Beatnic Palace Excelsa
D.T. Lowell is a fledge wing writer who has written for enjoyment most of his 58 years. He makes his living as a tatooer with emphasis on traditional Asian imagery. He hopes you will read the below and critique these posts. Thanks much for your time.
She watched the forms float slowly down around her, some recognizable, others almost; but mostly just soft yet defined shapes. Neither tiny nor large, they seemed the size of a child’s contented face. They held the feeling of weight, but settled too slowly for earth’s incessant reach. She asked herself “Am I dreaming or am I living?” She felt cool moss on her back and cheek and an awareness of the rise and fall of her breath, the smooth vital thump of her strong heart. Her form took shape unto itself and she knew what she was, remembered who she was and is even as the dream still slightly held, mysterious- soothment, melting, fading.
Carman bathed in darkness, stretched-out opening each joint with delicate care, systematically rotating while accessing, almost non-passionately ,the pain or non-pain of each muscle, tendon, joint and bruise, the several blooded wounds with their attendant sanguine flow. She rocked, twisted her body into a low crouch, and rubbed blood and sleep-matted eyes free. The dream pressed upon her as thoughts of practicality intruded, and that dream seemed a strange mirror of her last 24 hours of wakefulness.
So she let it go and thought about the wound on her head (“dull”) and the wound on her hip( “biting, sharp, acute”). Unbidden, instantaneous gladness surged through her, since others were wounded as well; grievously wounded, happily torn and mangled, rapidly, righteously, so fuck’n magically, luck, yes, certainly luckily. And hopefully “has to be, no way it cannot be, that those arrogant monsters, excrement-eaters, are lying and rotting there, undeniably and quite reliably dead! Damn, am I delirious? Hmm, not unlikely”. She’d had the courage to fight and try to live, to not submit to pillage. That thought brought tears without sobbing. She touched herself, felt her womanhood as sacred, strong, holy and intact.
That touch brought the need to void her bladder. So gingerly undoing her britches (she liked calling all pants britches), careful of the still seeping hip-gash, she more stood then squatted, hip-pain and blood-loss being the reality of the moment, she released. Wow. A really good feeling considering her battered disheveled state. Remaining to drip a bit, she thought of that word ‘Gash’, and was instantly very, very angry.
“Those rotten, fucking, dough-headed, vile, goat-copulateor’s! They! Shit! Gurrrahh ahh, ah. Oh?” Rage is not quite adequate to convey the sheer raw primal force which had rolled through Carman, possessing, owning, unleashing; a reptilian-brain function which she had rarely hitherto this moment been privy to. And It Came Out Of Her!
Still pissed-off, but feeling much better, cleansed, confident, even kind of proud, she considered the words like gash. Using a term that is understood to mean an unwanted ragged bleeding tear or deep severing of living, often human tissue and applying it to the human-female-genitive-organ, and-or to a whole conscious woman, such as “Hey Ronny, catch them three fine Gash up ta`da`fish fry last night? Yah I did one! What’s` it matter what one, ha, ya` don’t fuck da` face, turn em` over dey` all look like sisters.” Such as that thought Carman. She knew that the men who had tried to take her most-likely did not ‘fit’ this small-town- hick scenario, but it felt fun (?) to demean them. For sure they had spoken somewhat as had her Ronnie’s nameless pal.
Carman stood, hiked up her tough Fillson brand, tin-cloth-oil-britches (they were tan) and gently probed The Gash with her right hand’s index and ’FUCK-U’ finger. Carman was peculiar about many things particularly concerning words and idioms.She enjoyed archaic phrases, and had incorporated many mostly lost-to-use, jazz-age slang and old-west lingo into her daily spoken lexicon. She rejected ‘The Bird’ as unkind to her feathered friends, plus “fuck” fit so many weaker inferences. She liked peachy, By God, far out, dig it, heavy, eat a rock, fuck yo Mama, keep your powder dry, marvey, A straight shooter, chow, dig it and Aces. She called her vulva “my poozel, jelly-roll or musk-pot.” The affirmative was often, Right On and-or Fucken-Aye! She used these and many more slang selectively even during Gentle, Upper-Crust or High-Toned (another one) events.
She disdained ‘two-faced-people’, and ardently watched for falsities arising within herself; She reckoned that to do otherwise was a cop-out. Mumbling too herself, ”If humans would just be honest, just with themselves, criminy, then they most likely could start, well at least fucking try and be honest with each other.” Truly Carman was mighty self-demanding of, not just her outer behavior, but what most people call “Their Minds.” She was of a mind to “watch” her mind and separate “herself” out of its incessant babble. And from this practice Carman had grown in judgment, kindness, resolve and some courage.
Now as she touched her hip-wound she could feel the dried blood and the still seeping liquid; Her hand moved to that low-ache upon the top-back of her dome. ”Jumpen’ Jesus Johnson on a D.M.T. pogo-stick, this bastard is as big as Ping-Pong ball. I`m lucky to be standing- shit to be alive!”
A wave of nausea flowed over her, heart racing, she sat with head between knees, focused on not vomiting, just in- out, with deep steady breath. On the edge of fainting, pure will holding it back, her heart slowed, her gorge settled, the spinning stopped. Scared-”shit that was so fast.” She could feel the thankful return of oxygen and the accompanying cold sweat literally drenching her face, soaking her back. ”The sea” she thought, “water, water now.” Ominously. “Or else. Lucky it`s summer or I’d be shivering hypothermic.” Dawn was at least an hour or so away; she could sense, alpenglow high to the western peaks. The dryness of her mouth, thinking of blood-loss, her near-faint; brought resolute action. Carman was off.
She knew that approaching the creek could be done with care, beginning to see outlines of trees, rocks and bracken. Those large fern looked (felt?) like giant black funnels which wanted to swallow her into the earth; not malevolent, not to consume but to hide, to nurture and instill the healing balm which flows, always from any true mother.
So she shuffled along, between dark and light, protecting her eyes, with wrists crossed and touching ten inches from her face, right hand vertical left horizontal- looking, listening for the “sound of living waters.” A slow seven minutes and the old known-in-the-bones muted bubbles are gladly heard. Now she is lying prone sipping, breathing, over and over. She remains so till her elbows hurt, rolls over and almost dozes. Then back to it again many cold smooth drinks; she could truly feel “Life” course in a direct energetic line from the earth. Not stream to lips-mouth, then swallow, water-in-gut, to veins, no not each a separate action. Rather a truly animal-mind/divine-not-mind occurrence. ”Blessed” she thought.
It was as though Carman increased while shrinking to some micro-point which observed as one all-unit, the whole earth, all water, her body, the stream, her cells filling with water, she urinating, menstruating, spitting, crying. She watched as her new wounds closed, as in time-lapse films. She felt completely connected to a Mind of Vast Love that resided in her immediate position in space-time, yet existed everywhere else. Carman realized she was crying and smiling and that was certainly to be expected. Now fully sated, she stood to face the sky, raised her arms to the light drenched mount before her and spoke clear truth right back to that Truth which still strongly lingered within and without. “I have killed one man and maybe two” again, “I have killed one man and maybe two”, spoken like a ritual proclamation or prayer. Then in much joy with force she shouted it ”I Have KILLED One Man And Maybe Two!”
The birds which were happily chirping suddenly stilled and Carman swelled lofty in that instant silence. Time passed, Carman was. The sun had warmed her and she looked down by her boots. There just to the left of where she’d lain were three things: a stout four foot elm branch, a palm-sized sharp-tipped basalt rock and somehow strangely, one large purple-black crow feather. ”Hmm, just what the doctor ordered.” She felt these very common objects were specially placed for her. ”Guess I’m ready.” So drinking once more, she pocketed her rock, fixed her black-brown hair into a braid replete with the feather and hefted the staff, and down the “yellow brick road,” she laughingly strode.”Grow up Carman, the Rockies aren’t OZ and no good-witch is going to aid you, be careful.”
That somewhat cavalier laughter soon gave way to the seriousness of her body’s state. So slowly, sorely, a deeply-thoughtful Carman moved through the valley’s mossy-green-floor. Twenty minutes later she watchfully stepped onto the trail- an often-used –by-animals, occasionally tread-by-humans thread of rich black loam. Looking about she recognized a familiar-large- aspen which in its strange gnarled-twist, had first caught her eye as she`d passed almost 19 hours ago. About two miles or so north she figured was the steep rise to her camp. The air was warm and still, the smell of everything was, in a word, Rich. The individual scents she would extract from the whole visually. Each flower, tree, scat-pile and rot could be olfactorle perceived, and then looked upon physically. She prided herself on this ability, as it had developed over many years of many trips through diverse environments. And it was not accidental; it had come by conscious endeavor. And other sensory muscles had likewise been often keenly exercised.
As Carman moved on through aspen, endlessly tall evergreens and birch, she spotted a glade of mostly young aspen and smelled Fungi. She moved into the trees, fallowing her nose. Frozen now, electric awe rolled up-on her, for carpeting the forest-floor were hundreds of Amanita muscaria mushrooms, in all states of growth. Now this was truly a good sign,”mag-fucking-nifacent!” All though Carman had never built-up the courage to take this power-plant to heart (others, yes) as the stunningly scarlet-topped fungi have a reputation for capriciousness- she was overwhelmed by them on many levels. “Perhaps I will reassess these beauteous-beamers, damn, how amazing you are I feel your force, I honor you, thank you, thank you.” All good things in all good time, she thought. Almost unwilling to leave this ‘sacred being’, this moment of old-knowing, she turned away, and set her will and face north.
“But what will I find when I get there?” She fetchered the younger jockish boy-man, his brimmer’-hat reversed, the twenty excess pounds of ‘lard’ straining against sweat-soaked jersey. “Number 47 (?), yes 47.” He had no shape to his mug, “Typical!” She could see him in his apartment, wallowing on a ratty K-Mart couch, watching the-demon-box blankly. Jamming his sweaty pie-face with ‘Cool Ranch Doritos’(some of which lay crumbled on the jersey), and thoughtlessly gulping some vile swill named ‘lite’ beer which may indeed be lite, yet only individuals ‘light in the head’ would dare call it beer! Of him she was uncertain, “Most likely broke his neck, but I best be ready for him just the same.”
Well, the other ‘piece of tripe,’ of him she was sure. For when his knife sliced a deflected-glance off her hip bone and her skull found a rock as she fell fully-back, Carman’s collective fighting-instincts came into pure vicious play! In retrospect, now, she could name each element which had ripped through every aspect of the totality of her being. She wanted to remember them all, because she knew that had but one been absent, no ‘Carman’ would be treading this world today. So she names them internally: “Fear-Adrenaline-Rage-Pain-Outrage-Loathing-Justice-Repugnance-Courage-Luck-Watchfullness-Intuition-Speed-Ignorance of her pain-Righteous Wrath-A Refusal to ‘Be Cowed’ and the ‘BIG’ one-The Decision to Die Before ‘Being Taken’.” In the nanosecond it took for ‘the attacker’ to drop upon her, he met with a completely anomalous experience of ‘WOMAN’ in what was ,he terrifyingly realized, the last appalling moments of his mediocre, pride-ridden, self-centered and fear-driven life!
Time, for Carman did not slow, the only thought she recalled as internal words was “Fucker I’m taking you with me.” He falls with force to cover her, knife in hand, and meets a wolverine!
He’s aware of his screaming, of the two distinct crippling horrors which merged into ONE-PURE-PAIN, his body is shuttering-convulsive, he pushes up, rolls into tight fetal-form, the knife forgotten and he just can’t quite realize that he’s inhaling his own blood. And what was that crunching sound?
Carman’s heart was furiously battering neurotransmitters throughout her body-brain-unit. As her head bounced off the thankfully flat-smooth rock, her eyes snapped open to see his eyes just around a foot from her own, and then they were gone. Just as she felt his mass she knew he’d misjudged. His neck was almost smothering her; as one perfectly-executed athletic maneuver, Carman brought her left thigh with knee bent down as fast and forceful as a bull ram into his balls. While her leg was performing ‘the nut mashing’ her mouth opened to its biggest extension. It seemed almost too easy: she arched her back shoulders up, stiffening her neck-muscles which firmly planted that wide-open well-toothed mouth right around his ‘Adams apple’, and forced her jaw closed, completely.
She was happy. She held on and pulled her head side to side. Dimly, sounds could be heard, foremost a satisfying crackling-crunch and a distant bubbling kind of fox-like scream. Still she held, opening closed eyes. He was lifting her head and twisting, pulling away from her, his arms frantically flailing. Then, snap, her head fell back. Carman had not in the least lost appreciation for what was still occurring. She was not yet safe, nor assured that she would be. Both still on the ground they met eyes. She spat her grisly blooded winnings straight at his face and found deep hatred reflected in those teary eyes.
Right then, in the balance, each spied the knife, each moved on cue. And somehow, as a lightning strike of brilliant luck, sight and liquid-speed, Carman had seen her chance, snatched it up and with all her might explosively bowled beyond his desperate fencing arms and slammed his 8-inch blade right through his left- upper rib-cage clean to the hilt. Then she twisted it! She had both hands griping the handle in a ‘crush-grip.’ He was tipped backwards: She followed driving her lug-soled boots hard to earth. Now she covered him, and still he reached for life. Carman’s chest bounced upon her fists, she’d wrapped her legs firmly around his pelvis, as though wantonly fucking him. Her sight was impaired by not only her hair, but his breath-spued-blood. They locked eyes. Carman’s body rigidly rode his convulsive shutters and the ragged-monster amazingly spoke or rather garbled a most fitting (thought Carman) benediction. “I goin’ gill’ ou’ bitch.” His right hand was on her face weakly pushing and she with blooded lips simply said “FAT CHANCE.” He seemed to melt or just turn off and his essence went elsewhere.Carman ran with no set plan.Her mad dash brought her to a soft-patch of mossy-loam under a spreading-pine several miles south and close to the creak. Hastly she covered herself with fallen leaves and craked-off fir-tips. Soon she slept and woke there this mourning and so began this writ.
“Well, back to the present ‘cause I’m pretty close now.” Carman had traversed slowly, watchfully, with ‘ears that hear’ and her ‘danger-meter’ on ‘Red.’ She would not shift-down till she beheld ‘fat-guy’, ‘number47’ in person. She was almost certain (“has to be, no way it cannot be”) the fuck was dead! For in the tumble that ensued, moments after they sauntered into camp, he’d stupidly stood with back to the precipice’s edge. And when Carman’s bold response to their self-assured advance had caused ‘knife-guy’ to draw said knife. Carman’s response was to jump sort of sideways and into the edge-stander. He, needless to say, was extremely sorry, that he had felt (just a second ago) so confident in the fact of his ‘fantasy.’ A fantasy which had escaped realization since its inception at age thirteen.
At his uncs’ home, left alone for the day, Carl found a video, it was titled ‘Anal Anxious.’ Carl copied the film and had watched it hundreds of times. He had noticed that the “bitches” being rammed, while smiling and groaning at the camera, well at him, didn’t really like it. Somehow that made him feel really, really good. So, just before Carman’s bump, Carl said “I’m gonna’ fuck this hippie-bitch’s ass, all night long!” And over he went. Carman had hands (and teeth) quite truly full there-after, but she heard Carl’s scream and its immediate stop. Still, one can’t be too careful until one knows, knows for certain.
Carman had picked-out her camp-site carefully, on her first trip to this region, about seven years ago. This was “Healing-Trip three.” That’s what she called these times away, wherever she went. She’d spent a solid two hours, in the general area, seeking-out the coolest high-spot back then. It held all she desired. It was away from the more often traveled, well-beaten trail (the one with signs and arrows). There was a small spring exactly 127 paces up northeast. The tent-site was fairly flat and open to all directions but north, yet well hidden from the valley-floor. Plus it was at the top of an almost sheer granite cliff and Carman enjoyed technical-rock-climbing, she always packed chalk-bag and her snug climbing shoes. And lastly she could (and had) trek down to the talus below, boulder a bit, traverse the cliff’s base and hike directly west to the stream. Once there she would drop her drawers and luxuriate in and out of the water.
Carman did not like the term or title of nudist, it sounded kind of prudish; “As though being naked is some kind of big deal, like I should be an apologist for choosing to not cover my nakedness! The dolts! They should be ashamed of swimming with their clothes on. Well, it’s the T.V. world of lies, nooooobody works their goods, and sex sells everything! Fuck’n dough-heads! Ha, that word masturbate, it means bad-touch. We, no they, oughta’ shit-can the son-of-a-bitch! Trade it in for ‘Really-Great-Touch.’ Humm? My Musk-Pot is a sweet fine thing, I jiggle her Perl and she makes me sing.”
Carman was not, ruminating the above , it was an actual quote. On the last trip here, on her first of five visits to her dippen’-spot, she indeed sang that bluesy little ditty, lied-back upon a soft India-print as solar rays baked into open-yielding-flesh. Squirrels watched, multi-pupil dragon flies hovered with yellow moths, seeming to feel her very inner-fire. A serpent tasted her breeze-drifting pheromones. And three times, in 40 minutes, a lone cougar heard Carman’s moaning-cry. So Carman, being (she thought) cagey, moved off of the path a few yards, into deeper cover.
She removed her rock and rolled it till her hand found the best grip. She played through several scenarios of ‘That Which Lies Ahead.’ Most hopeful of the most probable; no one could live through a fall of seventy or so feet onto jagged granite. “I really think he’s Extra-Dead!” Moving, creeping, stopping, listening, Carman heard only birds, saw only woods. Now the trees and undergrowth extended into the talus-field and some of the boulders were quite large. She had spent hours working-out Boulder- Problems in and about the very area she now surveyed. To some rocks she’d given names: Stunt-Boy, Tall-Man, Meteor-Maid and Lace-Queen. These were her favorites, as they all had really ‘Killer-Moves’ and safe landings. These were lone rocks standing apart from the major mass at the cliff’s base. They apparently, eons ago, cut-loose from on high and rolled to their appointed rest. All but Tall-Man, he just on edge of the mount’s pile seemed to-perfectly-placed. A watchtower standing thirtyone feet, five sided, sharp-cornered and level to vertical on three sides. When Carman first laid eyes on it she envisioned some ancient mountain-god, not Thor of the sky, more like Mahakala -who dwelt in a Tibetan mount, a dharma-pala, who is a wrathful protector of Buddha’s teachings. She could see him rumbling out from his granite rest, boulders crashing down the mountain’s sides, then ripping out ‘Tall-Man’, fashioning its five sides by chopping with adamantine hands. Finely casting his fourteen-ton-work, as a child throws a small stick, earthward, it is ‘Planted’!
So Carman was now but a moment’s-walk from’ Lace-Queen’, to which she hastens. There resting and circling, back-to-wall, she moves on. Now trunk to trunk, fern to low-rock and on to ‘Stunt-Boy’, again as before, rest, circle then move. In her zigging line ‘Meter-Maid’ was a zag of no advantage and ‘Tall-Man’ stood 20 yards ahead. Trees were much spaced now, and she felt less hidden. She wanted (very much) to arrive unseen, unheard, to have the element-of-surprise. She took an accounting of herself, pounding heart, dry mouth, head throbbing, hip-pain-bad, and why did her jaw-joints ache so? She cooled her heels behind a big double-trunked cedar till she’d mastered her heart-rate. She rested all but eyes and ears. She stretched every muscle, unwound each joint, picked-up a small pebble and sucked it. Only a few trees, low mossy rocks and some prickly bushes stood between her cedars and ‘Tall-Man’. “Fug’ it, as fast as I can walk. Damned hip!”
She moved in a low crouching gate, neither a walk nor run. As she’d match equal to any possible hiding spot, where ‘the fallen one’ might lurk, Carman would fluidly turn head and body slightly sideways, in a flowing ‘Horse-Stance,’ staff-at- ready. Nothing happened. Now her back was lightly resting on Tall-Man and all she heard was CROWS! She knew right then, “Hell Yes!” Carman boldly stepped out and around, over and between the small and mighty rocks. Fear gone, easing-down, she took 26 steps to ‘The World of Crows.’
Carman’s smile was broad, her tears light, her heart lighter her hands stroked her braid with feather. She stopped just 6 feet shy of ‘the feasting’. (Now this truly did happen, so don’t question the tale. I know birds don’t generally behave this way, but they did. Accept it!) As Carman stopped, all of maybe 20 or so crows stopped as well. The feasters stopped feasting, the squabblers quite their bellicosities and the circlers landed. The Crows to a one were silent. All turned to face her, and as if all this were not strange enough, they saluted her! No jive, these ‘bird-brained’ creatures, with brains the size of a lentil, spread their wings out-to-side, raised their heads and gently bobbed their bodies up then down. They performed this motion six times, all in sync, silently. Upon the seventh bow they cried-out two syllables but once.” KAR-MEN!” Then starting with the crow closest to her, they each took flight in turn, until Carman was alone.
“Oh God, am I fucking dreaming, or or am I, god, am I alive? Always felt shit like this could happen, has happened, damn, god, but long-ago, to others, never no, not to me! Not to me, but with me, in me, crimeiny, it’s like Narnia or Biblical-Stuff, or, or, like Tantric Yogis flying, but, well I, Me, the fucking crows, they honored me, spoke my name, and split in single-file! O.K. this is my reality, right here right now, and God you are fucking weird, and I love you right here right now, so thanks for that, no this, cause’ I did not ask for a miracle, and I won’t start worshiping crows, but you are so cool, to do all you’ve done, to save my life, to make me strong, so thanks for every-thing, OM SHANTI SHANTI OM AHMEN!”
Carman would have appeared hysterical to most any onlooker- she was crying, sobbing-out the above. When she started her rant, she really was questioning her sanity. But upon completion, there was no doubt whatsoever; she knew all had truly occurred. She reasoned that her experience at the creek that morning was no less amazing or real than this one. Actually, all existence, her very being, the dream which seemed to bind all that had happened, and what was to come, this whole-one-thing, was, is, will be, pure simple miracle. “And I Live.”
With those true words thus spoken, Carman stepped closer to the remains. She was well past any possibility of mortal or moral shock. Plus, the God-glow, still heavy upon her, made all things seem normal and beautiful. Fat-Guy had become Flat-guy. She thought of the scarecrow after the flying monkeys had-at-him; “they took out my chest and threw it over there.” Carman mimicked the Tin-man’s reply while staring in mock sorrow at unspeakable gore. “Well I guess that’s you all over.” Then she giggled, just a bit.
He had fallen a solid 67 feet with eyes glued open. He turned one and a quarter body-length over. He saw sky, trees, talus, rock-face then sky. And just as he saw the sky the second time, he saw his life, not everything, but the shit that matters, he saw. As soon as he saw, he knew! And in sheer horror of his wasted-life, his back centered on to a low convex slab of granite!
Said rock had but one sharp wedge-like projection topping a foot above its smooth crown. And Carl’s spinal column parted like sun-baked Colby under a tomahawk . This ‘rock-knife’ seemed to birth through his chest six inches, pinning him like some loathsome carrion-fly. His head appeared to merge with the slab as white skull and grey brain flew concentrically, so perfectly away from his face. Carl had been wearing goofy ‘Big Dog’ shorts that were too tight. They were patterned in martini glasses and dominos. As his flubbery ass was turning into mashed-suet it exploded those ill-fit shorts, as a hand squeezes a clod of gluten. The visual effect was like giant red-white worms rapidly squirting out of a strangely decked sausage. His legs had likewise spilt, bones shattered and protruding. Surrounding this treat, was blood, not pumped out, no heavier issue from one particular wound. Rather a quite fitting halo of scarlet tissue; the rock was drenched!
This was the state of Carl’s mortal-frame sixteen hours ago. At that time, one could have seen the semblance of a man floating out-of ‘Flat-Boy’. Think of a sun-dried toad which had hopped on to some two-laner’ at the wrong time and got-nailed. You’ve seen them, flat and card-like. Everything is present, yet they are too wide and flat as thinned piss on a plate. Now transfer that image to a man, to Carl. He was eighteen inches wider than his former self across his torso, and just four inches max on the vertical. His face was almost smooth, nose even with ears, no bone structure to define; think Steamroller!
What Carman found was not necessarily better or worse, but it was different. She said “He’s been Crowed. First fattened then flattened then Crowed. Damn it stinks, look at the flies. I wonder who he was, the fuck.” Carman chose not to look for his wallet now. The first thoughts of ‘The Law’ came (she had read a few Detective Books in her time.) She was not about to mess around with reeking Flat-Boy ungloved.
So, moving east, she followed her usual route along the cliff’s base to the trail. As she wound slowly up towards the switch-backs, she contemplated on ‘The Men.’ She spoke-out the next. “They were men, but twisted, more like Devils. They were what men can become, if they choose to embrace Evil. Don’t think it’s not a choice, no, not made that way, not born-bad. Hell no, they knew better, it’s fucking universal, gut-known. Like inalienable-rights, natural-rights! The basterd’s had no excuse. Not my fault they died. Could have left me alone. And that fat kid, I just bumped into him, so it goes. Well they won’t be hurting some other poor Chick now. Guess I’m a killer, might as well not fight my fate.”
Remembering then how they looked, as they came upon her. She’d seen that look before, so often, in bars, or on a bus. A ‘what- have-we-here’ look. Men, with big smiles, mouths too large for humans to have and eyes alien, beyond reptiles. Dead eyes filled with fire.
It generally took Carman around twenty minutes to circumnavigate up to the camp, that being unencumbered with her pack. On this particular passage, she rested four times, gathering her breath. An hour later, she almost stumbled into her spot. The last twenty or so minutes were made with shear will, as her hip-pain tried to stop progress. Carman kept thinking of water and the first aid kit. Something very special was in that kit and she would avail herself of its succor. “Right fucking on,” merely glancing at feeding crows and their foul repast, Carman was in her tent!
She tore at her stack of drawstring bags, opened a two-liter plastic water bag and guzzled. She took out the ‘med-bag’ and opened a prescription pill-jug. Her hip seemed to scream at her “hurry, hurry up you bitch!” Dumping the tablets onto the earth (this tent was floorless) she popped two in her mouth, cracked a third in half, and drank them down. Next she dumped out the snack-food, opened five bags with twist-ties and had at them. “Yum, god, a fuck’n feast, fit for a man- killer, a damn crow- feeder, a mean she-wolf, shit, thanks God, more water.” And so Carman stuffed her face with goodies: almonds, figs, dried mango, sharp white cheddar and rough-bread. While munching, she returned the pills back to the container. Carefully. Then she mixed with water, a rehydration-powder (it was lime-flavored, supposedly) and sipped at it till the quart was gone.
Feeling the soft glow of the oxycodone and knowing she would soon be ‘zonked’ into sleep, Carman quickly neatened the tent. She took the food-bag to its appointed hanging-tree and strung it up. Back at the tent she disgarbed and quite methodically tended to her hip. It was not deep, but she saw the white of bone where her flesh gaped open at the center. Inch and a half to three-quarters long, by a solid inch wide! She gently washed the dried blood away, then squirted some fancy disinfectant in and around, gave it a good shot of ‘neo’ and applied a sterile-pad, which she taped somewhat excessively. Thinking of Cougars, she plastic-bagged all the tailings and sprayed the bag and her blooded britches with the disinfectant. “Hope that kills the blood-smell.”
“Now what? He’s out but 15 or so feet from me (the crow’s cawing had not diminished) and I cannot, no not tonight, move camp! Too hell with it, I made it this far, I’ll make it to morning.” Carman took both pants and bag and brought them to a rocky spot close to the food-catch. She placed rocks on top and remembered her shirt. “Shit, that basterd’s blood is all over it. Gotta’ do this again!” She did.
As she returned to the tent, she realized how stoned she was. “I deserve it, after all this shit. Oh you poor hip, you hardly hurt now, thank Buddha, God and Baby Jesus. Hell-Yes, thank mother-poppy. Damn, this shit is potent, Ha. Well it is the right med for this Chick, right now. Goodnight everyone, sweet dreams.” And with that, she crawled into her bag, naked as unvarnished-truth, patted both stout staff and rock, touched the feather and laid her hand to rest upon her favorite blade. Sleep then came, and her dreams were gentle.
Carman dreamed of walking and floating through grand forests. All plants, rocks, brooks and creatures, glowed. The air seemed suffused with a soft, golden-rose luminescence. She recognized plants of prehuman history. thirty foot ferns from dinosaur-days, bamboo as fat as cedar-trunks and cedars as thick as small cottages. All biomes, of all times and places, mixed together, non-competitively.
She lingered with Amanitas three feet tall- their white-flecked, blood-red caps, eighteen inches in diameter. She fed upon one and could feel its spirit coursing. Now she floated above the moss and directed her movements by thought.
She looked up toward high mountains and speed increased with height. Carman shot through curtains of warm, ever-morphing color. Joy engulfed, she spun in form, like a tumbling raptor. Just before reaching the peak of her choice, crows joined her. She heard their caws. She laughed and saw a tent growing larger on the peak. “My tent” she said, as she woke. Carman awoke to a strong sense of ‘Unity’, an achy, sore body, a hip that throbbed sharply, a low head-ache, a dry mouth that smiled and, of course, crows cawing.
“That was just too damn cool. Far fucking out. Gotta’ remember that one. I am one heavily gifted Chick. Skirt. Twist. Who’s da’ Frail Marlow? Some hard broad named Carman! Yah heard she runs tough, up ta’ da’ mountains. But frail she aint, Gotta’ handle up there, Crow-Feeder. Don’t mess that skirt, she’ll fuck you up! All right, since the cats let me off last night, I should be fine today. But I’d better take care of shit, burn every trace of me-here!”
She started water boiling on her tiny pack-stove (in the tent), stepped- out naked and urinated. Looking at the crows, she smiled. Reversing all she’d done last evening, now back at the tent, she took stock. She reasoned, while brewing her ‘mud.’ She planned, while redressing her hip. Swallowing two seven point five milligram oxycodone tablets with coffee, she looked at things one way. Eating the meal slowly, she considered things another. After a trip to the higher-woods, where she double-bagged her offal, she returned decisive.
“I was never here this trip” spoken out loud. Then her internal dialog; “Can’t leave any trace of me, have to take it all and burn it. The stups’ killed each other, yah; I’ll reckon people who know them would not be incredulous of such an occurrence. O. K., work to do!”
Carman took one of two pairs of latex-gloves from the med/first-aid bag. Remaining naked she took her knife, gloved-up and walked to the crows. These ones acted like all the crows you’ve ever seen, they flew up and circled. Carman stood and peered, looking for any sign of her leavings. She checked his hands for hair: nothing. She looked to his neck for tooth-marks: crows had opened his throat to twice the size of its original wounding. She could not find the ‘missing-chunk.’ She next washed his knife’s grip with a bit of water and a paper-towel. Then collecting jellied-blood from an unmentionable source inside his body, she applied it to the handle. Carman tugged his pretty stiff arm up on his chest and forced his hand around the grip. It left a reasonable palm imprint. “Good, for what it’s worth?”
Now Carman wanted to know who he had been. So she retrieved a new ‘baggy’ from the tent. She slipped it over her right gloved hand and gingerly ferretted-out his black trucker-wallet. Leaving it attached to its stainless-steel-chain, she opened the snaps. His driver’s license revealed the fallowing: State of Wisconsin issue, expiration date 2/5/1992, age 58, not a donor(“The selfish Pizzel-Rot.”), no endorsements, height 5-11, eyes blue, weight 178, address 1423 Chingel Foot Lane in Pebble Park Estates, hair blond, name (“No fuck’n way!”) Ronnie Trenton Qurmbunn! “Asshole deserved that name. Anyone who aspires to live on, what the fuck (Carman was really laughing now) Chingel Foot Lane, crimeiny, what the hell is a chingel anyway? –and on your feet!” She sat, actually almost fell down; What with the oxy’ and all the tension of doing the above, she cut loose with laughter unto tears. And it took a good seven minutes, till she’d worked it all through.
Carman needed to record Qurmbunn’s data- she had one other set of gloves. She managed to inspect the wallet’s contents, write on paper his ‘info’ and return all back, uncontaminated. Plus, she performed the above without using that second pair of gloves. There were other items: a photo, some business-cards and cash She considered keeping some of this stuff, but knew that was just foolish.
Next she dragged ‘Trenton Q. Fuckhead’ 5 feet to cliffs-edge. She looked below to ‘Flat-Guy’, adjusted ‘Knife-Guy’ slightly, tossed some light-grit at the crows while yelling “Hey you crows, look out, split.” They did, and Carman let fly.
Again, she could not have done better. He hit with a softly resounding flop! His head rested on ‘Flat-Guy’s lap, the other members all akimbo and broken. Luck had it that he landed on his back-side. This was important thought Carman, because of ‘Post Mortem Livid (?)something, diddy?’ The tending of blood to settle to the lowest parts of a newly-dead body. “Gotta’ check for I.D., on that other one” she said under her breath.
Carman then used a thin-edged stone to scrape bloodied-earth into a pile. This was cast out in handfuls, down and around the bodies. “Best I can do: hope for big rain.” Now she swept all boot imprints, with a small fir-tree-bough, trying to distinguish her boot’s sole-pattern from the others. This was not a trying job, as little earth held to all the exposed rock. A jaunt to the spring, to fill jugs, a ‘whores-bath’ taken there, then back to camp.
A quick snack, a careful breakdown, a more careful pack-up with grid-patterned site-policing, (she found one hidden twist-tie) and Carman hit the road.
One half hour later, with new gloves on, she dug through and around Carl’s putrescent, maggoty remains. Nothing! “Hmm, no packs. Did they walk in right from the day-lot? Shit, did they plan this and follow me in? Nah. Camped at the ‘set-sites’, bet they were in a ‘winni-shitcan’ or some nasty fuel-abusing camper. Shure, a piece-of-crap called ‘The Wanderer’ or ‘Trail Breaker’, whatever!”
Carman knew she needed to set up a strong alibi. Another camp that would seem desirable and appear well used. Weighing several choices, she felt that returning near-to the creek, where she’d watered just last morning (?) was wisest. She knew tracks degraded over time, and wasn’t too concerned of her past movements. But now, for safety’s sake, she removed boots from feet and shod herself in tough-light moccasins.
Her hip and head were ‘talking’ bad. She had worked hard all this morning, never really stopping. So, before closing pack, she took time with ‘her neighbors from hell.’ Eating figs and real dark chocolate, with water and two oxys’; Carman stepped over ‘Trenton Baby’ and spoke at him. As she ‘let him in on it,’ her hands were delicately laboring. She then packed-up, hoisted pack and headed south, just off the trail’s edge a bit.
She passed the stunning mushroom stand, “My dream?” she uttered. Then there was that twisted aspen. One half mile further, she turned west and smoothly flowed to the creek. She dropped the backpack, disgarbed and slipped into invigorating coolness. Carman lingered with head faced upstream, feet planted against the flow on mossy rocks. The quick current massaging pains away; like a lover made of liquid-understanding, in perfect compassion, ministering to all his lover’s needs.
She released everything. Salty tears merged with fresh water, as even old-hurts passed it seemed, into the ocean. “The Tao” thought Carman.
Dripping now, her bandage cast soaking by her pack, She lightly danced first downstream, to check, then reverse. Satisfied as to her privacy, she moved the gear downstream to a more perfect camp-site. Efficient in this task, soon all was fit for a Queen. The fire snapped heartily, the deep woods covered protectively, the brook ‘OMED’ and her tent beckoned womb-like. She could just make out the last dusky sunlight as an almost full moon birthed from between two eastern peaks.
She undertook the last jobs willingly, thankful she had pulled it off. Carman felt safe, knowing she’d done the right moves; Haveing spent time, times, where bear and large cats rove. She lightly dressed, ass planted on an old log, tea billy hanging above flames from a green cut sapling, old dead-dry branches close by. Carman’s face reflecting fire-light, fire-shadow; and she’s working with deft-hands, this Crow-Feeder. Only the fire knows at what.
Carman wakes slowly, wet and hot. That lucky ol’ sun, beaming the tent into her own, personal warming-oven. She feels empty, sad, worn-down. “AH-MAN, I’ve got a fever, shit.” She flips off her cover, unzips the tent, throwing open its flaps. Warm air flows in and out. “At least my hip doesn’t feel as bad.” Rubbing the knot on her head, she can tell it has shrunk; and that encourages her. Next she pulls free the bandage to assess her injury. Feeling let down at its sight, she mumbles. “What else should I expect? The poor-thing needed stiches; too late now. Fuck! Need antibiotics. I’ll call Seth when I get home, He can hook me up, yep’.”
So she ate two Tylenols, two oxys’, and “should’a’ been doing these all along”,four Yin Chiao tablets. “Can’t hurt, good Chinese shit. Always helped with colds.” Carman crawls out, squats, pees and ambles to the creek. Slipping in, she shivers, grabs the squirt-jug of Dr. Bronners lavender soap and lathers-up. She washes her hair and lastly reworks ‘The Gash.’
Back to the tent and on with her wound-tending. Then over to the fire-spot to check for live coals; no dice! “Well gotta’ find the snap, there’s the back, aalll-reit’, the front, and here’s the zipper-pull and all the ‘bitty zips! “ Carman palmed all that was left of her highly valued, oiled, tin-cloth-britches (her shirt had no metal, it was now ash) and cast those ten to twenty feet down-river. “All gone, gone beyond, even the beyond! No D.N.A. anyhow, what with the fire. Still must scrub my bad-ass-boots. Fug’ um’, not burning my coolest boots. Better get them re soled with a different lug.”
She was feeling physically a lot better, but she knew it was due to the drugs. So she stirred the charcoal into a mound and smoothly kindled a small blaze. Rinsing, and then filling her ‘tea-billy’ (by the way it was an old Chock-Full-O-Nuts coffee-can, with a seven- inch copper-wire, punched through the rim, in two spots) she hung it adroitly, to boil ‘mud-water’. This accomplished, she retrieved the food bag from its hanging. Sitting on the log, she laid-to.
Carman consciously chewed slowly, emptied her mind and gave thanks. The rich-black-coffee seemed particularly welcome. As images flowed-by, she just observed. When emotions rose (some strong ones did) she returned to watching. Upon the meal’s ending, she whispered ‘The Hart Sutra.’ Next she ‘Prayed.’ Prayer, for Carman, came naturaly, she just said her thoughts, straight-up. She didn’t mince words out of some phony respect or fear of ‘A Wrathful God.’ She thought ‘GOD’ was her pal. A pal like any other of her closest loved ones, save for one thing only. This pal is ‘The Causative Agent’ of Every-Thing; a damned good ‘pal’ to have your back, she would have said. Around an hour passed as she made her petitions. Carman then tided-up, hung her food-sack, pissed and retired. She nestled into her sleeping-bag, covered over with a magenta colored India-print, drank water and crashed-out, instantly; knife-in-hand!
Carman had garbled dreams, chaotic-running, vicious-struggles with amorphic-melting-things. She shuttered-awake, feverous, heart slamming, head reeling. She worked to orient herself. “Still some sunlight present, probably around 6:P.M.!”
The next twentyfour hours were spent thus: napping, boiling water, pounding water, hot-packing her hip, sleeping, pissing, eating rice-gruel, taking meds and dipping in the creek, painfully.
Next evening, she was passed the worst. Although weak and shaky, Carman had fought a second-battle and won. “Friday-night, OH-MAN! I do feel better, food, yes in-deedy-do!” She prepared a hot meal and ate more than she thought she could. Strangely animated, Carman takes her mini-mag-light and walked over to a two foot circular stone. Lifting it up, she reached under and winced at the feel of crawling things scatter to her intrusive-touch. She treaded directly to the brooks edge and seemed to wash more than her hands.
Back at the low flames, seated on her log, her hands hidden from view; Carman worked cunningly. Again,only the flames could tell at what.
There is much mystery to this Crow-Feeder; we shell remove a bit of that vale. She has slightly brown skin, she herself is uncertain of her racial-mix. That’s what she’d call it, “nobodies pure, we all are mixed.” She thinks of her face as handsome, not beautiful; most discerning people would think ‘really beautiful.’ She has a strong jaw-line, but a delicate chin. Her brow is prominent, but not masculine and her forehead is slightly rounded and high. Those brown, almond-shaped eyes, have captivated, not a few, both women and men. Her figure is ‘classic’, medium-titted, tight-wasted and her ass is ‘heart’ shaped with no sag. She is long legged, strongly calved as she rides her bicycle often. Lately she’s been thinking of motor-cycles. Her hair almost black and naturally-curled was last cut at the age of seventeen. Since then eleven years have passed till she named herself ‘Crow-Feeder.’ Carman stands five feet, nine inches and seems taller to many folks, especially men. She wears tough-practical clothes and colorful glad-rags from India, Mexico and Guatemala. She reads a lot, likes movies and Art. She draws a little, dances a little and sings a lot. She has some tattoo-work on her left calf, bats and mums in Japanese-style, she plans on getting more. Carman digs primitive jewelry and she’s got lots of cool ‘everything.’
She always wears at least one necklace. On this trip she wore one she’d made; It had red and black glass ‘palm-hart’ beads, slung on a black leather thong.
Distant thunder alerts Carman, as she labors at the midnight-fire. Unperturbed she continues methodically. Lighting nails the western peak and she smiles. The thunder vibrates her chest, Carman ‘woops’ back at it. Rain pushes cold air in front, displacing the heavy warmth. Carman skedaddles to the creek, and flutters a tee-shirt over pure waters. Then she slips in, rubbing hands, body clean. Back to the fire to collect food, off to hang it. Back to the fire to grab that tee-shirt and two other items. Now big-cold drops hit her, each stinging good. Carman spins laughing with arms raised, pleased beyond measure. She shouts “I’m, A FUCKING LIVE, HELL YAH,” (she chuckles) “The Crow Feeder Liveith, now to tent my groovy self!”
Carman placed her dripping bundle down, toweled-off and bandaged a less tender, obviously healing wound. She removed a small deerskin bag from her med-kit, produced a small ‘reefer’ and fires it up. “Om Shanti Shanti Om.” She lit a stick of ‘Shrof’ brand amber-rose incense and took a second whiff. “Cocaine for horses but not for men, they say it’ll’ kill ya’ but they don’t say when; Hey hey, have another whiff on me. Umm. Shor’ nuff’ chill’,das’ sum’ fine fine gage, Loid!”
She zipped closed the door-flaps. Lightning brightened her ‘cave’ (the gentle-herb was really talking now). Lighting one candle, melted to a stone, Carman feels secure, held, deeply relaxed. Wrapping herself against the cold with her India-print, she unrolls the damp bundle. Her hands move with confidence. And as they effortlessly ‘lay-to-task’, her mind, unbidden, unveils ‘The Dream.’ That dream of last Monday night-Tuesday morning.
She has no substance, but is ‘right there.’ The gently falling objects had been human hands and children’s toys, of days gone passed. Not severed, gory-wristed hands, but whole unto themselves, born or made such, and minded! Each has an eye, centered vertically in the palm. They were preforming the gestures of Mudra, the thumb to finger, meditation symbols of Indian and Tibetan Mysticism. Paired at times in prayer, bedecked in fine rings, stones and delicate gold chains. Many richly tattooed some holding tiny blossoms. The eyes would look at her and slowly blink; loving eyes, knowing eyes. The toys were painted wooden animals and simple machines, like single engine planes, or ox-carts. Some cast metal trains, cars, ships and a mechanized-bank, with an old happy hobo, who gladly snatched your penny, then stored it! All gaily, brightly painted; so cunningly crafted.
And drifting, floating down with the above, were flowers beyond human ken. And swirling throughout this entire radiant phantasmagoria, were crow feathers. All easily, slowly twirling down, about, around, even through her. Giving comfort, peace, healing and meaning: Meaning of Meanings, which she could never put word to.
Carman finally slept and woke refreshed, around 9:A.M.. “Wazoo, must be Saturday. Well I do have food but me-thinks tis time for Babylon. Wana’ split unnoticed. If they are looking for ‘The Rotters,’ I don’t want to talk to The-Man. Have like three to four hours before the main trail. Plus, fuck-em’, National Forests are clothing-opp. I’m staying naked till the tended-trail!”
Ninety minutes later, Carman was heading south. She appeared thus: a nude woman, with all her hair where nature had provided it, shod in light moccasins, hefting an elm staff tipped with a sharp basalt rock, her hair is in a top-knot, crowned with a crow’s feather. She shoulders her backpack with ease, its wide-padded-belt hides a well-padded hip-wound, from the pack’s left-shoulder-strap hangs her trusty tanto style fixed-blade knife. A primitive pattern in blood-red berry-juice, has been applied, in streaks to her chest, she features it as crow wings.
And if you could see just below her strange slight grin; her necklace hangs heavier in its center, for the recent addition of a newly de-fleshed and stone-ground, human, male-thumb-bone was weighting it so. Carman reached up and lightly touched it.
“The thumb,” she said “It’s more than a symbol of choice; it makes us capable of many things, to choose between good and evil, love or hatred, woman, man or devil. Fuck evil! At least I choose to be a Woman today.” And Carman the crow-feeder, let hard thoughts go. She smiled thinking, how damn-good that first cold beer would be.
Written in Beatnic Palace Excelsa:
If Christ returned in a star-ship; would we recognize him. Or like Thomas: Skeptics Always. Waiting to place well- manicured-oil of Olay fingertips, into wounds of victory. I’m not so certain about Fiery- Chariots. Perhaps Neutron-Bombs-Unleashed, are just slight hic-ups to the cosmos. A mere fart lodged-sideways, destined to be released, smell of obnoxious-plutonium-microbes, and disperse; Taking US-and every other living-breather, as it drifts star-ward. That being as it is-I find myself wanting to wash your feet with hemoglobin-tears; and grow thousand-mile-hair, for the simple purpose of drying them. Can we wait that long?
Fug’ Da’ Sysum’
What`s the matter with the Baby, has he fallen from his crib? Did the little-jibbel dribble yucky-pablem on his bib? Maybe Baby`s into grooving with that hot toe-tapp`n crowed. He`llfind the secret, to the beat yet, to that rock-a-baby sound. What`s the matter with the masters, seems like the’ir not play`n fair? Laws for some, but not for others; Master smiles, baby glares! Baby Bunnzo`s wear`en shades now, they hide the meanness in his eyes. Master Quipsick sold them to him; “Buy em` boy, or take a ride.” What`s the matter with this story? Listen-close, I think you see. The thing can`t end, it`s best forgotten, it`s clean forgotten. The masters rotten. The babies ruined. A lean rat`s chew`en, a flap-earred photo of some cheese, a soiled photo of a cheese.