Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beatlick Travel Report #14: The Dead Fill My Dreams

Date: Feb 12, 2009 3:08 PM

Report #14

Here on the Slabs today, I feel content. But I want to dwell for a while on my mental state. Otherwise I don’t feel like this is a true representation of my experience.

The dead fill my dreams. Now I’m about six weeks into the trip so this was more pronounced earlier. It all started on about the third week.

Many, many times in my now protracted life I have been either sustained or tormented by my dreams And I give them a lot of weight and consideration.

So my dreams haven’t caused me any issues in months, if not years, but suddenly after the true realization that I had slashed all my moorings so to speak the dreams began. My dead loved ones, one after another night after night, came to call.

I dreamed of my father, who died when I was ten. This is the third time in my entire life that I have dreamed of him:

We are in the old 30s-something Chevy with a running board that my father was driving the night he collided with an 18-wheeler and died on site. It was a summer, sunny and mild. In the space of this small quiet little dream I recovered that feeling of an endless summer day, gently passing time together with my dad.

In the dream I remember wondering, maybe worrying, would he say something about getting a drink. He was an alcoholic and the subject was always fodder for an argument at home. But it wasn’t that way. He was mellow; just wanted to know what I thought, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go next.

Then I dreamed of Mother. I held a locket in my hand. It held a charm. When I held the charm up to my eyes to get a better look at it I saw a hologram. It was my mother all young and beautiful, just a cameo shot of her head and shoulders. She was laughing out loud (something I rarely ever saw) with her head thrown back and her blond bobbed hair bouncing. She was so happy.

And then I dreamed of Gloria, my friend of over 50 years who died last year – suddenly and tragically – in France . She was young, leading the show, driving the car and telling me what to do. Then came a procession of old neighbors, childhood friends, people I haven’t thought of in decades.

These dreams were wrenching at first, not traumatic or bad, but so strong, impactful… I call them “abiding” dreams… because that’s what it was like in my dream of my father. He was simply abiding with me, going along for the ride.

So Mother, Gloria, and all of them I believe have let me know that they abide with me. It has been profoundly comforting.

Happy Trails
Beatlick Pamela

Beatlick Travel Report #13: Slab City

Date: Feb 12, 2009 2:33 PM

Report #13

Beatlick Joe had directions from an internet site for Slab City . Well they are not on Highway 111. If you come from the south as we did, you have to turn in Niland on Main Street , by the liquor/grocery store. Then it’s three miles on out of town.

After seeing the glut of RVs in Tucson I began imaging this place all compacted roofline to roofline with giant big rigs. But it’s not like that at all. It’s all spread out.

So you come up the road and there’s a concrete graffiti rock “Slab City – You’re almost there.” Another mile down the road you see a home made sign “Slab City : the last free place in America.”

To the right is a big hill painted with colorful tributes to Jesus, decorated cars glorifying God and the value of repentance, etc… This is an abandoned military project. There are remnants of roads, and of course lots of concrete slabs. The road is two-laned and asphalt up to the slabs then gravel roads create a grid of I can’t say how many square miles of plots.

The landscape encompasses exquisite mountain ranges in an almost 360-degree panorama and mesquite bushes spread out flat and wide by the wind. So you have plenty of room to spread out, like the trees.

The catch is the trash left behind by decades of desert squatters. All is beautiful from the bilious sky to the crisp green line of brush along with a smattering of some large shady trees. Before your eye can settle to the bottom of the canvas to the sand and slab line of this perfect desert picture you have to see a wide swath of dark copper-colored trash.

Everywhere. As people moved on they left behind the swing set, couches, water jugs by the dozen, propane tanks by the crateful, wheelchairs, portable potties, office chairs, wheelchairs, and abandoned, burned out, blown over trailers. It’s just a site to see. You can’t describe it in one sentence; you can’t visualize it in one picture. The further out you go the cleaner it gets.

Where we are parked today, we got here by noon, Slabbers pass us by on bikes, golf carts, and scooters. Most of the men look like Santa Claus.

Happy Trails
Beatlick Pamela

Monday, February 09, 2009

Beatlick Travel Report #12: Yuma to Slab City

Date: Feb 9, 2009 10:46 AM

I want to say a few more disparaging words about Yuma. The bus system was impossible to comprehend, the buses ran 30 minutes late or didn't show at all. We walked six miles one day because I got frustrated just sitting at a stop waiting for the bus that never came. So I won't be passing by this way again, but I did get my revenge on Yuma. I managed to camp in the WalMart parking lot illegally for two days and didn't get caught. So Yuma, you're my worst nightmare. But I understand why they are like that, the enormous rigs that go through here are just unimaginable to Joe and I.

We finally learned after much prodding from the Visitor Center people that there are free places, beautiful places to park outside Yuma. We drove out Highway 95 north I think to 7E, took a left and went about 8 miles on a good road to a place called Mitry Lake. We stayed four days, camped by a beautiful big palm tree with two more little ones for accompaniment. Blue teal ducks kept us company all day plus a good sized white egret came in every morning and afternoon, plus on our last day there a huge blue heron was running off the egret when we woke up.

The fellow camper Jeff who told us all about Mexico had a small rig, but he was bragging about his 55 gallon water tank. He only got 7 miles to the gallon. No wonder. I just can't imagine hauling all that water around. The rigs all up and down Mitry Lake are so big, then folks have their vehicles towed along behind them. I even read in Jeff's book on camping Mexico that these rigs go to Mexico in caravans of 15-25 vehicles. How would you like to drive behind one of those caravans on a Mexican highway? Unbelievable.

We didn't leave until it rained. There was some great hiking as well. So this was payback for all that misery in Yuma.

Now we made it to the Slabs. I became intimidated thinking the slabs would look like those RV camps back in Yuma, but not at all. There was a good road out there and an enormous place, many square miles to camp, and lots of room to spread out. Lots of mountains in the background and mesquite bushes for shade, no palm trees out here. I think all those palm trees in Yuma were just a preponderance of imported palms from way back when, when they were trying to market the place to RVers.

But Yuma is a memory now. We met a guy at Mitry Lake that has just about convinced us to go straight on down to Mexico and forget San Diego. We're still considering a change. It would be a lot less complicated hanging out on the Pacific Ocean in Mexico than San Diego.

Right now it is raining on the slabs. I decided to look for a cheap hotel room for a few days so we can charge up all the batteries and clean up. My gas stove uses butane canisters. I paid $1.29 in Las Cruces, up from $.99 at the dollar store there. At Ace Hardware iun Yuma they cost $3.99! So I didn't buy any and I'm down to my last four. We are saving them to make coffee in the morning and are trying to cook outside with fire pits or charcoal. But that doesn't work if it's raining.

And it's cold again with all the rain. So we hope to find a cheap room today. We'll go back to the slabs in a day or two as I have to kill time because I got my mail forwarded and it won't get to Niland, where the slabs are, until Thursday.

Love to all, Happy Trails

Beatlick Pamela

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mansel: Besudi (to feel, to touch)


soul of a dead person
bringing on the ghost
vertical boat even with the sky
(a wuroke spirit)
shamanic cuisine/ epileptic/ ceremonial
archaic/ pathogenic state
shooting initiate's clear
awake/ back/ bathe
recordings show motionless
possession/ translation
(precarious diagnosis)
ladder make from stag horns
illuminates the body, precincts (motifs)
leave the consecration (heat)
opening fingers at the knuckles
ecstasy/ intoxication/ mushrooms

criminal nectar, himself, guilt of america
succuumb to the dye, pigment multiplicity
downstream/ angry imaging/ simultaneously
Mephistopheles/ dismantling/ laboured
habitat, disassembled/ readings spread
biologically/ restraints are species to species
cell size is based on behaviour
molar variation, manuscript genus
erotic microevolutionary sediment shift
resoluable moments, yage
the species duration is exhibited (tree graveyard)
by a few isolates, Darwin, Oceanic
ethnographic resin, paintings by Nepalese tribes
sacrifices found in meat/ axis mundi
ascent to the underworld/ theory/ thirsty
regions employed to the trees/ storms/ smoke holes
exhaustive/ fauna of the horse/ divinities

beginning with the coyote/ the dead mother (their language)
paradisal, bleating like a lamb/ a seance over covered fire
animal language/ terrible messengers/ herbs/ seven days
serpent effigies/ reddened feathers/ mud murals

poisonous arachnids

experimental assaults

wither catharsis, the sin of despair, habit
chemical, between the eyes/ mandibles
audible/ stimulated/ death-feign
sun/ in the twilight/ being black
predator/ striking longhorn/ deterrent
dark/ depths/ suddenly/ biting rain/ exile

white horse/ exile/ ships, cargo net
casket cleared the sea wall
wiry painful warning, climax
shoulders for burial/ detachment
isolation quickened/ infection
headless missionaries/ dropped from the trees
laborers ascended/ anointed with oil
ships evidence/ flesh of a whale
bloody platform/ nausea/ disinfectant
handcuffs and stigma of storms/ leather masks
symptoms/leprosy/ pieces of the head/ historian
a genealogy of every departure
breaths/ deaths/ caregivers
cinder black neighborhoods
crowded atop open wells
hallways poured square
like a spine, several winter age
remains separated, slowly moving
concerning beauty, ill effect
corrupted/ the intensity of the habit
every species slaughtering monstrous views

the violence of Job acquiring leviathans/ publishing cycles
insects of sulfur tents, talks of the inanimate/ orbital Pangaea
reptiles spitting hydrochloric acid, a disheveled placid flood
ferocity/ presence/ pictures underdeveloped
of a carcinogenic haze, exposed synthetics
such deaths isolation the secret ingredient
covers until cycles revert, imprisoned ecology

- Chris Mansel

Mansel: Moliere, Said The Wolf


breeding behavior
embodied, in the closing
cathedral, commentary
diffident, gothic and flame shaped
(loner in the facade)

paraphernalia, illustrated brotherhood
anatomical definition (reading / down hearing)
Darwin's long argument

sharpness of oblivion/ exegesis
casual environmental floor
genuine-rigor/ construed
descriptive irony/ surgical soap
autobiography/ barbarism/ exhumation
anomalous/ graffitti to nomad
innumerable possessor
evolution of night/ postulate

sensitivity/ salient depth
originated/ worms/ readers
variation/ veneration
ancestral/ conspecifics
creationist/ bare premise
orchids/ adaptation/ unconsciously
castrated animals/ hybrid
thickness of the variation
strigent/ denial/ elaborated
reptiles of full seperation/ edition

deterioration/ striking/ struggling
anti-biotic reasonings (chalk steak)/ omnivore
breeders/ blue smoke/ origin of the species
intending and perceived/ without design

I am very much the matter, manifest a consolatory difficulty,
species whose edition is substituting breath for stability...

Confucius in a garden with a bird in his teeth
his eyelids reflecting the sun
a harvest of still fresh earth
(a photo of Diane di Prima)
both a child's world
hedonist and piercing
the nature of the immigrant skeleton
is a dark version, blood dipped
(raped) (the assertion being ritual)

our seasons discover/conceived/snow drying/dying/King Lear/monologues

regarding composition/ obsession/ communal
the madness that is anthologized
fetal narrative/ illustration/ reflection
Oedipus/ irriational savage/ exhaustive
totem/ sonnets/ Aquinas in the face of aggression
inward death/ literature encased in cement/ Buddha
mythology/ cruel/ ordinary/ neverthless
a decapitated horse/ falling lion/ juxtaposed
Yahweh/ sound covered in veils/ sunlight

- Chris Mansel