Sunday, March 22, 2009

BLOGGIN’ AGAIN: Confused utility bills, March Madness chats, awesome Nomads guest, deep-fried maggots, and boxing talk by way of Lorca

THERE ARE times when volatile substances like funk and blues get in the way of life and love’s remaining primitive sublimity. So what else is new, huh? Monthly electric bills in my South Bay neck of the woods—serviced by utility giant Southern California Edison—will increase between $2 and $4 because of a rate hike approved two weekends ago by the California Public Utilities Commission. (ASIDE: I can’t work on that story because an ad contract may be coming? I digress…)
What should I do now, cut my power usage? Like, no more (NCAA) March Madness or NBA playoffs, “King of the Hill”/”Jeopardy!”—and you mean, no more Facebooks? Argh! No! How can I ever do that when these distractions are exactly life’s “blurrers” (my word) that help me chuck or contain stress? At least, I still have a job that keeps my Time/Warner 3-in-1 plan flowing… otherwise, I’d just probably take the cue from this dude from Taiwan .
(Courtesy of Reuters): A jobless Taiwan man released from prison two years ago asked police to send him back so he could eat, police and local media said on Tuesday, a grim sign of hard economic times on the island… When police found the 45-year-old convicted arsonist lying on a street in a popular Taipei shopping district, he requested a return to life behind bars, nostalgic for the 10 years he had already served, the China Post newspaper reported.
Hmmmm, 10 years in America . Sometimes, I feel like I am imprisoned in my own “neverending winter.” America is like a drug, an alcohol, cable TV, or Krispi Kreme. The hook sticks in like needle to the vein. Even “worship” is synthetic, kinda toxic—we “reinvent” religion to fit our hedonist/megalomaniac whims and say, “LOVE and PEACE!”
I still feel sad when some of those who proclaim unswerving love to God, say—”I woke up this morning and felt God’s gift wafting on my face, read The Bible… for a decision that I had to make. Should I buy a Blackberry?” in favor of, “Did God say that I should send medicine money to poor people back home when all they do is ask for my money, like—I am picking dollars up an oak tree? Enough!”
Good grief, the Blackberry won. Wanna text or leave cellphone blurbs to God—a more accessible, faster path to divinity?
I’d rather be a “sinner.”
I remember what my Cherokee friend, John Greene Vagrant Wind, told me years ago: “God resides in your spirit. I don’t need to argue who your God is. But that spirit of God lives in people’s hearts. You see it in their eyes. Once you accept that, you will know when to heed your humanity. No more words.”
I am still trying…
Somehow, I see that spirit when I read a poem or two a-front 3 or 300 spirits in a café or a hall—when people listen, they open their hearts, they connect, we link up. I can’t mistake it—the joy inside is louder than 15 Stratocasters evoking hallelujahs or 200 stanzas churning out “Praise the Lord” codas.
But how do we draw unmitigated ego from selfless pleasure?
How do we say that within life and living’s material/physical grind—no matter how we squeeze sanity and sweetness from stupor and apathy—we are happy? I guess, we are just happy when we are…

MEANWHILE, I’d like to take it easy—and enjoy whatever’s laid out in front of me. Don’t worry, be happy.
Last night, at the Nomads’ Borders’ gig—this young lady/singer-songwriter (one of our three guests) Chelsey Sanchez swept me. She has shining promise… a little raw but you can’t mistake the fire and the talent. Small gifts come on random, indeed. Check her out again in future Nomads (of 4th Street ) shows.
I wasn’t really happy about how I performed (vibe wasn’t in sync) but after my “set,” Chelsey closed the show—and the day ended sweet. These make us happy. Spontaneous pleasures that warm the spirit…
Remember the story of famous violinist Joshua Bell who played incognito at a Washington DC metro station, just like any other starving busker… and earned a measly $32 on tips (he sells concert tix at $100 a pop)? The “phantom” gig didn’t attract the attention of adults—kids did take notice though. Life’s lesson that glares at us grownups like a cat’s blank stare. We take heed because we are all hooked to life’s facades: Play up maestro Bell ’s gig as a grand concerto with mortal bodies shaking jewelries, then voila! We are there giving away $100…
At this moment, it’s 44—61 F in my Lakewood/Long Beach ‘hood. Beautiful day… Chilled coronas and steamed crabs on 7-up and lemons.
I’d love it if Blake Griffin’s ( Oklahoma ) Sooners and Tyler Hansbrough’s Tar Heels ( North Carolina ) make it past Sweet 16. Reward these dudes some sweetness for sheer effort. Talk about magnificent effort, I prefer—hands down Ron Artest than Tracy McGrady—to effectively back up Rockets’ big man Yao Ming.
Other simple joys. Do you know that (due to recession, probably) you can actually score ( Denver ) Nuggets or ( Detroit ) Pistons tickets for 99 cents? Check out In Utah , a family of four could attend a Jazz game for less than $20, and so and so forth. So why fork more dough on a hockey game and subject your kids to barbaric mayhem of “puckers” (my word) beating each other up to bloody mess?
Okay. In case you’d like to stretch the sweetly intriguing adventures of life a bit further (and probably be happy)—check out the Philippine government’s tourism’s homeward tour this summer. Part of the package is immersion to Manila ’s “bizarre” (to borrow a cable TV word) foods. Python stew, deep-fried maggots, monkey casseroles—anyone?
Hmm, at least it could be a lot better than an afternoon at McDonald’s. You are up for 1,435 number of calories in a Big Mac meal, which includes a burger, fries and soda. Now, if you venture in the Pacific isles, you’d later on exclaim: “Hah! I just had a dinner of maggots as huge as a chicken nugget and a KFC bucket-ful of snails—top that, baby!”

AGAIN, ladies and gentlemen—I digress. Change subject.
Did you watch how Ukrainian heavyweight Vitali Klitschko punished Juan Carlos Gomez of Cuba to bloody mess Saturday night in Stuttgart ? The dude refuses to fight his bro Wladimir (holder of other division’s heavyweight crown) because he can’t hurt his flesh and blood. Sure is. But let’s torture others, right?
Am I oblique…
From my poem, “At Five in the Afternoon” (segued from Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías”):

… So the winner was proclaimed—
exalting smiles sneaked out
of his disfigured face,
he lumbered toward the beaten one
and wrapped their arms around
and called each other—brothers;
at this time, gods walked out
of the coliseum, unnoticed
unannounced; flawless white skins
shining amongst the bruises
of the battered battleground
laughing like Olympus titans
on Brooks Brothers and soiled sandals
who declared victory without raising
a hand or moving a foot—
at ten past five in the afternoon.

Why am I so freakin’ dramatic? When, I will again be in the Sin City ’s MGM Grand to cover Manny Pacquiao’s bout with British Ricky Hatton on May 2? That’s the way it is, I guess. The war is still raging in Iraq and NHL players are still beating each other up to bloody smithereens at the ice rink. But change is gonna come? Again, another poem from yours truly.


Change is gonna come.
Short people will be tall people,
midgets will dunk basketballs
and be lords of the hallowed halls
giants will be walking around on stilts
and shake hands with skyscraper gods
that they built, the weak will be strong
the helpless will keep their humble abodes
and the strong will be scrounging
for warmth along uneasy roads.

Change is gonna come.
Starving urchins in downtown Detroit
will get bail-outs, while glutton
CEOs will be kicked out
of their penthouses and limos,
Joes and Janes will be keeping their dollars
under pillows and couches
and Wells Fargos
will be borrowing gasoline money
from street hobos.

Change is gonna come.
Blacks will be whites, browns will be yellows
and red will assume any color it desires
soldiers will be wielding Stratocasters
and acoustic guitars, singing Woody Guthrie’s
songs inside subway cars
4th Street singers and poets
will be holding open mics
at the Oval Office, baseball players
will be chowing down Krispi Kremes
and hockey players will be lovers
than fighters, Wal-Marts will close at 4pm
White House will be called Colored House
like a Benetton shirt and the US president
will be shooting basketballs with kids
at a Rio de Janeiro street
and wars will be muted by
the persistent sound of peace
in people’s hearts.

Change is gonna come.
Short people will be tall people,
the sad will be happy
nights will be days
winters will be hot
and summers will be cold
and life is going to be alright!

Yes, change is gonna come and things will be alright. Meantime, amigos y amigas—live good, love good, and eat only good food!

2:47pm. Sunday, 22 march 09.
South Bay, California time.
[In the peaceful company of iced tea, shrimp cocktails, NBA TV, and Alexandra Burke’s version of “Hallelujah”]