Posts Tagged ‘True Dreams of Wichita’

Pulled That Trigger

June 11, 2016

Holy shit.

I can’t believe I did it.

Especially when I looked at the cost of flying there.



Fuck it.

I want to go and I decided.

And I registered.


I am going to be out of town Fourth of July weekend again.

Last year I was in Atlanta.

This year.


Woot! Woot!


I am a little excited.

I found out the family I am working for will be at Carmel Valley Ranch down the coast for the holiday weekend and I’ll have that Friday-Monday off from work.

Then, tonight, I heard an announcement about he “Road to Detroit.”


My ears perked right up.

I plan on being in Detroit for the big one in 2020.


I like to make the plans.

But Atlanta was so amazing, I committed then and there to go to the next one.


Wouldn’t you know?

They’ve decided to build some enthusiasm for the big one in 2020 by doing smaller regional events and the first one, this year, is in New Orleans.

My whole body broke out in goosebumps.

I have been thinking non-stop, every day since Saturday, about going to New Orleans.

In fact.

I started writing it down in my morning pages, I am a world traveler, I am going to New Orleans for Jazz Fest.


l have to say, when I listened to my heart, my gut, my interior, Jazz Fest seemed just too far off, so the other day I just started writing I am going to New Orleans.



The announcement, the see me after for more information.

I registered.

Fuck, it was only $10 to register!

The Atlanta convention was $100.

Granted, money well fucking spent, but still.


I talked to the dude and forked over my ten bucks and did a happy dance and rode my scooter home with a wild silly grin slapped on my face.

Until I started looking at tickets to fly there.

Holy shit.

That’s a lot.

Then again.

It’s going to be a lot no matter where I go.

I had reached out to my friend in Wisconsin and not gotten back from her and the tickets to Minneapolis/St. Paul were about the same as New Orleans.

And well.


I owe myself an amends to go back to New Orleans and do it right.

I have only been one other time.

I was only there a night.

I was busy running away from home with my not so secret crush, as it would later turn out, at the age of 19, having just dropped out of college, blew that full ride good.


Fucked myself out of a full ride to university.

I just had to get the fuck out of Dodge, or Madison as the case may be.

It was a huge geographic.

I had no idea where I was going to end up.

Homestead Florida.

Never heard of it?

Don’t worry, you don’t want to know.

Along the way there, so many adventures.

My we were so young.

He was 17 and I had just turned 19.

We had very little money.

He had a Datsun 280 Z.

It was maroon.

It had bucket seats and a tape deck.

We listened to Jethro Tull and Steve Miller and The Eagles and anything Southern rock we could.

We smoke a lot of cigarettes.

A lot.

We camped out.

But in New Orleans.

We stayed in a cheap motel on the very edges of town and decided the next day to stop and go through the down town area.

We were so young and naive and broke.

We parked in a parking garage and I remember my friend climbing out of the car, my soon to be lover but never truly boyfriend, I got scooped by the older guy in Florida who you know did some minor hot point hits for the Mafia and was 28 to my 19 and introduced me to smoking crack cocaine and I was his old lady, but I digress, and his curly, unruly hair barely held down under the sailor’s hat he had bought at Sacred Feather on State Street in Madison–a Greek sailor captain’s hat in dark navy blue.

I remember the first time I heard “True Dreams of Wichita” off Soul Coughing’s album Ruby Vroom, I felt like my heart was going to blow out of itself.

Push out dead air from a parking garage
Where you stand with the keys and your cool hat of silence
Where you grip her love like a driver’s liscense


That was what it was like.

Standing in the humid murk of New Orleans and we were running away and it was scary and romantic and full of bravado and more than a modicum of stupidity.

Young and dumb and so on fire for life.

And too stupid to admit how afraid I was.

So fucking scared.

It only got worse, but that day, wandering around New Orleans, the boys in the Quarter tap dancing with Coca Cola bottle caps on the soles of their shoes, no diamonds here, and my heart trilled in my chest when we walked down a windy little street and I saw a peek inside a courtyard.

The trellis heavy with flowers and the wrought iron gate, the quiet splash of water in a standing fountain and I felt something batter in my chest, a bird with a broken wing.

I want to live here.

I want to come here again.

I want to sip bowls of coffee with my bare feet on the patio cement.

I want creole food and The Meters and Clifton Chenier and Gumbo yaya and voodoo and heat and humidity, I want the hair lifted off the back of my neck and spit curls at the nape damp with heat and sweat and love and the miraculous.

I had no idea what I wanted.



I did so want.

We spent no money.


At at tobacco shop.

I bought one pack of fancy Nat Sherman silk cuts.

And he bought one really nice, for a couple of naive kids from the North, cigar.

We got lost on the way back to the motel.

Remember folks, I’m a bad navigator.

And we had the car literally, and I am not joking, shook down for the change in the console at a 7-11 we stopped at for directions.

It scared both of us.

But we got out and that was it.

My only visit to New Orleans.

I dare say.

This time will be a little different.

Though I hope for bowls of chicory coffee and jambalaya, shrimp creole, and dirty rice, Zydeco music, much doing the deal, and summer dresses and sandals to dance in.

I’m about over the foggy gloomy summer.

I’m going to New Orleans!







Walk Away

March 26, 2015

Let him go.

Those were the words in my head when I saw my friend sitting outside the burrito joint on Judah and 44th smoking a cigarette.

He doesn’t see me.

Which doesn’t mean that he didn’t see me.

He did.

I saw him.

And we did the weird, uncomfortable, yet oddly enough, familiar dance of people who need to be in the same place at the same time who don’t have anything to say to each other.

Which says volumes.

It did not hurt as much as I thought it would.

I knew he’s been around and I know, know without a doubt, that he won’t have anything to do with me even if I did approach him.

Which I have been directed not to.

And if you know anything about me, have read even one of my blogs or seen me around the block, you know, that the one thing I do well is take a suggestion.

Leave him alone.

Walk away.

Let him go.


Again and again it comes down to surrender.

Gratitude as well.

I am grateful for the time I got to have my friend in my life, for the words and books, the conversations, the music, the poetry of our time together, the love, the in bed the out of bed, the growth and the loss.

And the grief and joy and weirdness that is life.

One day, I hope, I’ll run into him and the past will have passed and we will be able to smile at each other, have a hug, share a moment, maybe get a cup of coffee.

Or not.

It is not for me to decide.

I choose, respectfully, to move on and keep moving forward.

These dreams.

True dreams of Wichita.

….Where you stand with keys and your cool hat of silence, while you grip her love like a drivers liscence…

These dreams lead me forward.

I know, in my heart, of hearts, of hearts, that I am not alone and that my circles of friends and lovers and relationships and employers and family may change and melt and merge and coalesce in different ways.

I have loved so many people.

And so many of them are no longer in my life, my daily life, not because they have died, although a few have, but because life has happened and they moved on or I moved on.


I get to still hold space for these people within me.

That is the fallacy of my thinking prior to having gone into recovery, that I would always have to hold so tight to anyone in my life, regardless of whether or not they were good for me to be holding tightly too.

I get to let go, softly, gently, even though I have not always done so gracefully or graciously, I get to let go even too, of that thought, that I have to move on in a certain way or manner.

I don’t have to do anything perfect.

The only thing I can do perfect is love all those in my heart and hold them, whether they know or not that they are held there.

In some ways I believe, a person is truly alone, there is no one who is ever going to know the exact depth and weight of my life or my soul or my heart, there are some that will get more inside my sphere and I will get to share with them to a greater degree than others, but on some levels, there is always this alone.

There is not, however, this loneliness.

I am not lonely.

Which is a lovely revelation to have.

I am never truly alone.

And it is not important that anyone other than myself know the inner workings of my heart.

It’s my heart.

I do hope that I can share some of it with you.

There is that.

That I can love you and that you will know it, even if we are not together.

Even when we used to be so close.

Where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

“Sit next to me Carmen,” he said in his sleepy cat voice, fresh-baked from his nap, small sweaty head imprint on his pillow. He rolled over in his ‘big boy’ bed and made room for me next to him and then tucked his Meow Meow under his arm.

“Sing me a song, Carmen,” he said, opening his raccoon fringed eyes, brown and soft and sweet, at me, before shuttering them down again, the weight of his eyelashes pulling his lids shut.

I sang him a song.

My sweet boy.

I have so many songs to sing, but they all sort of come out sounding the same and that, too, I believe, is as it should be.

I don’t know how to change you, so I change me.

Sometimes the lyrics to the song will be different from what I think and I will forget the refrain or chorus, or make a jumble of the words, but the feelings remain the same.

Instead of sorrow I feel joy.

And perhaps it is tinged by a touch of sorrow, but the sadness makes the joy that much more bright and palpable.

When I think of all the people I have met in my life and all the people I have shared a moment with, or a year, or more. When I think of all the people who’s hands I have held or the hugs given and received, whether they are to be given or received again matters not, I have been given the gift and to ask for more is greedy.

Though, I suspect, I will be given more, I think my purpose is still evolving and I know that I have more in me to let out.

More heart to wear on my sleeve.

More love to give.

More love to receive.


Time after time you’ll hear me say that I’m so lucky to be loving you.

Music Is My Drug

November 7, 2013

And I got HIGHHHHHHHHHHH tonight.

Oh my.


I had forgotten.

“It’s never too late to start your day over,” my darling friend said to me on the phone not even a few hours back.

I had just had a day.

Fuck my day.

Fuck starting it over.

I was starting it over from the minute my feet hit the floor.

Not the way I wanted to have my day.

No, you know I want sunbeams and moonbeams, at the same fucking time, don’t tell me it’s not possible, toss in some god damn unicorns, a couple of grandparents, early drop off time for the baby, nothing says disconcerting to getting to work not on time, but early (I like to wipe the sweat off my brow and drink some water and catch my fucking breath before I go and be all nannified and cheery and shit), and the baby is already there.

One baby is always already there, he lives there, but the other little boy I was doing the share with, came early.

I thought I was late and then looked at my watch, damn, I am early and I left the house thinking I was running behind.

The bicycle commute is getting faster and faster.

Although I don’t want to push it.

The morning traffic commute up Lincoln Avenue is no joke once you hit 20th.

I gently remind myself that at times, better to be a little late than a lot dead.

The baby was asleep, which is not an awful thing, but I usually have a routine and it was quickly being pushed aside.  The grandparents were doing what grandparents do, and they have every right too, but it does make it a challenge to juggle that in the mix as well.

Grandpa decided to take my charge out for a stroll and I was left with a few spare minutes to tidy, get ready, and yes, call those bastards at ACS Student Loan Services.

Customer Care Consultant my ass.

How about rude bitch in India.

I was nastily informed that even if I did dispute the charge, which my bank even said they would back, it wouldn’t matter because it would be thirty to forty-five days before it would be reverse.

And then, she haughtily informed me, “you would have another payment due, so why bother.”


I hung up.

I cannot afford to lose my cool in front of my employers.

I don’t need the emotional repercussions to come back and bite me in the ass.

I need to stay cool for the babies and not be distracted.

I was distracted anyway and it colored the rest of my day dreary.

Oh, I tried.

I did.

I got out to the park, I had some reprieve there, the sun was gorgeous, the park was empty, school’s back in session, and it was dreamy to have a few moments to sit down while one little monkey kept busy with a shovel and pail and the other lay asleep on my chest in the carrier.

The sun was warm, the park was quiet, the babies content.

I could breathe and there was nothing wrong.



Blue Skies

Blue Skies






However, the brain has a way of creeping back in and mine was doing just that.

I made some phone calls, got some perspective, tried to stay upbeat, but I felt, on the verge all day.

Then I noticed a new drop camera in the living room.

Jesus people, you got three nanny cams now?

I startled to see it track my movement and just sighed.

Well, they got me on camera in tears.

What the fuck else is new.

I picked up the box in the kitchen and read a little on it and just about fainted when I saw the remote microphone and the, I don’t know tech speak, thing that does that spy like crap, and I just thought, great, and now I am fired.

Not because I am a bad nanny, no, just a tired nanny, frustrated with living fucking paycheck to paycheck.

I will have money coming in, just not today, just not from ACS, just not anything to cover the -$137.49 in my account.

Which feels like working a full fucking shift and not getting a thing.

But I was able, on the second phone call to ask that they at least apply it to this next months payment, so on one hand I got a pass this next month.

On the other, I aint’ got money to buy groceries.

Grateful that I made a big pot of soup this past Sunday and that the Fillmore gives out apples at the end of the show.


The show.



I know I am saying fuck a lot, by the way, I just don’t have a lot of juice left, should have been in bed already, need to get rest for the rest of the week, but can’t fathom not fucking writing about the show.


So good.

The Boots

The Boots

First off, yes, I was this close, I could have hopped up and touched him.

But I was already fan girl dorking out and trying to keep some composure, but dude, he just kept playing everything I needed to hear.

Sometimes an artist, without meaning to, I am sure, becomes a part of the sound track of your live and Mike Doughty has been such musician for me.

I am affected by the music, the show, the energy, the banter, the engaging with the audience, the outright musical genius of someone just getting all his ya yas out on stage.

I have no idea about what some of the instruments he was playing even were.


But when he encored with Janine off the Ruby Vroom album and instead of saying “Al Roper says to me, dial, 1-900 J-A-N-I-N-E,’ as he falls asleep to the blue light of live at five, and Doughty put in Edna St. Vincent Millay, I whooped.

Then slapped my own hands over my mouth, nerd.

I am.

Millay was a poet that I revered in eighth grade and choose to perform a piece of hers in a forensics competition, I took home the Gold.

“Oh, I feel you, I do,” Doughty smiled at me appreciatively.

I could have died.

Oh, you, musical conduit of God, choose to beam love down on me for a moment.

Let me bask in your light.

God, music, love, sex, drugs, rapture, escape, losing myself in the bright lights, the blue and purple, the imperial violet of it all.

I danced.

I sang.


Yeah, I shed a tear.

The music was important to me during a time of my life that was so in flux, sometimes still is, it became an anchor, a bookmark of those times, I can put that song there on and know exactly how I felt living in that upstairs apartment in Newton, Iowa.

It might be True Dreams of Wichita, but it evokes smoke-filled nights in bars, and corn fields rolling toward the horizon at sunset, and running away and love and loss and youth.

Oh, that patina of nostalgia, it wasn’t good, it was hard and ugly, but you put a sound track to that, Soul Coughing, and suddenly there is a glow of remembrance that is deeply moving.

So, too just to see how far I have gone since that 21-year-old girl listening to it the first time in the apartment on Gilman Street when I was first dating the man who turned me on to the album, that was a messy, ugly, awful, wonderful relationships, drugs, and sex and love and police, and late night beauty and ugly.

Sometimes the things that are the most beautiful are the ugliest too.

The music stamped me.

And I got to add another layer of experience over that melodic revery.

I got to be right up front with my good friend Stark Raving Brad and dance and laugh, and tell stories and hoot and holler.

Me and SRB

Me and SRB

It was so god damn cathartic.

My friend was right, it is never too late to restart your day.

I just did.

Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty, my hero





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