another, I was trying to cross the rain-slicked intersection where Stockton Boulevard crosses Alhambra Boulevard and turns into P Street, except it was as wide as the Amazon and choked with too-fast cars.
Then I woke up and remembered what happened yesterday, when the Supreme Court essentially struck down any prohibitions that have kept corporations from buying every elective office in this godforsaken country, from president to dogcatcher, and from flooding elections with a bunch of bullshit initiatives and ballot propositions that buttrape the average joe or betty even further than they’re already fucked. My first impulse was to root around for a bottle of bourbon and a pack of smokes, but I quit drinking 17 years ago, and it’s been almost 11 years since I sucked on a cig. And I remembered that all things pass and, like the weather, things change. Constantly.
Still, what I felt this morning was not unlike watching the coach for the opposing team slip the ref a few benjamins, and then suddenly the scoreboard has 50 points added to the other team’s column, and as a player who’s just gotten shafted, you have the choice of either throwing a world-class ing-bing, which would result in your getting your ass tossed from the game for a technical foul, or else hanging back until the next step becomes more clear.
I don’t know what that is, friends. I really don’t.
A few days ago, I wrote a horribly nasty review of the new Heidi Montag album, Superficial; it may be the most vicious thing I’ve ever written. And if you knew me personally, you’d grasp that I’m generally kind and gentle and go out of my way to avoid hurting or killing things — insects and spiders, even. I don’t go off unless I have good reason, in this case on something by total famewhores with big money and a big distribution system behind them. If there’s any solace, it’s that people aren’t stupid, and that the record reportedly sold a grand total of 658 copies in its first week of release.
What this Supreme Court decision does is pave the way for Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, or their political equivalent, to serve as frontstooge for whatever malevolent corporation or keiretsu wants to foot the bill. And while I know that there are some very smart people who are burning barrels of the midnight oil to figure out how to keep this toxic stinkbomb from killing what little is left of American representative democratic process, and that nothing is over until it’s over, and sometimes it’s best to hang loose until things get sorted out, my initial impulse is to panic. The paranoid idea that, if Tila Tequila or Jon Gosselin could be controlled in ways that would serve overlord interests, then what’s to stop a consortium of Monsanto and Halliburton and Service Corporation International and Xe (formerly Blackwater) and the rest of the Wall Street rogues gallery from installing either of them? It kinda detonates in my momentarily alarmed brainpan like a buzzkill of brown acid, butyl nitrate and a few bong hits of skanky ragweed. Goddamn bad juju, Maynard.
And three words unless this shit gets dealt with straightaway? President Sarah Palin. Roast that bud, podnas.
But, of course, the secret, at least for me, is not to panic. The dream was a good sign. Things will get better. All is not lost. The wheel turns, and then it turns again. Cheers. —Jackson Griffith