Saturday, May 17, 2008

In Bemidji

I am in Bemidji, after dropping by the DFL's 7th Congressional District convention in Alexandria. My mom is moving back here, but I will be moving into cheap housing in Minneapolis' Whittier neighborhood. I was enroute to the house on the lake with mom and a van full of her possessions, so I decided not to stay, and have her be bored and impatient waiting. I didn't stick around to make a candidate appearance because my stump speech is only a minute and thirty seconds, and I would rather be in a real debate or forum.

Franken and staff seem to prefer to avoid the question and answer format, especially questions direct from the floor, because they imagine Franken will get tripped up and will be caught on video by the NRSC "tracker" that comes to all our conventions. I have no need to wait hours to give a short, canned speech and not have the opportunity to display the full passion of my youthfulness next to these aging baby boomers.

In Alexandria, Charley Underwood encouraged me to get over Christine, as my depression and fixation is ruining an otherwise good blog, and "life will be more interesting" when I get over her. I told him about my ongoing difficulties in identifying new goals, but that seeing "Body of War" last night at the Lagoon reminded me of the value and necessity of our pro-peace, anti-Iraq war activism. I was willing to give a lot of that up for a comfortable life with a retiring, book loving, art and theatre geek, and I am not sure I have forgiven myself for succumbing to temptation, losing the better part of a year but gaining a neighborhood and regaining my aesthetic.

The house is always a little hard for me to handle - my library and my clutter remind me of a thousand possible futures never fully explored, my collection of Burmese language materials and manuals to the flora of New Guinea and Sumatra, the ugly punk rock tattoo flashbooks that I keep throwing away because of the wasted years spent on the mother of my hateful children. Acres of programming books and aging computer hardware. Dust, especially book dust, triggers my allergies and tears eventually follow. I wander about my miniature botanical garden in the yard and old pasture, and miss the sweet innocent days after 9/11 when I returned to the forest and field, quit civilization and worked out protocols for seed collection, cleaning and germination of a hundred wild plants.

It is still too early to wade out into the cold water and cast into the reeds for largemouth bass, too easy to provoke on their spawning beds. The past and hopes for the future crush in on me and asphyxiate my mind, anxiety sucks up mental and emotional energy, and I desperately want to leap ahead into some possible future where after years among the tribes that tattoo with cobra venoms, I have come back to the West with strange new wealth, powerful animal magnetism and fame among that set that subscribes to Outside, National Geographic, Smithsonian and Hustler magazines, and she has taken me back with the express hope that I will occasionally bring home women for us to share...

Bemidji is still slow on and early weekend night, the debauchery of languid summer nights is months off, we wait on the arrival of language camp instructors, summer stock players, bored divorcees on long road trips from Chicago. Yet there is a rumor of a new place near Walker, in an old red barn, with a central dance floor on an elevated stage...


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