The Ghost Road
This is a true story. An Oglala Lakota (Sioux) medicine man was visiting New York, and he went with a group of friends to view Ground Zero. They were on the subway heading toward the site, and he was forced off the train by the power of the voices of fear and pain still radiating from that terrible day. Energy still pulsing from the pit. We live in a field of strange flowers, my friends. Things inexplicable and largely invisible surround us every second of the day. Angels are whispering. You don't believe me? How about devils? How about we forget angels and devils both and hear the other whispers that assail us, but we don't hear because the iPod's cranking "SexyBack," or the trash truck's too loud, or the phone's ringing, or the TV is blasting the latest episode of "Lost." Listen. It's in the wind.

I was always amazed at people who did not believe in ghosts. It struck me as funny then, and astounding now, that we don't all see the whole world is a haunted house. We might as well be in line at Disneyworld, getting on the Haunted Mansion ride. What is memory but a haunting? I was torn open by the Teresita experience in ways I have not yet really shared, except with the medicine people and my Cinderella. Maybe Dave of the Pike Bishops (see their myspace website and listen to some songs I wrote with Dav-o). I call being Aware (yeah, cap "A,") being in Teresita-Mind. It must have exhausted her!

Being in Teresita-Mind is an exciting and vivid place to be. But it's not fun. Not fun to be open to the tree's complaint, or the mountain's lonely spirit. Skeptics now can say: he's babbling. My lit crit colleagues can say, Ah--the pathetic fallacy at work! But Hummingbird fans know. You know what I'm talking about. It's easy now to laugh at Jim Morrison wanting to hear "the scream of the butterfly."

If I am to write well, for my style of writing, I must re-enter Teresita-Mind. It's a lot of work, man! It's all chi energies and discipline, prayer and OPENING. I'm tired. I'm not ready. I'm not willing. I'm bored. I'm watching TV. I'm reading a cool book. I'm listening to a cd, dude. All these things were what I'd say to God when it was time to go back into Tijuana and feed the poor. Don't wanna be open. I wonder if strippers feel like that--not tonight, don't want to be exposed.

Teresita-Mind is a haunting. It is being aware of the ghosts all around us. Let us not talk of spirits and the like. Let us imagine the real ghosts of this world. Imagine this: you can look upon an old, used pair of shoes, and they can make you cry. I love being there, and I don't like it at all.

Today, I drove home from UIC on the Chicago Ghost Road, old Ogden. Route 66. How many thousand drivers go down that battered old path of dreams and hauntings and never see the riders packed in their back seats? I can see Capone on that street, John Dillinger, Muddy Waters. I look west and see Rocky Mtn air wadded up and super-saturated by Nebraska and Iowa, lifted high and heavy with rain, coming to me on a Japanese wind. They're all before me--Issa, Basho, Doc Holliday, Tom Horn, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Teresita, my mom, my dad, and whom I think I have left behind, but who pulse in my blood. Ghosts.

The late, great, Chris Whitley sang: "My secret Jesus/ The Good Red Road/ On blood antenna/ Dust radio...."

What I'm listening to: Lots and lots of Bob Dylan. Also: The Who, Mastodon, Gustavo Cerati, Wolfmother, Ozric Tentacles, Nine Black Alps, The Church, Tom Russell, El Gran Silencio, and the long-lost 1969 power-trio, Fields.

4ever, Luis

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