Monday, August 04, 2008

Where There's Life?

From the comfort of my warm bed last night I watched a doco on TV called "Stranded"
about a plane crash in the snow of the high Andes where the survivors ate the corpses
of their friends such was their will to live, and two trudged across impossible obstacles
to find rescue for them all and I felt inspired to crawl out of my own not so deep dark pit
for the seventh time in my existence to carry on for where there's life there's....

Long ago when I was young and starving on the Isle of Crete I laid down to die
on soft green grass but after some hours I didn't waste away and got back up resigned
and toiled on up the infinite highway to find succour picking oranges for sympatico Greeks.
And on my return to my beloved India in '97 I caught cholera at the Kumbhla Mela
and lay sweating out my soul for 3 days and I considered letting it take me into Oblivion
for I was tired of all the kicks to the arse, rips of my arts and stabs to the heart
but then I groaned "No! There's life yet to love" and I crawled off to a doctor's office
who saved me with anti-biotics and told me I was lucky to survive, a sentiment moot
to my existential torment for it's been a hard and lonely travail to arrive at such ignorant bliss.

And some years later I laid down in a hotel room high in the Himalayas after a scooter accident
in which I'd torn my shoulder muscle, the pain sending me into stupid narssicistic disarray
and I considered suicide while listening to the music of a nascent Ganges River crashing
by my window, waiting all night for the moment to hang myself from the ceiling fan
but clinging fanatically to consciousness, not yet, not yet, till the honey of dawn light shone
and fed my spirit to once again tackle the ordeals this chaos world had to throw at me.

Does the Big Exit ever beckon over the shoulder for all of us when hurt and weary?
(The next thing I read was Bukowski's "Factotum", he considers a gun without the guts
to end the tedium and horror of it all, I'm just as gutless, that's my existential problem.)
Now in Sydney, lost in TV, wondering what next, a survivor of the Andes assured me of all
he'd learned, to wait, just patiently wait and a door would open eventually for freedom,
joy, peace and achievement, from my soft Australian bed much is yet possible to jump to.

So I rowed in a borrowed dinghy to Cockatoo Island for the trite arty crap of the Biennale
where Art looks to be a conceptual con-act, nepotistic net-working the proof of cleverness,
yet I surfed my fears of the deep harbour, speedboat-swells and water hovering at the brim
of a leaky boat while the raves of a loonie mate urged us on, like a quaint artistic performance.

Then I trained it to Melbourne where I ate counter lunches at a funky pub with a log fire
and enjoyed the caring attention of my all-forgiving friends from teenage discos of the '60s.
And I enjoyed Pacific Islander and African fertility drumming, dancing me into ecstasy
at a festival of dark-skinned immigrants, krumping, hip-hopping, booty-shaking me high.
I went on tours thru old movie palaces like the Forum, the Capitol and the Cinerama Plaza
where I lived out childhood dreams that life for me would be an ongoing adventure movie
like "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and indeed, with guts, it really happened for me.

On return to Sydney I attended a wake for an old friend who'd died at 55 from a heroin o/d,
found dead on a bed of dirty needles she'd not had much of a life the last few years
and tho she'd ripped me off I forgave her now that she was gone, she'd paid with her life
for her follies and so we let go 55 red balloons into the Redfern night to help her spirit fly
away, away into the Void, for me, to be alive, to breathe, to feel the cool breeze, is Nirvana.

There's always something awesome around the corner waiting if one is patiently in love,
even Northcott ghetto is my time-out refuge, the screaming of the druggies outside my door
like sounds from nature akin to seagulls squawking over scraps, I simply live in a wild garden.
And the Freak's Club of the Piccolo Bar is reassuring, I'm not alone, tho Vitto's gone
he will return I pray, the spirits of Roslyn Street cry like the wind for remembrance,
and I remember the wonder and horror of it all and am recharged, for where there's life....

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.