Monday, August 11, 2008

Dark in New Orleans

Po-boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Musings Of A Hope Fiend
My Foolish Heart
“There’s a line between love and fascination, that’s hard to see on an evening such as this…”
No one sings that line better than Rebecca Parris and no one line reflects more the feeling that I have for my home here in New Orleans.
Those of us that are in love with New Orleans live here; and those that are merely fascinated, pass through. I find it as simple as that, with few exceptions. I figure that those puppets, paupers, pirates and poets, pawns and Kingfish that stay here basically fall into two general categories: those that did not know that growing up would be like this; and, us lucky ones that found out, that in New Orleans, we really never have to grow up. Isn’t that special?
But wait, there’s less. Sometimes fascination turns into love, and that’s the feeling that made us implants, supplants, replants and all of the other plants look around at cooler climes and embrace, without question, the eccentric lifestyles that make (muggy) New Orleans and New Orleaneans matchless: the heat, the humidity, the streets, the stupidity.
No month will suit me more than February to focus on the love affair that I have with La Belle Orleans…because… duh?… Valentines Day!
Of course you’ve already figured out that I live in the French Quarter, you know, the island in the middle of the mayhem? The Quarter, as well the Tchoupitoulas / Saint Charles corridor (the sliver by the river) still pretty much define New Orleans. The rest is being resurrected like a paint by number cityscape. It would take a lot to budge me from here until my time comes. I realize that we all have our thresholds where we say either ‘enough is enough’ or ‘any place is better than this one’, it happens. I have developed a strong sense of patience when it comes to dealing with ‘works in progress’ as the city is turning out to be. I’ll go a step further and say that progress is going to turn out to be something that we’re really going to have to work at, especially if we want to get out of being stuck on stuck.
I’m in the habit of telling folks that the only thing worse than living in New Orleans would be living anywhere else, and I’m not alone in that outlook. Watching this snail’s pace recovery from afar would be heartbreaking. Watching from here is no piece of cake either. But, I love my home and I put on my game face and dress in optimism every day (usually by the end of the day I’m ready to set my hair on fire and rip the lungs out of the next person that says “so the Quarter’s doing pretty well, huh?”).
I know what you’re going to say: ”Phil, what about Clancy Dubos deciding to rate our city’s recovery (in print, in the Gambit!) on a ‘Suck Index’? Not to mention the reports that I received that 32% of the population living here was packing their bags and are getting ready to boogie like a turkey through the corn and the rest are blindly vowing to stay until they’re ‘murdered, drown or get sold back to France’!
Well, finding that, I have three options here:
1. I can suck it up and admit that “home it where I hang my head” OR…
2. I can go directly to The Isle of Denial and bask in the warm glow of ignorant bliss OR…
3. I can and will believe that none of this is real.
Here’s how I will do just that: you know those movies with the Back To The Future—It’s A Wonderful Life—What If Hitler Had Won The War—Over The Rainbow/middle Earth themes? Well, I’ve decided that I’m from another dimension. How do I rationalize this? Physics, more precisely…String Physics. Yes, far beyond Relativity and able to leap Quantum with a single bound, The String Theory (yet unproven OR disproved) says that we live in multiple dimensions. That’s okay with me, only how did I get stuck in this one?
I really feel like the dimension that I’d be most comfortable with is the one with peace, prosperity, cleanliness and an amount of non-lethal danger (like falling in love/lust has). The one where we have the background music of our lives playing all the time, everybody knows all the words to all the songs and that SOB did not get re-elected! The “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way” dimension, you know? The dimension where we’re all young, in shape and still have our turntables and rotary phones with booths.
So now when I see something weirder than dirt going down, and here that’s a daily occurrence, I take it very seriously. I take it very seriously, react accordingly and then thank my stars that that stuff doesn’t happen where I come from. Where WE come from.
Haven’t you noticed how dark it is here? Even in the sunlight it never is crystal clear…here. Yet we have gravitated to this place, to this time, with these people. Do you ever ask yourself: “what ever happened to all of those Dave Clark Five albums?” or “why did that person tell me the stupidest thing that I ever heard in my life, and why did I say that same thing about the last stupid thing that I heard?”
Kumi Maitreya once said that all of the people that perished when Atlantis sank will be reincarnated and come together in New Orleans for some strange reason that I’ve displaced in those lost gray cells of the sixties. I don’t know why I’m here. Maybe I’m here to love. OIA.
Love did not come easily or early in my life; but love came in the form of a happy childhood spent in New Orleans. It is a coincidence that I was in my late twenties/early thirties when that happened and another story altogether. I’ll leave you with this: “With tenderness have these come up out of the ground. Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quiet” Black Elk.
Happy loving Valentines Day

1 comment:

Electra Maitreya said...

You knew Kumi? I vaguely recall the name Philip LaMancuso from the 70s era, but I cannot place a face with the name. Did you have a temple name?