An excerpt from "Forty Days of Fire, Forty Days of Rain" ...
At the arrival of the storm, the front door to the second-story condo blew in, since it faced the wind. Giant trees somehow avoiding the ax for a century swayed madly, and to the good fortune of my own little endeavor in empirical science, a string of multi-colored toy balloons (perhaps the casualty of a Latino car dealership upwind in downtown Phoenix) swished across my line of sight, speeding by about one-hundred feet up: a perfect weather balloon. I’d say it was doing sixty (even though I can’t detect the red-shift and all). Conclusion: A big storm was zeroing in on the southwest from L.A., across the great desert through Barstow, but who really knew with this paradised-out moonscape, this maxed out marketplace plain, with its golf courses and man-made lakes and teaming foundations and swimming pools? Could have been enough moisture around to evaporate up enough for a couple of lakes of rain ...
Regardless, what the trees lack, the wind whispers. The atmosphere of the southwestern desert struck me as unearthly, as guided by angels. After growing up there, I didn’t recognize it anymore. There was no antidote for this mercurial snakebite. By the great nimbus beasts that took shape in the late afternoons, the clouds taking on characters with each gust.
There’s the dragon. There’s the wolf. The snaky front with its long tail slouching across the desert, only to explode into a micro-burst at five in the afternoon. The archangels of global warming in full view, perhaps. About as clear as the chem-trails, also over Phoenix, I’d say. But I’m at a disadvantage. It’s hard to tell anymore what the normal weather patterns are when you move around so much. The sense of something supernatural, as in moving by abnormal physical shifts in the sky, is a feeling only enhanced by being pushed around by the winds in life. I had just come down from Oregon, fresh from a record season for rain on the Pacific Coast. Forty straight days of rain, in fact.
A record for January and February in the deep misty wood along the shore that drove men like Lewis and Clark into dreamy depressions, in a place where the local natives thought White Man mad to want to live there, a foul stench woodsy murk on a tsunami terrorized coast. Where the winds shook the house, but nobody ever mentioned anything about a storm the next day. Where the angry seas at the 45th parallel pummeled the seawalls along Highway 101, threatening to break through its lines within the next century, not to mention the next 10 years. We, Jaimie O. and I had arrived back like refugees, yes, and we never quite got our feet back on the hot cement of Phoenix, either. She called out to the sea when the storms moved in, in full fury, to Tiamat, to the lost Gods of the beaches, worn away, keening into the wind …
But this sense of disturbed timing goes back further than that: to the fire in the sky. No doubt I was pushed this far by a very last lick of sun that touched the planet. But the first thing I have to say is I had a hard time getting anybody to believe me. Seven years ago, maybe a decade or more, by the time you read this: Our story. The whole thing was too preposterous and prescient and certainly my description of the event as “a lake of fire in the sky” didn’t help at such things as counseling sessions and divorce proceedings. In fact, I had a hard time getting anybody to believe anything I said in those days. Not about the lightning. The polarities. The dot-com bust looming.
The bloodbath to come … the one-click wars to come: Ever since that period in 2000, the weather has become preternaturally strange to me, just as I had become preternaturally strange to other people. Something to ignite a concoction in my head. Something without a compass, without a needle to get a handle on.
My best friends then, usually women, said I seemed haunted.
Especially after that concurrent histrionic state of mind, due to the stolen election of 2000. The country had been hijacked by a band of Skull & Crossbones pirates. By 9/11 it was clear. Anyone could see. I lost my job. Got a divorce. Refused to own a driver’s license. Tried to get off the grid. Ran into the Colorado Rockies dreaming of same fabled web site to make it all ring clear, then ran back to Boston in time to find the world at war, a nation pumped up by its delusions, shadowboxing with an idea, an ancient Christian foe as old as the Crusades. When the solar storm hit New England in the fall of the year 2000, in fact, most likely a series of storms, it appeared to me as having biblical portents, but denial in those days of the Y2K craze was strong. The world had just moved on. Any prognostication about the dark days ahead was met with derision by co-workers and family members. It was the holidays, after all. Nobody wanted to think about it. The election had finally done the work of a global stun gun. The wrath of God stuff could be safely removed to points of conjecture in the land of god and cannon, and thus, put off for until now as back story spinning out of control.
Okay, let's set a few ground rules. First of all, this living novel isn't going to be one of my long sad odes to lost love. Nor do I make much of my own apocalyptic furies anymore. They are merely observations now, after all. Looking for something a little more life-affirming despite, as I said before: The forty days of fire, forty day of rain. Perhaps if I explain these places, these hard-weather haunts I keep finding, and how the storms swell in myself, we might end up with some kind of real interesting nature study. Let all of that stuff wash this planet clean, I say. Good riddance. Nor is this series of honest entries going to be overly metaphysical. I know, it can’t be avoided. As the metaphysical blends with the physical, as it always has, we can at least grasp all things as one whole, and leave it at that. All religions are one, Blake said, and that shall be the central core of the moral code here, but I'll add that science can be combined in the Tao of that diagram, too.
That being established, the real meaning behind all this is the essential idea that global warming is a proven reality, and despite the fact science has yet to confirm it, we can rely on our own empirical experience, our subjective sensitivities, to guide us. Any animal has this power. We humans shouldn’t deny it, either. Our instincts are telling us everything we need to know. Feeling shook up? Sure you do. If you don't, well, aren't you lucky. You must live in some high-class castle somewhere, insulated, numb, actuallly, with a bank account growing rich from the pilfering of the globe and its underclass of citizen servants to the machine mind. I know, you smile, in social Darwinist glee, don't you, thinking there’s nothing but money that flows like some kind of river or holy ghost that dictates the true realities of the global engines, and all of the rest of us, with nothing but spirit to hone, are just flapping around in the narcotic gods of our overactive imaginations.
Okay then, you have your reward. Drive your Hummers into the sunset with glee. Carve up the valleys and canyons to your hearts’ content. Vote red. See red. Drain blood. Drill. Drill. Drill! Carry your U.S. Marine guarded pallets of cash up and down the streets of Baghdad like a parade of caskets, for all I care. You have your reward, you fucking vampires! What do you know about the weather? I know that it passes through me, over me and, in some cases, below me. That’s all I know. The only real “touch” I’ve been granted. Science, of course, addresses the evidence differently. In a supposedly objective way. Not so angry. More reserved. Cool. Feeling from the subjective, I can say that what I know about the weather, and what I feel, is all that I need to know.
Though my senses may betray and my emotions may swell, I know my personal track record is better than your best satellite. They say our primordial instincts, though dormant, are intact. The eye in the sky uses science, but even old Horus lacks the local skills to reach the conclusions of verifiable evidence that yes, it’s raining, yes, it’s a hurricane outside, and so on. But these are conclusions we are already able to reach by looking up into the sky, opening our eyes, taking a breath, and catching the ill winds that blow through all of us now, at one time or another, for an unlucky many on a daily basis.
The scientific process, whatever it takes to get theory ratified into human understanding, will not help us now. We must rely on our senses, now, or the situation looks terminal. Sure, life will adapt. For example, you might live in a condo in the future in, say, Carlsbad Caverns. Certainly, Carlsbad Caverns, though I have never seen it, scientifically speaking, I know it must be a beautiful place. Yes, we humans have always done well in caves. Caves are consistently good for being safe from, say, tornadoes. The attendant rain my eventually reach you, but as far as tornadoes go, you’re good. They provide excellent cover from the cold, and yes, the heat. It’s nice and cool down there in those caves. You might like that fine.
Scientifically speaking, I don’t know much about the Kyoto Protocols. My knowledge is based on hearsay. Certainly, here in Arizona, as it is for the rest of America, there is no evidence of any kind of Japanese-hosted global protocol, unless you count Toyotas. Otherwise, the air is dirty as sin. In this valley, I choke on the dust, and it really cramps my smoking. My senses tell me the air is dirty as sin and sin is disorderly, to say the least. A protocol implies order. There is no order here, sir.
This day in Phoenix began with a large Latino demonstration against some kind of proposed state legislation that, to hear the agents of La Raza describe it, sounds like some kind of Nazi pusch to rid this place of more than half of its population. On a fine March day, 20,000 citizens of real actual America, most of them more than likely so-called “illegals,” showed their faces at 24th and Camelback to create the largest mass demonstration in state history. Throughout the day, all traffic in Phoenix was ground to a halt and consumerism took a heavy blow, as a result. I saw a parade of little Latino guys pushing those musical ice cream carts up and down the street, and thought I caught a whiff of ricin in the air while trying to negotiate it all in a white rented truck, my nerves of heightened alert, but actually it wasn't too bad of a day to find Phoenix: A bundle of nervous polarities. I left it that way. Now it has intensified. Figures.
But, O my tweeties, how it made me forget about the beauty of the craggy California and Arizona desert I’d driven through. It made me forget about the little burghs of trailer parks, tire fix outlets, shanty little restaurants, and that whole weird world of citizens who are off the grid in the deserts of America. We can only imagine who they are. Who we are. Good people, mostly, since most people are basically good. But we must be an anti-social bunch. If anti-social means avoiding the streets of Phoenix, though, then I can certainly relate to the gripe.
Anyhow, the transition from the coast of woodsy Oregon sure made the clean-as-a-whistle resort marketplace in Sonora seem more moonish than ever before. And that’s the situation with the magazine business in Phoenix, all expressed oh so confidently by the editor of a local fashion magazine, who was trying to elucidate what kind of fill goes between the ads at his publication.
Print journalism in America is so far removed from the First Amendment it can scarcely raise a mute defense against “surface, wallpaper.” The skin-deep marketplace dictates all. Economic forces shape the printed word in order to appear before the overpopulated media frenzy to promote “surface, wallpaper.” And my career? An attendance at the end of the age of newsprint, a more sophisticated form of wallpaper. Thin pages of paper, papyrus, as rendered originally by Guttenberg, then Hearst ... over.
Like wall paper burning off the screen for the opening of “Bonanza.” My first thought, immediately looking at the “wallpaper” round the offices of the magazine, tucked into the rococo renaissance of gilded logos at the Esplanade, where even Donald Trump gets shown the door, was to ponder what kind of lives go on there for those covered in wallpaper. If I cared to take the time to do a study, I would examine what kind of flora adorns the Esplanade: As above, so below, the sages say. The desert has been eradicated for many miles, and so this shiny coated surface is a curtain of death, the death of the printed sheet of paper for the purposes of print media, for all I can ascertain. The “surface” and “wallpaper” represents everything sucking the planet dry, and the planet, sucking back, has decided to claim print journalism, through the untimely appearance of turmoil in the real estate industry, one of it's first victims.
If you had read this far, certainly, you need little convincing of this: An electronically charged posting. But it’s worth railing on, all the same. That’s because behind it all, there’s something to live for. There’s something valuable to know behind the notice that you can’t drink from fountains, but hey, bottled water is still freely available. There’s something valuable in casting a review of the song cast by the Vampire, who’s sucking sounds ring loud and clear, only to be filled with endless port thirsts worth of water, all being poured like the waters of Google myths, by vases into cracks in the earth, a mystical sentence then, for endless words disappearing beneath the land ... a sacrifice to the god of information.
The Biltmore shopping mall, across the street, is one big mirror to the surface and the wallpaper. Notice the mall-dressed manikin chicks as they glance at themselves, half secretly, in the window shop reflections. To see my own reflection is to live in a kind of torment myself. I can't even laugh at the shallowness of “surface, wallpaper,” if that’s all I’m looking for. So trying to figure out how to fill in the spaces between the ads is a pretty pointless event, I see. Anyone with a global conscience is going to feel that way, if asked to observe the surface of high-end consumer paradise, and by swimming in these dry environs they will no doubt be likewise lost in the despair, hopelessness and banality cast by the controlling mechanisms of the ruling caste.
You know the one, the order of the Red, which made a brief goodbye at the nearby Biltmore Hotel with John McCain's capitulation beneath the starless of skies of Phoenix by November, 2008. But still ... the Vampire sings: “Think surface, think wallpaper.” All platform surfaces are even, yes, safe for high-heeled beings, but there is nothing eternal about the surface of concrete. And this is really, really valuable to know. Because the days of such pleasantries are over.
Nothing left to do now but see what the most Dangerous Creatures on Earth will leave on the silver plate after they are finished with their feast. Forget about trying to keep up by putting on new Euro-trash clothes (to feel better ... free) Forget about getting a free drink of water. Realize that if you are thirsty, you can always slip into some men’s room and cup your own hands in the sink, like Pilot, I guess, and drink from the basin bowl of “surface,” enjoying the “wallpaper” as you blow your hands dry on the electrified blower (this is the desert, there’s not a free water fountain within 10 square miles; and you would think we could save the juice and let ourselves dry naturally.
Somewhere in the Middle East there's a bunch of crazies dreaming up a way to crash this surface and burn the wallpaper. But they are no better than the guys dialing up dollar digits to make sure the enemy surface, doesn’t gain supremacy so that they, themselves, can cover it with their own name brand style of “wallpaper.” So sip from your tippy cup, sweet babies, and hope you are born with the right pattern and style on your faces. The days of such pleasantries are over. Tip the cup of vampire blood for just one last great sip of the concrete basin. Drink. Drink! Your mangled engines may wine and dine, and the pretty glossy sweet dallied lies may glint for a month on your tabletop surface, but seek no truth there, just empty descriptions of “surface, wallpaper.”
If the week began with the planet Mercury going into retrograde, and with my own knowledge this meant trouble for communications and all ars technica, well then, that would have been enough. But to see and feel and interpret this phenomena, powered by the solar winds permeating the earth, so often, well now, this is certainly an item for more research.
If you had told me January 1, 2004, that August 14-15, 2004, would be like a summer day in Boston or San Francisco, well, I would have laughed. I am not laughing now. The solar winds, perhaps the very eye of Ayer beaming in on us, are blowing more holes through this thing called human technology by the hour.
Take, for example (since all journalism is local), by complex swimming pool at Tatum and Bell. As I mentioned before, on Saturday morning it appeared to be losing water at an incredible rate. My assumption had been that the wind and the sun had been the culprit. But now, I have determined, the pool pump has cracked a leak, and despite all of my efforts to rescue it like some fire team on a U.S. Navy destroyer, going so far as to even buy a garden hose (I have no garden) to refill the pool, the whole damn problem is much more associated with something akin to a broken heart.
On Saturday night, the pool was bubbling up oxygen like some foul sulfur pit. This morning, the same, but in the light, it looked and felt more curative and pleasant. Great whooshing bubbles would come up from the bottom of the pool as the pump, with the help of the fresh blood, tried and tried to adjust. At this point, after informing the pool authorities about what is going on here, I think I have mastered control of this nature. For a while, though, I almost could believe that the pool, like Gaia itself, could heal itself. But it cannot. Why?
It is dying of a broken heart. So, take this metaphor, dear readers: You want the planet to heal itself? Then stop breaking its heart.
Today the observations are as follows: The planet is melting. As foretold, the humidity comes first as the polar ice caps melt and the polarities of temperature and moisture ... no need to write formulas for you. Outside this morning, despite cloud cover the day before, the pump for a large swimming pool was sucking dry after several days of intense sun. August is always that way in Phoenix, but what was different on Friday, August 13 (Jacque DeMolay, thou art avenged), was this: A dust storm tearing across the Valley at 2 p.m. Weather man was a tad startled. These are his perfect days. Face time with his public to explain strange storms, fires and double-dipper hurricanes with triple-digit winds.
Cannot say I feel too bad about Florida, though, surely, many of those who suffered had votes that went uncounted in 2000. The remaining dimpled chads have blown into the Atlantic by now. Time to forgive. It is not for us to determine punishment. Although, I must say, we don’t need no God to punish us, no Malkuth to fly us away now from the Sun, no: I say, we do a perfectly good job of punishing ourselves. Anyway, this is about meta-science. Keep all politics aside. Except for this: Please, before we all burst into flames from the mere humidity and pressure. Heap big storm in the Valley of the Sun on Sunday night. Me see um fire in the sky. Thunderbirds in weird mood swings. Me take Valerian to sleep. Noni for clam. The animals awake, confused. Clocks all set wrong. The large buildings of the Biltmore quad took all the hits. Tall boys doin' us big um favor. The sun rises high and hot and fast today. The morning is a beam ...
An excerpt from "Forty Days of Fire, Forty Days of Rain" ...