Written on November 14th, 2005. Recalled tonight.
I used to fuckin’ hate the Eagles. Like, worse than the dude did, way worse than the dude and he was emphatic enough to get his high ass tossed out of a cab. Not the Philadelphia football organization; they were my team. But mostly because I was young, they were eagles and one of their colors was green. I’m not and never was a sports fan. I mean the band with that peaceful, easy feeling. The Eagles.
DJ Huxtable was dipping his needle in their wax and flexing his digits to make those Eagles screech and scratch. He was making some weird-ass live remix that must’ve appealed to his hotel California head and I was taking it until he started to make it hard to hear “Take it Easy”.
Politely, in tone if not in content, “Could you give that a rest for a sec?”
He lifted fingertips from the spinning grooves and looked at me, sidelong. Hands hovering in DJ pose. The song sounded like the record intended it again. “Sure man. I’ll-“ He paused, waiting for the lyric, then sang along, “Take it eeeeasy.”
And then the banjo plinked a sound like a log ride on fire. I’m a sucker for that particular instrument. The guitar was on the lazy river.
DJ Huxtable had been drinking electric fruit punch and psilocybin banana fruit smoothies. “You should see what that banjo is doing to my sense of sight. But not my sense of sight, my brain’s translation of signals sent to it by my eyes.”
He inhaled half a cigarette. And spoke again, emitting hazardous fumes, his lacidazical dragon’s breath spilling ash on my carpet. “We can’t really trust our own perception. How can we possibly? It’s like, man, like…”
“Shut up.” I warned.
He looked offended. I reminded, “Jesus, you realize this every time you get high. It’s all in our head. I get it.”
“I know, but-“
“Shh. The song.”
Take it Easy, was the one that won me over, though I’d previously enjoyed Take it to the Limit. I’d been living in the Devil’s Latrine and was eating a greasehole cheeseburger lunch when I received word that my father was scheduled for a double bypass surgical procedure for seventy two percent blockage in his coronary arteries. One of which was referred to by the doctor as “The Widow Maker”, which was also the title of some crap film in which Harrison Ford attempted a Russkie “accent”. In quotes.
In my haste to return to my parent’s home state (only four and a half hours away), I neglected to bring any music back with me. The night before the early morning scheduled surgery, I laid awake in my sister’s old room in the dark and ached. The skin around my eyes felt the sting of staying open for too long and I couldn’t suffer the silence, so I crammed the only disc nearby into the stereo. My dad’s copy of Their Greatest Hits.
There was a young lady in the Tigermilk area at the time, who I thought I might try to give the best of my love. I was holding her in my mind, saying “Come on baby, don’t say maybe. I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me.”
A few months would reveal it wasn’t, which was for the best because my heart wasn’t in it. Dreamlife had notified me long before I even tried and failed. I am still looking for a “lover who won’t blow my cover”. Every time I think I could stumble on love, I surely let the sound of my own wheels make me crazy.
Surgery is an increasingly precise science that seems elevated beyond the basest of natural processes. Abstractly, it’s the ultimate act of mama earth. Minor and major damages to better rebuild or clear the way for new growth. You’ve got to remember that man exists as part of nature, even if building a new and peculiar one by combining natural elements into unnatural ones. The might of the human mind is a force like a tropical storm, though it’s effects are subtler upon landfall. And though the subtle results of surgery will likely better your health before too long, you’ll wake up from it feeling brutalized. There’s a good reason they replace your bloodstream with morphine in the days after. It’s a shock to the body. A blow to the soul. Ordinarily being cut open will release your spirit into wherever the hell it goes, but modern medicine has done it’s best to keep it inside.
Though I wondered if, when I should’ve died in that car wreck splenectomy the first time, mine wasn’t wholly contained by the anesthetic. I was scheduled for death and my soul left my body, but my body was shocked back to mobility by the late great Doctor Frankenstien. I kind of get what Boris Karloff and Bobby DeNiro were going through. Fucked to finish life, though my soul was already gone (but singing no victory song).
My father’s skin was a waxy yellow for some surgical reason I can’t remember and I thanked Christ he was sedated in the new wing of the hospital, so that it didn’t have that strong blood and urine stains sanitized smell yet. It was a stink that still churned the surgical memories in my stomach. My example of what a man should be, someone so stoic and physically strong now reliant on machines and drugs and constant care to keep alive. The weakest he could possibly be. It’s jarring, I’ll admit.
But he got better and I moved back to Tigermilk. And that young woman’s sweet love didn’t save me. One of these nights, I’ll find somebody. Whether she’s driving a flatbed ford or not.
DJ Huxtable was looking at me as if through the eyes of Glenn Frey. “You’ve got to steer your eagle to shore insteading of soaring over the sea all the time or else you’ll never-“
He put another coat of tar and nicotine on the interior surface of his blackening lungs. I’d previously described a dream I experienced, riding on the back of a gigantic eagle, Rescuers Down Under style. I looked to my right and spotted a friend and his would-be wife flying on an eagle together. The great birds of prey simultaneously dove and skimmed the surf and I looked up to see if the friend and fiancée were still clinging. They’d kept each other on the back of the bird. It was a rush, but a struggle to hang on, on my own.
Exhaled. “-you’ll never find somebody to keep you on that big bird.”
I really hated hearing him say things like that. Because it was hokey, sure, and because it was true. He was just repeating my own feelings back to me. I was in need of a peaceful, easy feeling. The sort of surgical incisions in my life that only a woman’s tiny hands can make. “You can spend all your time makin’ money. You can spend all your love makin’ time.”