Backstage Stomp – Part One
She had very little sense of humor when she was this tired.And the fatigue was hanging heavy on her now. She told the driver that had picked up her hitchhiking self at the countryside highway cloverleaf to let her out immediately.She realized that he had no intention of taking her into downtown Akron as she had wanted.He had other plans;so she exited.
She got out and started walking up tenth street past the housing projects.She knew that Claude was up there.Up there somewhere. He was most likely playing guitar in his shabby shit room;creatively battling his marathon insomnia.Her soul breathed,expanded as she got closer to her destination.She kept walking unwilling to deal with her lostness or to try to articulate it to anyone,even herself.
The manhole cover clanked loudly;the reverberation echoed all the way to London,to Bristol and back to the street that she now walked on.She pulled her ear muffs tighter to her head.A pimply faced teenager sat picking and itching on a nearby fire hydrant ;she looked away and walked on.
In her head, the sounds of “Missa Luba” a Catholic mass sung by African tribesman incessantly snaked thru her skull.Considerations about international politics were giving her severe intestinal cramps.She cringed at the thought that by some completely unpredictable aberrational freak of nature her appendix had grown back and ruptured.Her appendix had been removed when Jimmy Carter was in the White House.
On going, she ruminated about prior missed signals more than she knew that she should.Them always portentous,her always oblivious.Riding the NYC subway,an unseasonably warm December night in 1980,she felt/heard a tremendous THUD above her head.She was perplexed,but soon dismissed it.Ended up, that it had been the sound of John Lennon’s body crashing to the pavement in front of the Dakota.Years later Albert Goldman crawled around in a sloppy,putrid sewer searching for faint echoes of that same thud,but it was gone.
That was just the beginning of a decade that was nothing to write home about.Unless you wanted to write to tell the old folks at home to head for the hills or the potato cellar (whichever had more appeal).And they were not about to do that.Oh no ! They wanted to stay put;maybe even take a step or two backwards,whatever it took.They wanted to see morning in America, not be in mourning in their America.
So on she tramped and tramped.All those grimy high-rises;how they seemed to hem her in and restrict her mental acuity.The bricks,The mortar.The martyrs that the bricks hemmed in and punished.For what? For being free spirits? For seeking higher ground? A better way? Gawd, this mental discursiveness was weighing so heavy on her.But as always, she was expected, no needed to, soldier on.Her own personal metaphysics were supposed to be the cleaver that would cut through all the crap. That would somehow ,some way part the humongous Red Sea of distrust,acrimony and greed that enveloped so goddamned many people. And a lot of those people were people that she used to rely on.