Where does it go
the wind that blows. Where from does it come? How everybody’s wondering.
Remembering a beginning.’
Daniel Eduardo Rodriguez, (D-Ro) y yo,
set out from Eastern Connecticut,
in early November 2003.
D-ro was bound to Long Beach, California to meet up with his, then, significant other, Lori.
I was bound for Ojai, California to meet with the son of a Hopi elder.
This Hopi elder had brought Hopi prophecy to the United Nations.
He had died.
I was told that his son had more Hopi Prophecy to share.
We were each in our own vehicles.
D-ro was in a Jeep Cherokee.
I was in a battered Toyota Tercel.
We communicated with our cell phones.
There was a crisis at the first pit stop.
I was broke-ass, I couldn’t pay for the gas.
D-ro is a big (6 foot 6 inch) big soul-ed dude.
He made a huge leap of compassion for my broke ass, ass.
He paid for the gas.
The trip became a pilgrimage.
We went to The Great Serpent Mound, a prehistoric, 1,348 foot long, three-foot high earthen work along the Ohio Brush Creek.
IT depicts The Great Serpent engulfing The Cosmic Egg from which Creation springs.
We slept on picnic tables, near the Great Serpent We could hear a high school football game.
In the middle of the game a player was seriously injured.
We could hear the lifestar-helicopter. We could hear the stadium re-acting.
We could hear the stadium’s anguish as their injured hero receded into the sky.
Then we went to Cahokia across the Mississippi from St. Louis.
We climbed Monk’s Mound, one of the largest earthen pyramidsin the Americas.
We behold one of the largest cities of its time (1050–1350 CE).
Then we went to the missile base, 18 miles west of Topeka, Kansas.
I had first met Ed Peden, the owner of a decommissioned nuclear missile baseat a Rainbow Nationalin the summer of 2001. The missile base had been preparing to launch during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He had reconsecrated this place of mega-death into a deep, underground, place of mega-drum circle.
D-ro y yo’s arrival was reason enough for mega-partying We were the party’s entertainment.
Cellular phone service had not yet arrived at the missile base. When we surfaced several days later, and found some phone service Lori was not happy. She lost the plot. D-ro was accused of infidelities. Hard words were spoken.
Immediately after that conversation ended, Ed Briones called.
Bonnie May Paine was doing a gig in Ponca City, Oklahoma, that evening.
Not too long after she had graduated high school, Bonnie came to Eastern Connecticut.
D-ro y yowere both at this bar/music venue in New London.
It wasa decommissioned fire station. It was The Station 58. We called it’The Club’.
D-ro had left the world of college, basketball scholarships, and jocks and dedicated himself to creating a world with a lot of music. He played music at The Club. He also was the bouncer, the door-man, bar-tender.Sometimes he waxed the floor.
I performed my first spoken word there.
D-ro would back me on jimbay, bongos.
I shouted loud, angry, old school, beatnik poetry.
I had broken my right ankle. I had a metal cane. I swung, flailed it.It was scary.
The club was a partnership between Ed Briones and Pete Webster. Ed’s significant other was Jessie English, a friend of Bonnie’s.
When Bonnie arrived in Eastern Connecticut, to visit with Jessie, all the dudes lost their minds.
We all fell in love with her. We courted her in intense, primitive, drum circles.
A reason we loved her was for her percussive genius.
At first it seemed like Ian Kelly, a truly amazing drummer, had won.
But then D-ro prevailed.
But then, they told each other they were with someone else. Before anything got consummated, Bonnie returned to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, (‘the quah’) capitol of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation.
We made the sharp, left-hand turn, south.
We met up with Bonnie at Webb’s World of Fun in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The ultimate honky-tonk. It started out as chicken-coops, and became a year-round vestige of the Winfield Music Festival.
The considerable talentsof Bonnie May Paine were being squandered.
She was a second-class member of ‘The Po-Dank String Band ‘.
It’s not that ‘Po-Dank’ didn’t have merit.
Among the band’s repertoire were the songs:
‘Ode to Bitches’,
‘Dang Girl Why Do We Have to be Related,’
‘Up Shit’s Creek With A Turd For A Paddle’,
I’m not proud of this, and yet, I kind of liked ’em.
It was a kind of genius.
Bonnie was kind of embarrassed being on stage with ’em.
It was clear.
Bonnie needed to go on to the new, next, musical thing.
It had been a long day and nightfor all of us.
When we all prepared to take to our vehicles for the long ride from Ponca City to ‘the quah’, I testified to the life-saving powerof staying awake by pulling the hairs out of your nose.
It worked for me.
We arrived at The House of Paine at first light.
As soon as he drove down the drive way, of The House of Paine’ D-ro had deja-vous. He had dreamt IT, long before IT happened.
We slept ‘til early noon on Bonnie’s bedroom floor,
And then we awoke to the terrorand wonder of the ‘quah’.
‘The quah’ was unlike anyplace I had ever been or have been since.
The street signsare in English and Cherokee.
The ‘quah’ had been the final destination of the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
It was where they builttheir new capitol.
I had done a lot of acid in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s. Yet, in ‘the quah’ everybody was still tripping balls like it was an eternal summer of love. And even though Lori returned to Connecticut, she was very much with us in ‘the quah’. Lori had worked at The Club, but I had not known her well.
Yet in ‘the quah’ I acquired a super-natural dread and awe of her.
There was never a women who had been so wounded by what appeared to be scorn.
They had been contemplating engagement, marriage.
Yet D-ro had questions. Yet, the musical union of Bonnie and D-ro was a new thing under the sun.
There were many things opposed to their love, their musical union.
It just barely prevailed for a time.
It was kind of a miracle.
They immediately began recording. But the only person who had recording equipment was James Townsend.
James was a childhood friend of Bonnie’s, who had been making music since the 6th grade.
He had/has some good stuff. But James, always, couldn’t help himself, he had to put in bells and whistles. He intruded himself with strange musical gimmicks. Soon after I met D-ro he asked me to listen to an old cassette player that had music from his 6th grade.
I was impressed.
I told him, that he had something there. I told him he had something he could use, now.
It was what he needed to hear.
The musical union of Bonnie and D-ro, was a game change.
There was much that was opposed to it.
Lori made phone calls.But she didn’t need a phone.It felt like she was with us. It felt like she was in all ways working against us.
It felt like she could project herself.
It felt like she wasa pissed-off,savagecat.
I accepted all employment. I helped Bonnie clean houses. I was able to talk to her.
Bonnie recognized the situation before D-ro did.
She told me of a dream she had in high school.
D-ro stands 6 feet 6 inches.
She dreamt of seeing D-ro in her high school gym.
She called him her 6×6.
D-ro was riven.
He knew, as did Bonnie, that they were Destiny.
And yet, he wasn’t ready to, definitively, part with Lorrie.
Bonnie was still a second-class member of the Podank String Band.
They would try to play their new music for openings or intermission.
This was adamantly opposed by the Podanks.
I’ve been D-ro’s and Bonnie’s greatest fan since the git-go.
I still am.
It wasn’t a sure thing.
It wasn’t easy.
But there came an evening when Bonnie took D-roto the family garden.
And the song ‘Feathers Rise’ happened.
My lover lays me down inside the garden soil.We rest our heads upon the breast of worlds’ unknown.We stare into the skies,then watch them come alive. We stare into our eyes,never turn our heads.My lover lays me downbeside the bed so soft. We stare into the wallsand watch them disappear.Into the ceilings tall, til they’re no longer here. We gaze into the stars, bodies on the ground. Our minds and hearts [still leave], Become part of the skies. Now we can go and live forever. And if we die today at least we’ll know the secret.
Elephant Revival began when Bonnie and D-ro became lovers.
Elephant Revival began in early November to early December of 2003.
During this time Michael (Bonnie’s Dad) was mostly not home.He was with his significant other -Sue,a biology professor atThe University of Arkansasin Fayetteville
Bonnie and Annie (Bonnie’s older sister) and Elias, Annies, 1 year-old child, were mostly in charge of the household.
Annie availed herself of the abundance of babysitters.
Annie would go out in the evening. She brought the party home. And it lasted all night.
When I traveled in a car I traveled with my expresso coffee machine.
I made some headway overcoming ‘the quah’s’ suspicion, hostility, by making expresso for everyone, the early afternoon after the party when people began to awake.
‘The quah’ early on recognized D-ro’s talent. The attraction that brought D-ro there. No one had any idea why my broke-ass ass was there.
Neither did I.
I was called a Yankee.
I vehemently protested.
‘Fuck the Yankees,’ I said. I’m with the Red Soxs.
I had never engaged the world this way,with no good plan for material survival.
I never had to prevail on people like this.
These memories are some of the worse I hold.
I don’t know why I had been called by the universe to be present for this beginning.
I hadn’t axed for it.
I only know, I was.
Back in Mystic, Connecticut, D-ro y yo discussed Selassie, and Gnosticism.
We discussed the ‘Gospel of Thomas’. We discussed the Nag Hammadi discoveries.
I had come to see that the kingdom of heaven covered this world, if only you have eyes to see.
At the same time, I saw the world as a prisonand the demi-urge was the warden.,
The missionof the Human is to dis-entangle from the material, to break outof the joint to take it to the woods.
I accepted, and did my best, at all employment.
Whenever I havefood and a roof I share them.
This was the beginning of my walking the tight rope, the razor’s edge.
I was in my late 40’s. I was no longer young. Yet,I lived like a young man, on the edge.
There was a new urgency about figuring it out.
Although Michael was mostlywith Sue in Fayetteville, I got to know him, some. We’ve lived very different lives. Yet we have things in common.
People also kind of though that I had things in common with his two brothers Uncle Mark,and Uncle Steve.
I become knownas the Jew-bastardPaine brother.
And I’m honored.
I admire Michael’s cooking. To this day when I’m cooking I always ax WWMPD? What Would Michael Paine Do?
One of his specialties was Cherokee Potato Soap. This was made from the federal food commodities distributed to the Cherokee.
Why can’t you get Cherokees to smile for a picture by saying cheese?
Because if you say cheese they’ll line up for Velveta and federal food commodities.
I love the stuff.
Michael seemed to have made a bunch of it.
I was hungry.
I had some.
I didn’t mean to. But I ate what had been set asidefor dinner.
Bonnie told mehow she felt about it.
I learned a lot about Oklahomain that moment. I learned a lot about hardship,which is often the only ship that comes in, in Oklahoma.
And that continues to be a memory I must hold.
I wasn’t completely broke.
D-ro y yo got some moneyentertaining at the missile base.
And to this day I am amazed,and grateful for the House of Paine’sgenerosity.
But there just wasn’tthe material resources to allow this to go onfor too long.
In the beginning Dango Rose and Bridget Law were there.
Dango had met Bonnie when he was with the Nederland, CO. band ‘High on the Hog’.
When he tried to court Bonnie, she introduced himto her sister,Annie.
We returned to Webb’s World of Fun later in November 2003.
‘Podunk’ and ‘High on the Hog’ both played.
D-ro y yomet Dango.
Annie and Dangostarted a thingthat lasted years.
Bonnie had met Bridgetat a music festival.
They knew they were destinedto make music together.
When things started to get strained in the ‘quah,
Bonnie began making a plan to join up with Bridget in Colorado.
By early Decemberit was obviouswe had overstayedour welcome.
On the full moon of Monday, December 8, 2003 James Townsend, Bonnie, D-ro, y yo, wrote and sung an ode to the full moon ‘The Full Moon Song’.
Annie and Sarah were also there, but they didn’t write a verse for the song.
This was the beginning of the band My Tea Kind, composed of James, Bonnie, and her sisters Sarah and Annie.
And everytime I was around I was invited on stage to sing my verse.
‘It’s the outcast light that guides another way, it’s the way that veers from the sunlight.
The full moon’s light shows another way, it’s the night travelers’ path that shines –
in the moonlight.’
Shortly after the full moon we had to go.
We left the ‘quah at night, in the middle of a blizzard.
My distributor cap failed.
I could go no faster than maybe 20 miles per hour if I was going downhill.
I had to part with D-ro and Bonnie.
It took me about eight hours,driving on the shoulder of I-70 to get back to the missile base.
D-ro and Bonnie made it to Colorado.
They hung out with Bridget.
Bridget took them to Red Rock.
D-ro again saw destiny. He knew what was to come. He got on stage, and played air guitar to the empty stadium.
Ed gave me some employment at the missile base.
There’s been many times that Ed gave me employment, kept me on the right side of the razor’s edge.
And for this I’m thankful – Thank ya, Ed – Love ya bruddah.
And yet, as Christmas approached, I had to go.
Ed got me a new distributor cap.
I drove into an unrelenting blizzard.
My gas filter failed, got clogged.
I sought the sanctuary of Christmas,
I didn’t get any.
The bird has its nest. The fox has his den. Any yet – the son of man has no place to lay his head.
I broke down by this huge meth lab in Nevada.
I was greeted by a dozen meth heads with a truly impressive arsenal of fire-arms.
I almost got shot into small pieces.
It took some doing. But they came to believe I was just a bum, not a cop, not a competitor in the meth business.
And then a cop came from the nearest town. And I was able to get my car going – for a little while. And I was escorted to the police station.
I spent Christmas night, 2003 in a motel near the cop shop, and it was on the cop’s tab.
I made it to California.
I was able to get some sanctuary with my friends – Jack Murray, Bob Woolley, Kathleen Grasso-Anderson, Charlie Long.
I was being looked at in a different way.
The son of the Hopi Elder believed that because I wrote for the New York Times I would be able to give him a million dollars.
I almost busted a gut laughing.
Spent a lot of time at a remote campsiteat Los Padres National Forestnear Ojai,in late January,and February 2004.
In January 2004 a man was killedand a womanwas seriously injured in cougar attacks in Southern California.
While I was at the remote campsite I always felt that someone was staring at me.
I climbed the cliffs where it felt I was being observe