June 28, 1992: October Ritual Performed in June


A Sunday in June around eight? Maybe even nine. It's damp out cuz it rained earlier. The light is fading but it's not dark yet. Everything is gray, but it's not yet dark enough that objects are indistinguishable. It's dark enough that the bright spots, like the taillights of oncoming cars, seem to promise something, like a more vibrant reality waiting to be discovered just around the corner.

What the fuck am I thinking?

Now that I've stopped making sense entirely, I'll let the purpose of my mission once again restore meaning to my life. My mission is to go to the graveyard and spend some time with the ancestors. I've got some candles in my pocket. I'm going to light them at some graves. And then I'm going to contemplate the state of my world. And I'm going to contemplate those who have recently made it so... and try to understand.

We live in an artificial world, a made world. Human things make up the substance of our lives. But frankly, at this point, all opinions have come to seem equally valid, so I really shouldn't venture any editiorial statements. I'll try to confine myself to a report of events.

I'm walking west on 8th Street, coming up on Grant. Lincoln. Washington. Walking by the place where A__ once lived. It's more beautiful than anyplace I've ever lived.

Why not romanticize poverty? I'll take my romance wherever I can get it. Well, that's not true.

Did I mention that I'm very drunk? This would be good evidence for the police when they detain me.

Anyway, back to my mission, which lends a sense of purpose and meaning to my life this evening...

How did we come to this place? Why did you lead us here? How did this place come to be, and why did you make it so? Can we accept stupidity as one of the reasons? Or ignorance, maybe I should say. To be more respectful. Becuz I mean no disrespect. Understand that.

As I pass the courthouse square I'm surprised by a surge civic pride.

Thought for the day:

If I can begin to accept some of the differences between K___ and I as real, fundamental differences between two people of different sexes -- in other words, if I can see it as a gender thing, not necessarily a cosmic gender thing by any stretch of the imagination, but just a gender thing that other people might experience as well -- I think that can be profitably exploited, becuz it's a landscape rich in detail which I can use to construct alternate realities.


A guy goes out into the woods -- this is sometime after 2000 -- and he happens to run into three teenage boys whose parents are letting 'em camp out overnite. He talks to them; they explain what they're doing; he explains what he's doing. The kids say, "Hey, you wanna get high?" The guy can't believe it -- he's too paranoid to pop a question like that on strangers. But the kids are too young to be paranoid. They get him high, and he gets them high, and then, they trade stories. The guy says, "There's only one condition in this story-telling evening, OK? And that's that none of us will ask if any of the stories are for real. Let's not even get into the idea of truth or falsity. Let's just listen to these stories. And if some of us are seduced into believing something which never happened actually did, then more power to us."

And more power to the author, whoever he is. More power to him, more glory to us. The author brings us glory thru his power.

The cemetary at last. Rose Hill. Black Chevy pickup, stone fence, sidewalk, trees, a lamp in a window, a streetlight, a gate. Rosehill cemetary. A TV antenna against the darkening sky, which is so deeply blue that it's almost, almost violet -- but not quite. Blinking red beacon of a radio tower, on the horizon, just visible over the crest of Rose Hill. Dogs howling down the street. And I pass thru the gate, under the sign that says, in gold, Rosehill Cemetary. And now I'm inside.

To my right I can still see the world of the living, the street with its traffic and houses. But to my left I can see nothing but headstones on the rising slope of Rose Hill. Trees, headstones, and more headstones. There's a crematorium or some such up ahead. I'm not sure exactly where to go. With lack of any better plan, I'm drawn to the crest of the hill, to the biggest monument I can see, which is engraved with the name: WALDRON.

A police officer comes upon a young man in a cemetary at night, a young man sitting all alone with a couple candles, sitting on one of the grave sites, just sitting there in the darkness and looking off at the distant city lights. The officer comes to him and asks what's up, what's the problem? And the young man says he's simply sitting there, enjoying the darkness. He looks up at the cop and says -- It's kinda interesting actually, but I guess you're on the beat; you probably don't have time to sit down and talk for a few minutes? The cop says he's got enough time to talk; secretly he's suspicious that this guy's drunk or stoned or crazy, and he wants to hear what he has to say; his curiousity has been aroused. He sits down on a tombstone. And the young man launches into a long and rambling narrative: I don't know where the trouble began really, he says. And he reels out an account of his life, his whole life, a life which troubles him for reasons he can't seem to articulate, no matter how he tries. The cop sits and listens as the young man piles story upon story, trying to account for his sense of alienation. The cop responds to each of these sallies nonverbally -- first he shrugs, then he scratches his head, then he shakes his head slowly, furrows his brow, grinds his teeth, shifts about uncomfortably. At the end, at last, he comes up with a story from his life, a story which only serves to illustrate that he has felt the same nameless dread, but has simply chosen not to dwell on it, not to confront it, not to sit in cemetaries at night and ruminate on the darkness within.

Ancestors. I came here to ask you for wisdom. But it turns out -- I'm laughing now as I realize this -- it turns out I'm not really seeking after it. Not tonite.

Or perhaps you've already visited me and satiated my thirst for wisdom and I'm such a fool that I don't recognize wisdom when I see it.

What's the archetypal signal of drunkeness in our culture? Urinating in public, I would say.

There's a couple jogging thru here, a male and female couple. I think it's the same couple that I saw come thru here just a bit ago. It must be. How many couples could be jogging in the cemetary at nite on Sunday? They make me nervous. There's a dog barking to greet them on the other side as they exit again.

On my way back home; I'm reaching 7th Street but I'm still west of the square. These houses really confuse me: some seem deadbeat white trash, others completely bourgeouis, and still others chic and bohemian. Artists or grad students -- I really am confused.

Is it really possible that there are freaks beyong counting in these houses?

I couldn't surrender to oblivion tonite. I was filled with a sense of nausea. I'm not ready for that. I'm too young. I fear death too much to embrace sleep. How am I going to understand that death and life are not discrete entities?

The ancestors were obscure. As always. (That's Mr. Copy up ahead. I'm getting real close to home now.) Yeah, the ancestors kind of left me scratchen my head. But I'm glad I went. I did receive a certain amount of inspiration. I don't remember what it is, but of course, I've made a record.

I made it across 10th Street -- oh man -- you know I am practically home FREE. Oh wow: There's a guitar in that person's apartment -- maybe they're cool.

Home sweet home: Cottage Groove #1. There's a message on the answering machine from J__: "Man, you suck. You suck big... boners. Man, you should be over here. Ha ha, I'm just kidding about the big boners, but you should come over and chill out with us becuz we're about to watch this film, and food's ready, and we're just ready, man. Talk to you later. There's also some snowflake rolls."