Saturday, April 22, 2017


(previous chapter)

I spent the first night in a wash under a bridge on the outskirts of town. People told me the best way to get a job in Quartzsite was to just ask all the vendors, especially if they were just setting up, if they needed help. I found a sunglasses vendor setting up her booth and landed a job on day one, the day before Thanksgiving. I was also sleeping in the booth as security.

Before work, I'd often take a walk down the road and smoke some weed and play my ukulele. This was often before the sun was up. Eventually, a family in a van picked me up and we went back to their camp in the desert to smoke weed together. I started hanging out with the family, and the whole caravan that formed around them nightly.

I shared a birthday (December 18) with one of the members of the family. Though I had the day off my regular job that day, another vendor had hired me early in the morning to help move her booth. Once that was done, I dropped some acid and went out into the desert. I made it back to the camp just as it turned dark. Everyone there was already raging a drum circle hard.

When I went to camp the next night to hang out, everyone was asleep early from the night before, but there were some newcomers drinking around a fire just before the camp. A guy and two girls. I hung out and jammed with them a little while. After I left, the guy beat the girls up, and set their car on fire with a couple of kittens inside. After hearing about this, I brought my knife with me when I went back to the area the following night for self defense, if I needed it. My boss was there when I grabbed my knife and flipped, though. Then, she flipped even more when I came back in the day after that and the girls had come looking for me at the booth when I wasn't there to say goodbye before they left town. For that, I quit.

I started camping with the caravan I had been hanging out with. It didn't take long before I was picking up more work. One of my friends and I started working for an Indian guy and his wife, helping him move a bunch of rough stone. After work for him ran out, I started working for one of his friends, power washing gemstones.

Eventually, everyone found notices on all the tents and vehicles at camp that we weren't supposed to be there, so we we bounced around a few different places (including the original one sometimes) each night. Work finished up once again, so I went to busking for a couple weeks before tear down went into full swing. I did some jobs for a few different vendors to help the pack up, then the left with the family back towards Tucson.

The Call Center, An Ukulele, and Hello Arizona

(previous chapter)

Eventually, I found work at the call center in Athens. I was staying with some friends in Buchtel while working there for what little time I did.

I hated every minute of the call center. It tore me up to call people with no money and talk them into donating to different charities, which would only receive a small percent, and actually use an even smaller percent for what they say it's for. I was also close to finishing The Book Must Burn: 100 Poems To Make You Think, and was beginning to  also look into getting an ukulele. When I got my second paycheck from the call center, I went ahead and made the decision to get a tenor ukulele from Blue Eagle Music for $100 and quit my job. I spent the last two weeks until my final paycheck teaching myself to play my new instrument, and rushing out The Book Must Burn.

After picking up my last paycheck, I went out and did my first busking, earning somewhere around $136 in one Friday through Sunday weekend, paying for the ukulele and then some. I was ready to be back on the road again, and winter was not too far off anyway.

One of my friend that I had been staying with helped me buy a bus to Arizona. After Acola the previous year, I had no intention of returning to Florida. Through a couch surfing database on Facebook, I came in contact with someone that claimed to own a gem shop in Tuscon. The person said I'd be able to stay there if I work for the gem shop. I boarded a Greyhound and was in the desert city a few days later.

When I got to the person's house, I realized things weren't as they had been portrayed online. Tutone wire wrapped gemstones, then expected me to sell them while we were busking because he couldn't himself. He was also crazy and went off on people around the house, and even people listening to music we played while busking all the time.

I didn't feel safe, and contacted the couch surfing group that I had found Tutone through. They got some old deadheads to come to the rescue, and I met them at the 4:20 show at the Hut to go out to their ranch south of Tucson. I traded some labor for a place to crash for the weekend, then they took me back to town to hitch towards a place they had told me about, Quartzsite.

My ride was some old grandma lady from California that used to smuggle illegal immigrants. At first, she wasn't sure she wanted to give me a ride all the way to Quartziste, on account of my smell. But after driving down the highway a ways and enjoying some of "California's number one crop" she was asking me if I was sure I didn't want to go all the way to California by the time we were in Quartzsite.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Flowers On the Wall

(from The Book Must Burn)

Beautiful and silent,
like flowers on the wall
capturing the sun,
and glow of summer,
and joy
of that moment
when picked,
now withered away
to be passed without a glance,
until discarded
as a memory.

Reflections In the Sand

(from The Book Must Burn)

like a mirror,
reflecting the pieces
of who we've been,
who we are,
and who we will be;
I counted the fragments
before they reverted
to the sands of time,
carried away
by the winds of change,
and washed back up
on the cosmic shore
with all the grains
to ever be.

Worlds Of Time

(from The Book Must Burn)

Time is but a moment,
and undecided,
until it's there,
then gone.

We phase through.

With many souls
and many masks
for many lessons
from many tasks.

Every glitch
and anomaly
these worlds create
weave new fabric
from strands of fate.

We phase through,
and never notice
the change
until it's made.

For time is but a moment,
and undecided,
until it's there,
then gone.

We phase through,
and our worlds are never the same.

Wishing Star

(from The Book Must Burn)

The star shot across the sky
as the world watched,
each to their own corners,
wishing for new hopes and dreams
with new faith and inspiration
that the planets shall align,
moved by will,
as if the star could be a messenger
between Heaven and Earth,
illuminating sky,
and the heart,
of every eye
that beholds it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What A Ride: 2015 Festival Season

(previous chapter)

It wasn't long until it was time for Nelsonville Music Fest. Since I lived in the woods around Nelsonville at the time, moving my tent to the festival was a no-brainer for a camping fee of only $30 for the weekend, like I'd be anywhere else anyway - I've got pride in my home town, and Nelsonville Music Fest is our pinnacle of awesome.

I'm used to volunteering at festivals, or doing something with my time to keep me occupied and meeting people, but I waited too late to apply for Nelsonville. Instead, I racked my brain for things I could do, ways I could add something to the event. In addition to gathering trash, I settled on an idea I had seen at the Ocala Rainbow gathering - Gone Postal.

My weekend was spent going around the campgrounds, delivering festival mail. It was the greatest expression on people's faces when they got mail at the event. I found people by having the person writing the letter I was transporting describe the person I was looking for, their camp, and about where they were located, on the letter. Most of the letters got delivered successfully. I even delivered exactly one letter to someone I already knew - N's brother!

Unfortunately, I was unable to afford the full ticket and wasn't a real volunteer, so missed out on any music that wasn't in the campgrounds. I heard that, when the Flaming Lips played, they sent up a giant balloon that said, "Fuck Yeah Nelsonville" on it, and when it popped, a bunch of kids converged on the pieces and sold them to the crowd for $20 each.

At this point in my life, I figured my next stops would be Wisteria Summer Solstice, then on to Nationals in Michigan, then up to Maine to work on a farm. In the meantime, I wanted to see N again before I left, but wasn't sure where we stood anymore. I messaged her to ask if I could stop by before I left if I behaved, and she told me that she didn't want me to have to behave, she just wanted me as a friend, and that I would see her at Solstice. After trying for the last couple years to get N to like me as something more than that, and her still insisting she wanted me as a friend, I figured she deserved to have me as a friend - not some flake that disappeared at every turn because I couldn't control my feelings.

At Solstice, I was back on trash crew like most any time I was at Wisteria. In addition, I also helped out in the kitchen in exchange for free meals. Besides, the kitchen is where most of my friends were, anyway. N brought Go Time and Banjo.

The council for Nationals was in South Dakota in the Black Hills on Lakota territory, but they didn't want us there. I assumed the consensus would be to hold the gathering in Michigan, which was where I had heard all year it was going to be, but council elected to stay where they were. This decision was made late into Solstice. In light of the gathering being held on native territory without a proper invitation, I elected to stay in Ohio and do Starwood instead.

As a result of staying in Ohio for Starwood, I ended up at N's house again for the in-between period, then helping out in the kitchen to get into Wormhole, which takes place the week before Starwood.

Wormhole is filled with Subgeniuses, which are people that worship a prophet, named Bob, whom was contacted by the alien Jehovah 1 to brainwash the people into working for a living, but he infiltrated their ranks to promote slack instead. They're an interesting group, to say the least, and they make some good breakfast for the "Last Pancakes On Earth."

Wormhole ran into Starwood and more hippies started to arrive. N's brother's crew's camp was set up in the same location and style as the crew N and I had been a part of when we met in 2012. The night before the big bonfire, I sat at Crossroads in the middle of the campground and shouted nice things at people, calling myself the reverse troll. The day of the big bonfire, I picked a bunch of flowers and went around passing them out, calling them torches of love and light. I dropped some acid just before my trash shift, and was starting to come up by the time we had finished. I went around the rest of the day giving out more compliments, then found myself at the Marsh Swamp putting glow sticks together just before the fire.

The bonfire is lit after the last act on the main stage, which is followed by a procession to the bonfire field with chanting while they carry the ceremonial torch. Also included in the lighting ritual is a fire-spinning show, and the chasing of new fire tribe members around the fire. There's always a firetruck there for safety reasons, but this year's fire went off without a hitch.

I saw N in a group around the fire and wanted to do a lap around the fire with her so we could talk, but I didn't know what to say and she probably wouldn't have wanted to hear it anyway. I sat down instead, because that made sense to my tripped-out mind. Some blonde girl I had never seen before sat down almost on top of me a few seconds later, and after a few minutes of talking, we ran around the fire together, then she disappeared. I ended up in the pufferdome for awhile so I could be mostly on my own somewhere comfortable to ride out part of my trip, but eventually made my way back to the fire. A few people even approached me who still had their flower from earlier, which really helped my night.

Eventually, worn, I went back to my tent. I was back in Nelsonville a day later.