Ah, my friends, it is good to be home. After a week in southern Californika (which at times seemed like a colony on a far distant planet) in a strange granola world, New Orleans seems like a Mecca for all things normal. Now, I know that many of you out there are thinking — New Orleans? Normal? But it is true. Compared to the rudeness, overcrowding, one mall per ten citizens, ostentatious civilization that is SoCal, New Orleans, with its dirty broken streets, its slow and greasy pace, its propensity for overindulgence (i.e., Mardi Gras, Sugar Bowl, Jazzfest, etc.), its “laissez faire” and “city that care forgot, because it is a particular brand of apathy”, New Orleans is a MUCH saner place than California. Believe it, or not. There is a world that I inhabited when I lived that strange decade in California that is so far removed from the reality of my life, so different from the path that I have traveled, so alien to what I know to be a healthy, vibrant way of life.

It settled like a tempting, velvet glove –
the dry desert air that filled every space
and sucked away my energy and love,
leaving me gasping and running in place.

There was no room to freely stretch my wings,
nor space in which to find the center’s void;
For life was crammed with petty, useless things –
the lack of which will make you paranoid.

Visiting and acting well adjusted
was the hardest role I’ve ever performed;
there was no script to read or to follow.

It seemed like pure luck not to get busted
as the thought police gathered strength and swarmed;
Full-time, that life would be hard to swallow.

05 JAN 2003

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