Recorded Journal Entry 3/2/96?
Wall Drug, South Dakota
The last five hours fade into five minutes and I find myself sitting on a broken bicycle playing a garbage can. I begin to nod as a steadily climbing and ambitious beat establishes itself within the cacophony of sound bouncing off crazy walls that breathe even as they dance. Scott's chanting has taken root and I hear it picking up among the members of this trip, it comes through air vents and over rafters, through the little speakers and headphones and slipping its way into consciousness like a thoughtful dream, slowly and gently growing into gathering: A prayer for the dying. A prayer for the dead.
Jhasen Is dead. We are here because of him. We do not know what to do.
Chris is the first to arrive, he has that familiar plastic bag tied to his beltloop and sports an ever-lit cigarette leaving us with a tracer long enough to tie our shoes with. He crumbles into a pile of Indian quilts and pulls out his trusty juice harp to begin twanging away with the little sounds nibbling at the drum beats and circling around our eyes, never quite settling into any particular rhythm.
Cliff is next, the tophat is gone thankfully and his face is all flushed (royally?) with that big stupid cliffy smile he wears. He's brought a large cooking pot and has filled it partially with water, he plays within the surface with his fingers bringing an Eno-esque singing sound to the circle.
Bates, ever the hypnotist, carefully sets down a metronome he found somewhere to provide a familiar, steady tick-tocking (flash to a myriad of crazy clocks, eyes rolling back in the head, time abstracted and back) to keep the whole flock within some sort of ideal.
Nate has found a guitar amid the clutter of some southwestern shop display and is showering all of us with chords that we've never heard before, swimming chords that swirl and loop through the room resting for moments in the carpet then reverberating back to meet and mate with Chris' harp.
Jipping walks in looking edgy and antsy, he can't seem to decide what he wants to play and experiments with sound after sound, banging this, smacking that, breaking small bottles for crystalline icicle explosions that punctuate the natural rhythmic highs and lows that arise from the group, he finally settles for a bullwhip and snaps an angry exclamation point on the ends of notes.
Rob trundles into the room carrying a pair of rubber headed mallets and immediately falls into slamming first one, then the other against the wooden floor, sending vibrations through my ass and legs up into my shoulders, kindling a steady increases in volume until the rooms begins to sway and writhe with all the sound.
Plakke has secured a pipe/recorder of some sort and is picking careful notes, keeping them low and a little mysterious, he walks slowly around the circle with his eyes closed, he looks like some sort of Indian charmer and I wonder what he is trying to summon.
Sally sits off to one side with a tambourine and a closed-eyes concentration, a gentle hum escaping her lips and smiling its way to each of our ears, then she opens her mouth and begins to sing sounds instead of words, forming poems with nonsense, chanting around Scott's steady call to a gathering, his hand drum strengthening his greeting, my trash can crashing its reply and it builds and builds into some sort of new language, alliteration arising amid an animalistic assembly ambling amid anarchy......and slides towards ecstasy, each person both creating a need for something and filling that need at the same time, perfect unity, perfect function, with all the insecurities and doubts and fears weaning themselves out, changing the chameleon emotions into trust and confidence and love and....passion. A giant room full of passion. Passion for life, passion for experience, passion for each other. I can't even see my hands as they parade over the garbage can, Scott's pistoning forearms are only a blur, fluidity fills the room, motion and timing coming together with symmetry and form. I begin to scream; I close my eyes and howl at the moon, howl at the light, howl at the life and I can't even hear my own voice until Cliff joins me with a whipping scream of pure joy, quickly taken up by everyone and we're all just screaming, as insane as any ten people could be screaming tears streaming down our sweating faces screaming thanks for the moment thanks for the life thanks for the chances thanks for the changes thanks for the fucking memories!! Thanks for the future, thanks for the past and here we go headlong and hammered into the great west of the American Dream, and I'm glad to be alive, I'm glad to be among them, these mutants, I'm glad I've got nothing to come home to and nobody to remember me, I'm glad to be a fool in this world, I'm glad to be wide awake in America, I'm glad my parents are worried sick, I'm glad that tomorrow my hands will be so stiff they'll squeak and I won't be able to make a fist for three days. I look around this group and into everyone's eyes as I scream, as they scream (as we all scream) and am glad to be a part of something so fucking huge, something that will be finished if only by the momentum built from its massive beginnings. Something to believe in, to live for, to die for and survive within. Something to stand outside of and just hope for.
Minutes drag into minutes and I feel my vocal chords and muscles begin to crumble, my human limitations stepping in again after being gone all day, and I collapse over the trash can and melt into the floor still shaking with the others efforts. "As I Lay Dying" creeps into my head and I smile absentmindedly at the ceiling as I lay dying a tiny death for a tiny audience, it is accomplished, I am finished. It is finished. We come down to come back. Dead-beat stiff and high tension splayed over the broken room. We lay there in silence for a few healing moments, breathing in the shattered air, then somebody speaks. Stories of the trip are related, experiences shared and relived, lsd therapy group session begins. We talk it out. We remember times past, similar trips and were there any? No. "Where we come from is gone" the past has been eaten alive by the present; only the future remains now.
Time to move on.
One by one, we step back outside (it's happening outside) and onto a now unfamiliar territory. There is an inch of snow on the ground and all of the vehicles are gone.
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."
--Letters from a Savior; Offer for a few--