the black box
by tj worthington
One of the better aspects of living alone is having no one to react to my peculiarities. I like the freedom to be peculiar when I feel like it. Like I just now smoked a cigarette/cigar and followed it with a Hershey's Kiss. It's a good combination. Peeling the foil off the chocolate, I thought, this is peculiar. And simultaneously forgave myself. It works for me, why concern myself if it's peculiar? It is what it is, whatever it is. Last night about this time I had a drink of some Wild Turkey and it put my lights out. It's never done that before. And this was only 80 proof. I was on facebook looking at what my DCP friends were doing, gearing self toward writing, poured a drink, sipped on it like usual. I never feel anything. It's why I sip. I don't want to feel it. I want to taste it. I love the taste of Wild Turkey Rye. I never drink to the point I feel woozy standing up and trying to walk. I don't like that. By the time what I'd poured into the glass was gone, my head was spinning. I had to get up from the computer. Went to the reading chair and picked up the book I'm enjoying at the moment, Dancing With Myself, by Billy Idol, an autobio. I'd been through three Chris Hedges books about an absurd society, felt I needed a break, a page-turner, something to hold me in place when I pick it up. Went to amazon looking for some white paint and a birthday present dvd. Something popped up out of the blue, no recollection of how I found it, an ad set specifically to my buying record as I sometimes buy books or dvds having to do with punk. Billy Idol's bleached hair sticking straight up and title, Dancing With Myself. I said, That's it. This is what I came to amazon for and didn't know it. Found a new copy at a good price and ordered it immediately. It was impulse and it wasn't. It was not an impulse in that I knew on sight this is what I wanted to read next.
It arrived a few days later, making my day. Carried it from the mailbox to the house like a kid Christmas morning about to open the present he wants to open most. It wasn't a good time to start it, so I flipped through the pictures with family in childhood and rock stars in adult life. I've liked Billy Idol since his punk band Generation X in the late 70s. He had a teenage suburban brat persona. Punk degenerated in London, his band faded out as a result of some success that set the guys in the band at odds with each other. Heroin had a little bit to do with it. His label had been talking to him about going solo, which tempted him, but he didn't want to leave the band mates while they had a good thing going. The band fell apart and he flew to New York with a suitcase and his guitar. Got checked in and second night stepped into a dance club to feel the energy, see what they're doing in the States. He said the people were not dancing, just standing around. The dj put on Generation X's, Dancing With Myself, Billy's attempt to make a punk song with dance rhythms. Everybody ran to the dance floor, the whole place was in motion. He said he knew in that moment he was going to make it. He had apprehension of New York, having heard it can chew you up and spit you out. The Sex Pistols did not survive their American tour. After four gigs they fell apart as a band and went home. The States spitting out the Pistols gave Billy a degree of pause. This is the book I was looking for. I have to make myself stop reading. In the chair under the light of the floor lamp I tried to read after leaving the computer light-headed last night. Couldn't read. The words were not working for me. Had to get up and go to bed. Couldn't get to sleep. Lay there wondering what happened. It was obvious. Had not eaten all day. Fell asleep thinking if I never wake up, heaven here I come.
Woke about five hours later, got up around one, went to the desk, started writing yesterday's entry. My head was nodding throughout the last paragraph. Head would fall over to the left, then to the right, or straight down, looking for the tabletop to rest forehead on, but none was there, only the keyboard. I struggled to stay awake throughout the paragraph. By the time I made it to bed around 6, I'd forgotten what I wrote. I felt like I was writing on automatic pilot. Forgot each sentence as I put it down. Which is cool. I stayed with it after telling myself I do have permission to stop for now and finish it later after some rest. No, I wanted to stay with it. This is the place I like best for writing. I feel like it is all coming from the subconscious when I'm so drowsy the mind is not working. I like writing best when I'm so weary I barely know consciously what I'm saying. In the writing, I'm thinking this is the worst shit I've ever put down, just delete it, don't embarrass yourself by letting anybody see it. Decided to go ahead and embarrass myself, let my inner stupid have its moment, and clicked on Publish. Done. Put it on the DCP facebook page and to the bed I go. Woke up a couple hours later, carrot time, weary as a fox dog after running all night, ground-cover snow out the windows. I threw on a sweater and the heavy shirt that is also a warm jacket, and a hat, to take carrots to donkeys and seeds to the birds. Jack brayed and Jenny squealed. I remembered again how deeply in my heart I love Jenny and Jack. My heart glows when I see them. I've learned how to bray with them. I do a deep, extended Oh, bray harmony with Jack. He loves it. So do I. It is a form of communication between us, play, singing together. Jack's ears lay straight back, his nostrils flare and his eyes bug out, staring without seeing. Braying seems to give him a momentary ecstasy.
Gave the donkeys some hay, came back and returned to the bed. Slept until up in the day, getting up to take grain to the donkeys before dark. I love feeding them. I feel like an old country grandma piling food on the table, telling everybody to eat, eat all you can. Two movies from netflix today, The Squid and the Whale, and Siouxsie & the Banshees at the Albert Hall in 2002, the same visual of the live cd I listened to recently. I was ready for Siouxsie. Caterpillar ran and hid in the bathroom. Sioxsie gave me a good concert, good band. They get the energy generated into a cyclone of sound around Siouxsie, Take a walk with me-e, Down by the sea-ea. She seems to me an inward woman who has taught herself to take to the stage. She retains her privacy in her eyes. She freely gives herself in her flowing motions, swirling arms, turns and half-turns, contained movement, free and restrained. It gives her motion a stylized dance that works just right with the flowing quality of her vocals, the verbal aspect of her physical motion. This concert was the band grown up, thirty-six years into their career. They'd not played in something like nine years, this concert a re-union tour. It was in 91 I saw them. A dvd I'd ordered arrived a few days ago in the mail, a Siouxsie & the Banshees concert, 1983. This is when I want to see them most. I'm holding off, waiting til the time is right. They'd been a band seven years by then, closer to the time they were playing small clubs in London. The punk scene in London in 75-77 was much like the punk scene in Charlotte now, small clubs around town different punk bands play. It seems a healthy sign to me from what I saw in Charlotte that the bands are leaving the drugs alone largely. Heroin took down the first round of punk in London and New York in a short time. The Charlotte band DSR, Dirty South Revolutionaries, have been together ten years, and played Atlanta recently. I'm glad to see they're not taking the down bound train.
richard tuttle himself