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Oakland Carnaval Parade

June 10th, 2002

Has Its Hangover
Sunday. The rug, as I mentioned, seems clean. Instead of returning the Rug Doctor device late Saturday, I let everything dry overnight and then used up the last bit of soap solution to go to over one or two places I thought might use another pass. The rug has that clean combed parallel lines look you get after vacuuming. Moved some chairs around. Picked up one or two things from the floor, looked at them curiously, looked at the pile of flattened ready to be popped open and packed paper cartons, looked at the thing in my hand again. You can see the strain in my eyes, unfamiliar thinking whirring inside "thing in hand - packing box; thing in hand - packing box". Scratch head. Put thing back on floor. Close. Not quite, but close. Maybe next weekend.

I'm playing some of the old albums. Sweet Surrender off Tim Buckley's Greetings from L.A.. A long time favorite, play it three or four times. The Jim and Jean Changes album. Ancient folk music. Haven't played it in decades. Nobody's played it in decades or, at least, nobody's willing to admit it. Nice. Flip through some Jeff Beck, maybe old automatic man Roy Buchanan, maybe the soundtrack to Performance, one of the great all time movie soundtracks. You forget them, after a while. David Bowie, The Prettiest Star. How are you doing these days MSC? I miss you.

That's been an ongoing question. My uncle sang his entire life. When he was younger heOakland Carnaval Parade performed with the Seattle and Portland symphonies and he sang at weddings and funerals right up to the very end of existence. His son sings today in Seattle. His music was opera, of course, but he listened to it every day with real enjoyment. I started with rock and roll in the late fifties, had an affair with opera, operetta and broadway musicals in college (there was a lull in there between early Elvis and the Beatles), came back to rock and roll when I was in the army for a fairly intense ten or twelve listening years and then piddled off into the sunset. I'm out here now in the sunset.

Is there a way to bring it back? It's moving me now as I write on this late warm afternoon in Oakland, the sliding doors to the balcony open wide, the sun bright against the building across the narrow street in front of my apartment. Life is good. Music when it's good is like sex. I have this urge to knock on the apartment door of one of the women living downstairs and ask her up to fuck. Something languid and slippery. That's what I mean by the music is good and not something you want to lose. Or is that too crude?

That's what makes writing and photography work, you know, all of the arts really, which is why people do them. Maybe they should stress it in beginning art classes, give the kids a fundamental understanding there's more than just water in the watercolors. "Children, the reason people write and draw and shoot pictures is because it's like hot steamy sex and you ought to give it a try." Increase class participation. Or would that raise eyebrows?

I think Mailer said something like that back when I was barricaded in the old Rip Off Ranch writing. Said it to titillate the press, of course, doesn't take much to get them excited. But it's true. Anything worth doing is experienced with that kind of intensity, you don't have to call it sex, call it rapture, call it emotional involvement, call it intellectual fulfillment, but it's got that snakey pinball all the bells go boom tilt to it too. (It's also got the morning after come down and every other miserable battle you've experienced in the war between the sexes, but, you know, there's no free lunch. Every high has its hangover.)

The photographs were taken at the Oakland Carnaval Parade.