making it thru rodeo

Making It Thru Rodeo

So I made it thru rodeo one more time, I made it thru by not baring my fangs and by pulling in my claws, by watching eighteen videos even tho they were DVDs, I’m old-fashioned that way, I’m a throwback many times over, antiquated time and again in a world where children can no longer read longhand, I feel more comfortable with longhand than cursive, cursive is a technician’s word and I have dirt under my fingernails.

I made it thru rodeo by going into a trance, by denying the existence of horses, by boiling a pot of corn-on-the-cob and eating it watching DVDs (I know, I know what I said, but listen, I’m flexible as an ocean eel, you have to be to get thru rodeo in a world where your food’s genetically altered and we’re about to bomb the shit out of Syria). I’d dip the corn in a bowl of melted butter and gnaw away at it, chase it down with orange juice, light up one cigarette after another and talk to the characters on the screen, jeer at them or cheer with them, take a hot bath and then a cold bath and then write Shards on the bathroom wall in lamb’s blood (I don’t have a shower, I have a clawfoot bathtub, eight feet long and three feet deep, I climb on in and fishtail around like an eel).

I ventured out a total of six times over four days, usually early in the morning, like 4 a.m., I’d walk out to the center of the empty rodeo arena and stare at the numbered chutes that the bulls come charging out of, and once a lone cowboy came out of the shadows and stood beside me without speaking.

I only went out once in broad daylight, elbowing my way into the oncoming surge of people making their way to the rodeo and the carnival to watch full-grown men on horseback wrestle livestock to the ground or to ride the Ferris wheel into the night sky. I went against the flow (which is nothing new for me) across town to a potluck in someone’s backyard. And there I sat with people I’ve known for decades, people who once were wild and crazy but are now brittle, battling cancer and sleep apnea or grieving the loss of a loved one or a dream — two six packs for twenty people and bowls of lasagna and fruit salad. And I sat there in a trance with my claws in and this was only Saturday, two days still to go until it was all over.

I used to be the life of the party, what a huge and pointless expenditure of energy that was, no one, when you came right down to it, was into breaking on thru to the other side, so I quit drinking and stepped thru on my own, quietly. And it’s worked pretty well for me so far, this quiet transition into a place without answers that will only break your heart.

And now the rodeo is gone, the Ferris wheel has been dismantled and is strapped down in pieces like a mental patient on a flat-bed 18-wheeler, humming down the late-night freeway across the prairie on its way to the next wild stab at happiness, and the hill is mine again.

I have no doubt that I’ve been guided to this hill my whole life long, which isn’t to say I believe in God who rides the biggest float in the Rodeo Parade and throws roses to the suffering multitudes that line the way with outstretched arms.

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