Let me give you an experience. You are me, so we are a she who look quite alike in two bodies. Now, get in the car.

Head from the city by the sea. You’ll bypass sirens and god-like fishermen and giant roll-on deodorant towers – keep going. Southerly with the winds, traveling of your own accord, in my own Accord, with one long continuous song playing on the radio. Some say it’s classical, others make it classic. You just heard one lyric you like about being a headlight on a train.

The day waning, eyes wide awake, you pass by the remnants of a religious age. Buildings like delicate foods with tops and towers constructed like the tush of a kush in Pakistan – things they name drugs after these days. These are the legislative buildings of our lives. These days, when bands derive their names from a drive way or a causeway or a path. Sleater-Kinney among the trees and I’m thinking of history and politics and destinations ahead.

“Hey, what’s the story with Sleater-Kinney Road?”
“I dunno. I hear they broke up,” my companion replies.

But you are the south. And you crawl through the skeletal bellies of spiders. Peeping between the flashing beams and ribs, you catch glimpses of the water. You’re on a natural barrier. Suddenly, things become more green than ever before.

You can stop at Deanna’s after Olympia and hear the latest gossip as to why Sheila won’t let Mystie run the register today. Something to do with some Carlo from miles down the road. There’s a camera above the toilet in the bathroom. Some don’t mind the idea of a voyeur, a blank black eye in the white of the plaster above them. For a good time, call Deborah 626-554-8900.
Call her. Call her that number. Call her that name. If it doesn’t work, there are more on down the line, tracking the wall like lines on the highway.

Hit the road.

Pass the Farm Boy Drive-In, a circle of big red barns and ready-made food in your car.
Consider the $6 oil change (Honda cars need only apply).
Ask people who walks their dog and what kind of kibble they prefer when you get to Portland. Then head on down to the Espresso shack to discover what a Star Shot is in the parking lot of the Value Village as you ponder who Fred Meyer may have been, and why he decided Portland was to be the heavenly abode of Fred Meyer superstores. Visit all three in the one-mile stretch along Foster as you head out of town toward 205.

Make a mistake. Go off the path while your friend sleeps on top of the directions. It’ll be great as the trees loom larger and the trucks drive slower along twisty clusterfucks for roads. The citizens of Eugene will be riding their bikes hauling wood and groceries and recyclables to the plant in buggies meant for babies and kids. The sun will sparkle through the leaves of trees, waving like crazy, warning you that it’s about to get hotter than a motherfucker. You heed the warning, but shrug. “What am I supposed to do? I’m heading for country roads.” Smoke, smoke, smoke

that cigarette

smoke. Great tunes, dusty roads, windows low, you hear conversations in other cars. Finally, in Veneta, off the lane where the friendly man with the gun guards his American flag (and you wave Hello!), everyone is flowing in the same direction. Take a right. Gravel path. Flowers in the air. You see men with long hair. You are there.

Parking, hay rides, women with shining breasts. Giants, stilt walkers, advice that doesn’t have your best interests in mind… You suddenly want an umbrella. You are lying on a big white couch in someone else’s tent staring up at the blinking leaves of trees. You realize that the light isn’t what causes the glisten, but the shadows of material objects which obstruct the path of the light in your eyes. Enlightenment, a teepee luminescent in lava projections, bubbles from a peace pipe, and go!

Glow sticks. Singing Sublime next to a faery and a pile of sticks and wings. She’s talking about the Dozes; she’s fryin’ in the pan of these labyrinthine trees and beings. Among the horns and strange masks, it’s night outside and when people cradle their arms over the roundness of their heads, it looks like an open eye. Third eye, the one that does the dancing insanely in the deep. The drumming hasn’t stopped for 8 hours. An Organic Time Machine blesses your evening on a home-made stage at a fork in the path. I am exhausted, in a broke-down palace, in a bar converted into a coffee shop with showers. But I keep on talking, you keep on walking these paths through the forest.

There’s a floating stimulation haze from all of the people dressed like field features, dark creatures and flowers. We’ve been wandering the sparkling woods next to small ponds and incestuous rivers. You’ve worked all day making Avocado Dreamboats (doo-doo doo dooooo!), splitting, slicing, scoring, eating out… selling “sexy popcorn” and covered in juice. Even after making 8 gallons of hummus in one bowl, you could go for more. You make up a term: vaginally salivating. You wonder why it is that food turns you on.

There’s a secret. It started in the pillowy love pit. You heard it and passed it on. Out loud, someone whispers it to the sitar player at the many-gods worship booth. They do not suppress the giggles. The noisy part-Native guy complains that we will run out of fire someday. You’re not listening to his talk of appliances and elders and womanly life-crafts. Instead, you grab the peach you nabbed like a gypsy from a basket and cut it so that you peel slices off of the full moon of flesh surrounding the hardened pit. “A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one,” someone imbued on you. You imbibe the fresh sliced fruit, zoning in on a man in an 19th century suit wooing a mistress dressed in white with two black eyes, like a mime.

Blankets, mouse ears, wizards, and bodies. Loin cloths galore. Dressing in drag, just slips from the drawer, a group of men direct you to the journal store. You find some hand-made paper and a batch of sage to rub under your arms or to burn around your apartment after it’s clean. Everything is made by hand. You carry it on your person. Backpacks and pregnant bellies collide in line as a fat man in an Egyptian mask sings an old 80s love tune, simple as a power ballad in a falsetto can be. You do a twirl. You dazzle among the fresh-ironed silk ribbons blowing in the wind. “How much?” “Three dollars for that one.” “I don’t think so.” “Alright, one.” Then you buy fifteen and tie them together. Sometimes a scarf, maybe it’s a tent flag. Maybe…A new head wrap. You take off your shoes. Tie one around your ankle and slip it up your legs in a zig-zag pattern. Now you have slippers made of feet. And you’re dancing, slinking into a time space of 13 drummers among the calf skin and hay bales, beating all at random, all in tandem, to a rhythm song sounding very much like – and very much better – the latest M.I.A. track you last heard in the car. Wild belly dancers are drawn in by the wind. They don’t dance for change in here. Among the sticks and the muddy grub, a dangerous man in hip-hop style and locks flails among the crowd, and they love him. He removes his business shirt.

You wonder the time and look at the millions of wrists connecting to arm bones, crafting hands, writing wrists, carpals of contrasting writs, and tan bodies. You realize you haven’t seen a watch or a clock since you got here. You could never gaze up at the sun and wonder like a character from Kafka. You have to ask, “What are the machines like?” and all you see are people akimbo doing different things that make the place one and the same. It’s more like physics.

So, we are agreed. We are observers. But there have been rumors that we have eyes that can listen through a tube to the stretching rubber band sound of nirvana coming from a stream a quarter of a mile away. You give it a try and looked up in time to see a man walking by, removing the nautical spiral of an expertly tie-dyed shirt from their back, tying it to their shoulders, then to the waist, then you watch as it falls to the ground in his wake. You wait for his return beneath a group of robin’s eggs hatch into babes, which everybody watches for days in amazement.

There’s a Druid in the forest next to the smoking area and closer still to the giggling, striped legged witches who won’t say anything, but don’t hinder you in understanding that this is one of the few times when everything happens all at once. Things don’t normally happen that way, and that’s the reason we celebrate and create those specific times apart from the normal order of events. Everything is just as we imagined it. Then David the Gnome walks by with an oversized carrot.

A shaman palms rocks for tots and talks of magic in a bottle. You watch his healing techniques and wonder at the moon-shaped crest of your back, realizing you will soon be old.

You listen to children chatter in tents. They engage their wisdom at the peak of absurdity. “How many poopies wil the rain drops fall to make it purple?” “I don’t know. But grapes are the best fruit ever.” “POOPIES!” “GRAPES!” Who needs chocolate mushrooms and purple rain perfume? You suddenly wish for a short umbrella and a tall, tall hat.

You overhear other conversations about our cellular bodies, the meaning of mojo, potty training, conserving energy. “I have expert mojo,” the striped one declared. “I think I have bad mojo,” a shadowy friend replied. “Nonsense! You have great mojo. Together, we all do!” And she made them march with their knees high onward to get high over by the forked tree at the end of the woods near where the fire dancers were.

And the dancers licked flames. They ate danger. They spit the heat of their obsession in your face. Stickly figures dancing for your health, they train in the movement of the body as head and green light rolled off their back. They ducked under the joy of the fire and rollicked with balls aflame. “Hey! Does anyone have a cigarette?” For some, this was a weekend to give up smoking and my friend offered her the rest of our quashed pack of American Spirits. On our way back to the tent, a man grilling steaks on a grill asked, “Hey? Have you seen the American dream? I know it’s around here somewhere? Where’s that spirit? Where’s that light? I thought it said it was supposed to be here?” Luckily, we had another lighter to light a candle to brighten the forest and trees.

We gave them eyes. We made them googly. We gave sight to the water, to bananas, to chips and horse shit. We got the chair to look at see. We enlightened the rabbits and pandas on our shirts and we put them over our own glasses.

I had a dream that I removed a giant film from the inner part of my eye. It was like a wet web and it made me ill to think that I had dug so deep. When we trekked backward through the vegetation and the skeletons and the rough, We saw a mountain explode. We thought it was spilling its guts – an urge I hadn’t had in quite some time – over lunch, but it turned out to be a forest fire that looked close, but was almost a day away.  I realized I hadn’t seen a reflection of myself in days that felt like weeks. Before I’d left, a homeless woman had said to me, “If you want to look like me, fine, go right ahead. Because when I’m dead, I’ll still be here – and where will you be? So if you wanna look just like me, well, then, go right ahead. But I’m warning you: people will be out for you because you wanted to be me. You will be sabotaged for looking the way that you do.”

When I got home, I took off the spectacles. I removed my clothes and stared into the mirror. My skin still glowed. I was more decorated than I remembered being before. When I looked into my eyes, they were clear and white as snow.

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