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I Have Returned

I was there. I made it. I did it. I went. I saw. I did. I gave. I received. I laughed. I cried. I kissed a couple of thousand bucks goodbye. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen, & I’ve seen some weird shit. This was weirdness cubed… in five dimensions. I was it. It was me. & we were all together. Kookookachoo…
The stuff is all familiar. Normal everyday things. Regular humans. The content is prosaic, but the context is completely different, the configurations are strange. There’s a bicycle. No, actually it’s two or three bicycles that have been hashed together into a thing that still functions as a bicycle, but it looks & acts strangely. There’s a couch, it’s coming up the street under its own power.Those are just people, but they’re looking & acting strangely. Or are they? Everything is turned inside out. Weird is normal. Normal is weird. It’s like being on another planet.

There’s no money here. It took a lot of money for all these people & things to get here, but once they’re here, there’s no money. Weird. People doing what they enjoy doing just for the sheer joy of doing it, without having to worry about how badly they’re getting screwed. Money is out of the equation, here, for one week out of the year. Just the absence of advertising makes it an alien landscape. It is a by god city & it does the things that cities do, provide a place in which a lot of people can live together, but there’s something different. It’s like being on another planet.
I like to think that if Civilization as We Know It were to suddenly collapse, the Burners wouldn’t know the difference & would just keep on partying. However, this whole thing is utterly dependent upon the established infrastructure of Civilization as We Know It, so it probably wouldn’t play like that. Nonetheless, I’d like to believe that the spirit of doing what you can with what you got & helping each other out, which is how things work out here, will serve us well when the collapse we all know is coming sooner or later does come. On this planet.

It is after all camping, which has been accurately described by Patrick McManus as a Fine And Pleasant Misery. So it’s not all fun & wonderful. One gets a full range of quality of experience, from “Oh my god, this is so fucking beautiful!” to “Oh man, this really sucks!” Manic frenzy to tepid indolence. A whole city of stressed out campers. Okay, they’re not all stressed out. Some of them are in motorhomes, so they hardly know the difference. Anyway, pretty much all states of mind are present & represented & expressed (or not).

“Holy Crap!” That seemed to be my mantra, I found myself saying that every few minutes or so, when I was out cruising around. “Lookitlookitlookit..! That’s… no, wait, here’s… Oh, man, they didn’t really… they really did. Holy Crap!” Everything all the time. Well, not everything. This is another planet, if not another dimension. There are no bugs, no birds, no bees, no weeds, no trees, no concrete or asphalt or tarmac. And no limitations on imagination. Which is totally weird, strange & unusual.

Gratuitous Weirdness. Long may it wave.

I was told that I am okay. May it be so.

I Was Really There

Behold! It is I – & I am It. I am there (well, I was there) & look! I’m on the other side of the monitor now! It’s that guy, & he’s at Burning Man™ out there on that playa thing with his silly bike. Silly bikes don’t get stolen, according to my theory. That’s a kid’s BMX bike I bought for Zerek in Santa Rosa California when he was like 10 years old. It came to Roswell with us. Zerek rode it here once maybe twice, had a dramatic encounter with a strand of barbed wire & a lot of goatheads/puncture weeds near the mall. Then it sat out in our 5 acre yard northeast of town for 10 years or so, through rain, snow, dust, wind & high levels of ultraviolet radiation.
The extended seat post is a chromed clothes pole for a store, that happened to fit into the right orifices. It hasn’t failed yet, but it will, it’s already starting to go, I’m still in denial.
The seat is from an old 3-speed from Bakersfield in the 50s. Really. It was my brother’s bike that ended up being mine. The seat is still here & functioning, a little frayed around the edges but unbelievably still retaining its basic structural integrity. Weird. I mean, it’s not as if plastics were better back then. Or were they? I don’t think so.
That’s my brand new Tilley™ hemp hat; my Toon Glasses – my own creation (I got the idea from Greg Duncan years ago); my necklace made from the stubs of Dixon Ticonderoga™ Number 2 pencils that I killed drawing Cherry Comics; & my cop swat team boots that I got online from Galls™.
Notice the fresh gash in the leg from a rebar tent stake that I had just pounded in.
This was probably not too long after I had returned from the Summer Of Love Camp & decided to dismount while the bike was still rolling & did so quite gracelessly in an awkward pirouette that concluded with my going right over into the dust on my left side, scuffing up my elbows & knees some & doing something to something in my upper chest which I took to be a pulled muscle. A week later, after returning home I realized that it was actually a cracked rib. A few days after that I figured out that it was the rib that I had already cracked while trying unsuccessfully the 1st time to install that big Signs Of Life sign at this location.

This is where I ended up, in Stag Camp.

Here’s some but not all of the Stag Camp campers.

This was my gift. Well, one of them, anyway. It’s a cut vinyl sticker about an inch & a half or 2 inches across. It’s the Green Man, I say. It’s the Corporate Green Man. It’s ironic, ’cause it’s vinyl & vinyl ain’t green. Everybody who received one or more liked it/them, or seemed to at any rate.

Some Other Stuff I’ve Been Doing II

This is way back. A mural I did behind the bar at Farley’s in Las Cruces, New Mexico USA.If the wall was transparent, you would see those mountains right there. Not that color, though. Those are the Organs. On the other side of them is White Sands Missile Range, at the north end of which is Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was lit off. That’s the doomsday clock up in the corner.The Ghost Riders in the Sky are chasing the herd & being followed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Old Cowpoke is down there on the prairie.This is more recent. This is at Farley’s #3 in Roswell.

Escape from Roswell

Maybe I’ll do a graphic novel about our wonderful adventures in Roswell; why we moved there from the California wine country; how we joined the all-volunteer UFO Festival committee & transformed the whole town & its economy (not); insane alcoholic restaurateurs, narcissistic radio station owners, meth cooks, rabbit catchers & lots of Christians. Hilarity ensued. Maybe later.

Things I actually liked about Roswell & will miss:
The Spring River Recreation Trail
The prairie dog town right around the corner from our house
RAIR openings

Roswell in my rearview mirror

Roswell in my rearview mirror

So now we’re in Albuquerque, where they fly balloons every day.

At least in the first week of October.