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Sunday, April 28, 2013

"WOULD SOME POWER THE GIFT TO GEE US, TO SEE OURSELVES AS OTHERS SEE US." VOODOO REMINISCENCES... DARK IMAGININGS



"WOULD SOME POWER THE GIFT TO GEE US

  TO SEE OURSELVES AS OTHERS SEE US"    Robbie Burns


     



       I`m coming out of the tunnel once again, not running.

But at least staggering uphill with a bad limp on my left side, and trying

not to spit up anything nasty in public.

        The hog`s in the tunnel, the fat is in the fire. There`s no way

I can turn back now . I try to write as soon as I get out of bed

when I`m only 1/2 conscious, before I start taking myself too seriously

later in the day. 

       Some mad fool is revving up a large engine right beneath me. It`s

Blind Jimmy. He`s not to be trusted with anything more powerful than

a lawn mower motor in his go-cart. Even then he`ll crack something 

up.


       Drinking and driving is frowned upon these days. He`d better 

not  do it again now...   In the old times, not so very long ago,  

drinking and driving along these backs roads was considered more 

of  a sport than a serious offense.  No longer.  Now drunk driving is 

higher  in the criminal hierarchy than assault. And I should know.

         Jimmy has racked up nine drunk driving convictions in a row. 

When no one was crazy enough to lend him a car, he started 

stealing other means of conveyance,     He ran a stolen skidoo right 

smack into a pole.  No one was amused.

        Well, O.K., I was a little amused. He managed to make it 500 

yards, then smack!  He shouldn`t steal things because he gets 

caught,quickly too.

         He took my boat and that ride lasted 15 minutes before 

disaster struck . Now I have half a boat. That was not amusing.

       We`re putting an eight cylinder engine into the chassis of an 

old Triumph TR6 sports car.  He`s sitting in it right now gunning the 

motor right below me - eight cylinders without a muffler . It makes 

an incredible noise. My chair is vibrating, I can`t hear anything at 

all.. The fillings in my teeth my shake loose.

        (Jimmy was always such a sensitive soul, considerate of other 

people`s feelings.)  That prick!

         I realize that the new clutch is in. That beast can go  zero to 

sixty in what feels like a split second ( and in second gear it really 

starts to fly!) But Jimmy will never reach second gear. All Jimmy has

to do is pop the clutch... And then...And then...
         
         If he pops the clutch he`ll take off right out of my garage, the 

engine screaming and red-lining all the way. He`ll go through my 

neighbour`s wall about six feet off the ground... just above the 

windows.

          The doctor is restoring an eighteenth century log home from 

the Ottawa Valley. It is quite dignified looking.  He stacks his 

firewood a little too neatly for my taste...But he has really done me 

no harm at all other than building a few  wood and cement 

structures on my land, which I made him move immediately...He`s not 

a bad quy.  I could do far worse for a neighbour. I could have me for 

a neighbour!

           He certainly doesn`t deserve to have this howling black-

snouted monstrosity bashing through his wall at six A.M.... when 

he`s just starting to eat his  milk and Cheerios.

          It would be a nasty surprise, a shock to the system.

           That sort of surprise can change the way a man views the 

world - some times permanently.

         What he thought was sure and solid  -  in the blink of an eye - 

can change into some wild and swaying nightmare motion. And the 

terrible sounds of chaos... engine screaming, chunks of concrete 

falling, and a crashing sound that he`ll never forget.

        Even the birds on the lake are quiet after a sound like that.

        

          I grab the keys  out of the ignition. I yank them away from 

Blind Jimmy.  My legs are shaking, though I don`t want to admit it.

          Suddenly the silence seems loud.


          My next door neighbour, the doctor, is not too fond of Blind 

Jimmy. He thinks he`s mentally challenged... And he`s not too sure 

about me. He squints when he looks my way... He believes I`ve got 

some kind of intelligence, but he believes it to be of a deranged and 

criminal kind.  Hell, that`s what I want him to think!  That`s the 

image I intend to project...!

         If people think you`re dangerous, that you`re unpredictable

because of some twisted psychosis the origin of which is deep in 

some distant past, when there still were ghosts in Jamaica, when 

voodoo masters used poisons from the puffer fish that could kill half 

a man`s brain in three days, and when you`d dig him up, he had 

no will of his own.

         Coming from some dark past, blacker than midnight..Dark days 

with wild electrical infusions that might be applied 

to children as they slept  to cure dropsy or a nervous fever,

or fears too deep for any forms of psychiatry to deal with...

          Deep into the night,  your doctor would come visit

you walking along Duppy Walk with only the stars as his guide.

and if nothing else worked, he`d give you 300 rear old rum. 

           And forms of telepathy  were well known, and messages were 

passed without telephones, and it was assumed everybody knew this

and had this ability themselves.

            Darkness out of which sea-birds would call pre-dawn and a 

six year old blonde child would visit his Rastaferian friends a mile 

down the beach at 5:00A.M. with three turkey vultures hopping 

behind him everywhere he went.  He used to watch Clinton push his 

dugout canoe across the tides in order to fish in some secret place

before the rising of the sun.

          

            The doctor is not a stupid man and he suspects  I come for 

just such a past.

           The unpredictable bursts of gunfire don`t help either.

If people think you just might actually shoot them, they don`t come 

on your land. This way I`m never bothered in the mornings. And the 

afternoon`s tend to be quiet, too. 

           So I`ve tended to act a little crazier than I really am, over the 

years.
        


           The other morning my neighbour and I were having a 

conversation. We were shouting across our yards, so I walked up to 

his car to talk to him as I was sipping my 7:00 A.M. Irish coffee.

         Unfortunately. he started to get insulting with me. The 

situation started to get ugly.  As I leaned 

down towards his driver`s window, he said a nasty thing to me:
    
he said, "Do you realize that you`re naked?"




         I imagine he sees me as some kind of rabid dog, drooling and 

limping, who must be kept at bay. He knows I can jump his fence so 

he`s started carrying a taser with him at all times and all hours 

these days.

        He thinks I should be institutionalized. And he`s not 

alone in this opinion.

       

        Yesterday I had two unpleasant encounters with two older

ladies...

          I offended them. I`m not sure how; I`m not sure why. My 

appearance may have something to do with it... The way I lurch when 

I walk might have put the old gals off. The long uncombed hair,(I`ve 

been religiously instructed by the Old Testament never to brush 

it); and I`ve been told the big wild eyes... can be disturbing.

Perhaps they think I`m heavily intoxicated... Though I can 

stagger even when I`m  stark, raving sober!

         They may have the wrong idea about me.

         

         Older ladies have always looked at me with dire suspicion.

Since I was sixteen, they have always made unpleasant sounds and 

judgments in my direction.

         Though when  heavily intoxicated on 

Jamaican  over proof (full strength) white  rum, and when perhaps 

overmedicated on drugs prescription and otherwise, I imagine a man 

can look pretty unpleasant. So reason might be on their side.

       

        "You`re  walking like you`ve got a peg leg!" one ex- wife 

shrieked in laughter at me.

          Then in the Liquor Control Board of Ontario  (the LCBO) just 

the other day, the salesman called back at me,"Hey! No passing out 

in line!"

         I was sure he was joking, but maybe not.

          
          
          I`m not certain how these people see me, I can only hope their 

thoughts are sweeter than what the expressions on their faces tend

to suggest...   I can only hope their thoughts are kinder than

what I think they might be. 



          The City Sheriff, who I know rather well, says: "What are you 

doing? "You`re an educated man! You can`t just walk around in 

painter`s coveralls and dress like a bum, with your hair wild like 

that, and you looking insane!"

           ""Hell, you are an officer of the Court. You`ve got a reputation

to maintain!`

            "I know. I know," I say to him.


             

            Later when alone, sitting by the lake, a bottle of rose in one

hand and watching a glorious sunset as evening comes on, listening 

to the mating call of all those monogamous loons.

            I raise a toast to the evening star. And I think, "I do. I have a 

reputation to maintain!"

            " Here goes!" I call out over the bay and blow a long clear 

note on my trumpet, which echoes  several miles across the calm 

waters, and comes back at me as a beautiful sound from the cliffs 

across the lake.

            
            And that`s exactly what I`m doing...

               

                Maintaining it!