DECEMBER 18, 2011

So anyway the weather has been cold -- for SoCal folks -- with frost in the mornings, chill fog and gelid, slow light during the short days. This week, Wiccans will celebrate the Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year. Old Gaia, sitting there on the porch of the World wrapped in a Chief Joseph blanket while sitting in her ancient rocking chair will turn her ravined face of mountains and deserts to the furthest shadow from the sun as she dozes during her eternal set.

Only after the 21st will she ever so slowly turn her face back to enjoy the warmth of her sun, Apollo, as he courses in his flaming chariot across the heavens.

The annual Horror Day period is a long stretch of misery

This Tuesday, the Festival of Lights coincides fortuitously with that goyishe holiday known as Xmas, which is always a nice thing when it happens. The annual Horror Day period is a long stretch of misery only broken by violent and troubled sections of destructive savagery, chiefly involving family and shattered expectations with nobody getting what they really wanted and all one's free time steamed away in sweaty dinner preparations for relations who really hate you and your politics, while the kids continually misbehave and wind up equally disappointed with broken toys that only served to bolster China's lock on our lives and livelihoods. Then there is the execrable weather and the miserable obligatory travel with all the unpleasantness in this post 9/11 world that entails.

T'was ever thus.

Who the hell ever thought that Xmas was some kind of pleasant effing reverie of times past -- which never existed -- and some kind of relaxing bowl of delight? That person was an idiot or a Jimmy Stewart in a Hollywood fantasy.

No, we get a brief, all too brief, break from working for the Boss to wind up exhausted and ennervated, spreadeagled upon the carpet among the tatters of paper wrappings, ribbons and flammable pine needles that will endure an hour's worth of vacuuming to remove after a frenzy of family interactions and mall rampages involving pepper-spray and lunatic shoving idiots. Then there is the subsequent several months of working to pay off the credit card damages.

O god, why go through this?

In Marlene and Andre's household, the group all rests quietly after the meal that was prepared courtesy of the Food Bank largesse. No one could make the Tuesday turkey giveaway before Thanksgiving where some 600 folks stood in line for several hours, so that day turned out to be rather thin as far as provisions went. People had to satisfy themselves with lentil soup except for those who went over to St. Anthony's or Christchurch for the mass feeding there with all of its religiousity penalties.

Fortunately, a few extra birds were left over, which allowed the humble household to enjoy a fine turkey feast after all. Because of the cold, all the folks who slept on the beach and other outdoor places had packed into the one bedroom cottage that was home to fifteen souls seeking respite from the obscene rents charged by avaricious landlords on the Island.

Mancini had rigged blinking LED lights around the window and the stolen douglas fir sitting in its washtub basin also was drapped with the household's colorful version of decorations, which consisted of foil-wrapped condoms, hand-made Natividad papel, paper-clip glass ocean-drift, and found objects of all kinds for this was an humble poor household of Californians of all kinds who did not find the motherlode, never inherited vast wealth of oilfields, never found the Big Bonanza, which really covers most folks in the Golden State when you think about it.

Absent that evening was Andre who at that moment cooled his heels in the City jail.

As it turned out, Andre had been stopped on Park Street for "walking suspicious," meaning Officer Popinjay imagined in his zeal of missing participation in the "Avoid the 21" that he could still participate on the street by means of vigorous enforcement.

Officer Popinjay, it should be mentioned, was of such a condition that he could never sit upon his hands and just relax, but needs be jumping up and leaping into the fray, whether such a fray existed or not. Gifted with a virtual day off the man lept into action issuing citations and arrests right and left.

Which may explain why the man had not risen in rank over the course of twenty-five years of service. Perhaps arresting the Mayor for jaywalking started his career on a bad leg.

In any case, Andre ran afoul of Officer Popinjay and responded pretty much according to his American democratic nature by saying "eff you" at every opportunity to authority. Which did not work out to Andre's benefit in this case.

"So I see you are walking like this. . . ".

"Eff you!"

"O I do not like the manner of your talk young man!"

"Eff you!"

"Now I will give you one more chance to . . .".

"Eff you! And if you don't like it, eff you some more!"

Power is power. . . that is the way of the world.

The end result found Andre in the tank under dubious charges, however, Power is power and he remained in the tank for the duration; that is the way of the world. Around the world, whether dictatorship or Banana Republic, communist or republic, police remain the same all over. You know the drill. This thing democracy is a fine idea, and would be nice if ever somebody decided to institute such a thing. Now, apparently, is not the time. Some of you know this to be true.

Well, the end result is that Marlene worried herself sick while Andre remained in the tank, which apparentl is now in post 9/11 America a place they can keep you forever now that niceties like habeaus corpus and such have been done away with for the moment so Marlene had good reason to be worried while Andre continued to spout things like "Eff all effed-up Ameri-caca, land of the unfree and effed up!" while in jail.

The FBI and TSA had been called in. They wanted to know about any Islamic influences. Things did not look good for Xmas and Marlene was worried.

America had become a wierd place in this century

Now it had come down to the darkest nights of the year, while the earth was still spinning towards its nadir of shadow. All the household residents sat and lay about there with their plates, feeling fully sated after a good meal, but Marlene paced anxiously back and forth, unable to settle down. America had become a wierd place in this century and her beloved was in trouble. The phone call had not helped.

"You bastard, what were you thinking or do you ever think at all!" Marlene screamed.

"Eff you," Andre said, predictably.

"So now you curse at me." Marlene said. "After all I have done for you."

She heard his weeping at the end of the line but chose to ignore it. Stupid ass.

Well it turned out, even with the jail conditions, to be an average holiday argument. That is the way things go in this time of year. It's a Tradition.

"Um," offered Mancini. "When is the last time you gave Andre a blow-job? Huh?"

Some suggestions are less than helpful.

Some suggestions are less than helpful. Especially when they point to embarrassing truths.

As the night advanced along its track set forth long ago on the round of the galactic Milky Way the various denizens of the Household turned in to their sleeping bags and the broad wheel of stars rotated to another position, a cloud of sparkles or a dark blanket with holes punched in it.

Marlene found herself sitting on the couch facing the stolen Xmas tree with its wild lights and tinfoil tinsel with Adam falling asleep in her lap.

"Don't" worry Marlene," little Adam said. "Andre be back soon enough. I been lost on the outside plenty time."

Out of the mouths of babes. Indeed, some say it was a babe born in this time who saved the world. So some say. Its not known if all who say do believe.

In any case the Festival of Light is at hand, and in the flicker of a lamp there is some small hope. Is not that what the decorated Xmas tree is all about? Or is it all just garish glitter and show, empty of meaning while some gunner waits on a mountain-top in Pakistan, encased by barbed wire and sandbags.

While the Madonna and Child sat in the house of the lost and the lonely, the tree blinked and glittered and did all what it was asked to do.

The only thing lacking was mercy.

The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the patient grasses of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive wended its way past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, with its bright headlamp shining bright as star piercing the darkness of our times as it headed off on its own holiday journey to parts unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.