Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Road from Ruin: Part VI


Jaye Beldo

Aura Soma Lava

My hot springs host missed out on some truculent witticisms I penned while soaking. They were intended to supplement  the prospective project she wanted me to work on and which I snidely titled : Book of the Elixir.  Yet, if I had stayed any longer to share my cornucopia of elixir insights with her,  I'd have been rendered neo-natal, like the guy she endowed with her brand new Mini-Humvee, a bit of Mormon nepotism from what I could read of the situation. Somethng Mitt Romney would approve of no doubt, in an expectant kind of way.  I wouldn't even put it past her to flaunt her stagecraft philanthropy by supplying a virgin polygamist with a dozen blow up dolls and a chapel to marry  them in, air cushion wives adorned in day-glo spandex prairie dresses and bonnets.

While cooling off from the 111 degree water, I continued to pray the blood of Jesus over the labyrinth near the river, one once travailed by lesbian Buddhists, envisioning the terra cotta gargoyles in the center smashing to shards, later to be plucked up in a distant epoch by forlorn archaeologists. 

The vision I had of the cellulite donut encircling Evita's waist instantly disappearing in the alchemical springs, is something else I withheld, after she gave me her tough love marching orders. Not that I'm a selfish visionary, I just thought it might offend her, considering she once claimed she was a poster girl for some holistic diet program she was on, but permanently stuck in the 'before' photo from what I could gather.

Also penned in my journal was a lofty epitaph, replete with directions to all the booze bottles hidden throughout her property, like the very terma the Tibetan's looked for in unexplored Himalayan mountain caves, beckoning to be discovered by wannabe lamas. It would have been futile however, the blue ruin secret known by all throughout the savage gossip town.  

"You like misery." She stated at the restaurant as a part of her damage control and her declarative statement still echoes resoundly in my cranium nearly two weeks later.

"Is that why I'm sitting here with you?"  I should have responded but I hesitated too long. She was already grilling me as to what spiritual experiences I had while in the hot springs, then told me that said experiences were sufficient enough to cover my gas, food and lodging costs en route to her resort.

Now, here in the desert expanse of Arizona,  I can more adequately reflect on the eviction. Chalk the Flower Child harridan up as another human potential movement casualty? A cemetery en par with Arlington awaits at Esalen for such ilk.  I should have patronized more suavely, divining all the wrinkles in her desert weathered visage, interpreting them as some kind of sign of a golden age emergence her resort customers could bask in, even after she jacked up the room and massage rates. Or perhaps some varicose prophecy could have poured from my lips that would have turned the tables to my favor and I'd be the one scooting around in a Mini-Humvee, with a dozen inflatable wives to boot.

(C)2012-Jaye Beldo

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Road from Ruin: Part V

Jaye Beldo

We heard the blast while sitting at the kitchen table. One of the kids emerged from the garage, clutching his head. The previous night I had warned he and his brother that the seals probably wouldn't hold but that did't stop them. The two young ladies sitting near the workbench constantly eyeing the duo as they sawed the PVC may have been the reason for them bumptiously venturing forth with their ballistic project.

"The older you get, the more you think about the consequences of your actions." I sage imparted to the younger brother when he showed me all the drunken driving dents in the car, proud like a tribal warrior is of his initiatory facial scars.

"That's what alchohol is for." He sneered and then ventured to brag about taking on a high school football player at a party and ending up beaten unconscious in a cacti ridden wash the previous fourth of July.  

"The ringing isn't stopping." The blast victim said, walking in circles, ears still cupped in his hands, one of his eyes swollen shut. His brother showed me the chillingly deep dent the pipe cap made in his car door. It had pneumatically richocheted several hundred feet across the street. 

A reluctant parent phone call to California to check up on insurance coverage as an ER visit seemed inevitable revealed that there was none for the imperiled lad.  My friend started doing energy work on him. Intermittant doses of homeopathic Arnica and Ledum Palustre seemed to calm him down even more and he was able to get off the massage table and walk around with more stability after she did some accu-pressure points.

Maybe it was all the Homeland Security amidst the wrought iron crucifixes and framed and quilted bible quotes adorning the stucco walls throughout the home that made the family photos dispersed throughout the palatial spread seem so patently sad and lacking.  There were even door monitors that registered the quota of openings and closings that the parents could check on their computers from their luxury digs four hours away.  One would assume that such monitoring constriction would be anomalous amidst the peaceful, expansive desert views of the Mojave mountains beyond the swimming pool out back here. Sadly,the infiltraton of domestic reconaissance apparently has become commonplace amongst the rich, a policing that has infiltrated into the intricate matrices of familly relationships in very insidious and undermining ways.  None of it however managed to hamper the full bore partying in the absent dad's man cave that weekend though, 80 proof debauchery censored via electrician's tape plastered over the camera lens according to the brothers who pleaded with us not to tell.

The blast victim, his sad silhoutte crowned by a shadow of palm fronds outside the sliding door,  blurted in subdued fashion:  "I doubt my mother even loves me." The spud gun memento mori having unmoored this confession deep from his heart somehow. One locked in for a very long time considering how pained, remote and removed his words sounded to us prior to him leaving for home later that day.

(C)2012-Jaye Beldo

The Road from Ruin: Part IV


Jaye Beldo

Aura Soma Lava

Greetings Friends,

Spending a night in an RV with a Mormon is a rather unique experience, esp. in the duplicity department. The amiability was most welcome however considering that I had been ejected from a cottage  next to a hot springs by my host who avoided me for three days after my arrival , until I ran into her at the restaurant across the street. "You can't stay here." She bomb dropped me at the table, her dragonfly brouche surrounded by dribble stains she made a futile attempt to brush away, when she noticed me checking them out.  "I'll put you up in the bookstore. You can sleep on the floor. Go chat with customers, socialize." She delivered her finishing punch. Trying to process what she just said, I waited and remained silent. "Go to Pocotello for the day-go watch a movie." She then suggested as an alternative.

Sitting with my makeshift friend in the 'living room' in a comfortable swivel chair, I did my best to relax. After telling him what had happened, he conveyed to me some rather revealing news: "He was walking down some stairs carrying a tea cup when his camera strap snagged on something. Couldn't get his hands in front of him to break the fall. Hit his head and died." It then dawned on me that he was referring to my host's husband. Apparently the fateful plunge took place only a month prior.

We watched some Polanski movie about a ghost wrtier on his high def flat screen t.v. mounted above the driver and passenger seats. I managed to sleep on the fold out bed fairly well,thinking that Moroni was going to hand deliver me some angelic communiques indelibly etched into Tupperware bowls as I fell asleep. During the evening visit, my RV emcee suggested I go to Temple Square in Salt Lake City and check out the Mormon Tabernacle Choir who then chorused in my head, unbeknownst to him, a sublimely polyphonic red flag about the invite.

The next morning, at the same restaurant,  I confronted my host. "When did you change your mind about me coming here?"

"Oh...about the second day of your driving. I didn't think you had a phone so I didn't try calling."

Originally, she had given me an assignment to write about her hot springs from a 'Secret of the Golden Flower' perspective-i.e. Taoist alchemy. So as I was soaking in the splendid springs, I conjured up all sorts of oriental niceties about aquatic hexagrams one could contemplate in the ripples of the springs amongst other tidbits of rarefied spiritual bullshit that even Lao Tzu would fall for.  But she changed her mind about that project and said she was no longer interested. Perhaps my proprietarian bumpkin host was still offended by what I said to one of her employees about the eviction stunt she pulled on me.

Prior to me leaving Minnesota, she was going to let me stay downstairs at her house and help her get the place ready to put on the market.  Instead she replaced this invite with telling me my job would be to write about the springs, mystically speaking. When I reminded her of this while leaving the restaurant, she said rather shrilly, "I could never have you live upstairs."  But I tactfully refrained from telling her that what I was seeing at the moment, walking directlly behind her, that that would never be possible, even in one of my most steatopygously mashochistic moments.

 She then launched into a peculiar bit of damage control to cover her fuck up. Shifting into crone wisdom phase, she told me that I needed to face reality, suggested I get my hair cut and work at McDonalds. She handed me a meagre hundred dollars to cover my gas costs and suggested I go to St. George Utah to start a new life.  I made her put me up in one of her motel rooms and left the next day, braving it through ice and snow until I hit the desert burg that evening. 

Camping in Snow Canyon helped me unwind a bit from my host's dysfunctional little circus in southern Idaho. A doe eyed park ranger showed me some Anasazi petroglyphs behind my site and I found a piece of pottery shard and could sense the utter oneness in which the potter had with the pot while making it. She seemed to be receptive to my experience and watched me hide the find under some sand. Hiking in the canyons beyond the resort town was the bit of ambulatory therapy I needed, considering.

Part V:

(C)2012-Jaye Beldo

The Road from Ruin: Part III


Jaye Beldo

Epochal, insane driving weather en route across the northern plains and range country last week. Trucks and buses pulled off a wind torn freeway in Montana. Orange, looming dust clouds closed I-15 down north of Idaho Falls, thus detouring us to side roads, both desolate and eerily far removed from the main current. I expected to crash into the Four Horsemen Stables, exploding hay bales with my Malibu as a kind of end time fanfare.   SUVs passed me going 80 mph on ice/snow packed roads while status updating their assumed immortality to their Facebook friends. The snowless mountains groaned, while I white knuckled it over the passes en route, perhaps agonizing that they'll be inundated  and forgotten until another geologic recycling brings them to light again and the locals, fretting over the loss of tourist dollars can thus rejoice.

People wear heartbreak on their sleeves here in Idaho, hoping it will somehow pass off as mere weathering from the elements to the tourists and nothing more. This is how people back home would appear sans the Minnesota nice, thus the telling visages are most welcome, even if they cause the casual outsider to think that there is something nuclear at the core of the sadness and the peculiar and pervasive amnesia found here.

Long haired guy at a spa  in Lava Hot Springs: saw him in back earlier in the day after I tried entering the coffee shop section, but door was locked w/ sign in window: Massage in session until 11:30.

“Understaffed.” I grumbled, ambling back to my car over icy asphalt, sight unseen I had hoped. Saw him again at night, but in front this time, a kind of spiritual shiftiness about him as he leaned on a doorway, back drop enhanced by the glowing orange Ganesh tapestry in the store window. It was as if he had some other business in mind and couldn’t help looking suspect, fists jammed tight in dungaree pockets, scanning the street like he did the alley earlier, perhaps in search of better camouflage or a tactful way out. 

As I drove on by, the business card his girlfriend gave me two years prior, glazed over with his own sprawled artwork, came to mind. With the spa partner in absentia , she crossed the embossed e-mail address out and penned hers on the back, prior to handing it to me, a gesture I more fully appreciate now, having better grasped the import of the situation at hand and most thankful I never pursued the lead.

 The couple at the Thai restaurant up the street donned their smugness so nonchalantly, self consciousness giving hint to an impalpable insecurity, one the woman tried covering with her pink, mouse eared ski hat, a contrivance designed to alienate the uninitiated. The bearded hubby guy in black North Face duds sneered at me peripherally, leaned over the table and shared some Android secret with his wife,to further insure their distance from me. Bragging about their California travel itinerary to a weary looking kid waiter, they laughed in unison over the greasy spring rolls, unaware of the self parodying pun they were making, mere icing on the cake of their nuptial conceit.

I'll post some more later. For now, back to soaking in the hot springs and unwinding from the world if at all possible :-).


Jaye Beldo

Part IV:

(C)2012-Jaye Beldo

The Road from Ruin: Part II


Jaye Beldo

The SUV pulled into the driveway on eviction day as I sat in the garage on a plastic pail, the only object left after a year and half of emptying out the house. In tears, I shook the hand of the Realtor and took her inside for the inspection.

“I’m doing fifty to sixty of these a year now.” She tried to assuage me, forgetting to take the mandatory pictures as I led her from room to room.

After the thumbs up, she got back in her SUV and phoned the lawyers in St. Paul and then told me the promised ‘re-location’ fee was to be out in the mail that very day. After she left, I walked around back and said goodbye to the squirrels, Blue jays and crows, realizing that no 11th hour rescue occurred whatsoever with this one. None.

The house transformed into an equity amulet, a vacant caricature that took on an even more deserted hue as I drove away. Having nowhere to go, I headed for the state park to book a couple of nights for winter camping. The park ranger felt sorry for me and offered me free firewood, so I was able to stay sufficiently warm and managed to set up camp and reflect on what had happened without getting frostbitten.

Staring into the flames and listening to the ice crack on the lake, I recalled what I had failed to tell the Realtor, what really led up to the loss of the house in the first place. It was a different kind of default, one she would not remotely understand, even with her mortgage calculator. It involved me believing the lie that evil is an illusion, something within ourselves that we have to work through by doing good karma. If I would have known the truth of the matter I wouldn’t have set myself up for such a fall. Space does not allow me to go into the details, but read between the lies of the pregnant implication above if you can.

Laying under several blankets in my tent on a full moon night accented by yipping coyotes to the west, I contemplated the contrary truth of the matter: that evil is real and objective and outside of ourselves and what it took for me to come to accept it. It nearly cost me everything. It nearly cost me my soul.

The next night, I received an unexpected confirmation, quite timely indeed, as I was truly losing faith. As I sat on my pail by the fire,  I heard a disembodied  voice tell me to put a gold plated cross I had bought at Hurley's Religious supply store in Fargo directly upon the coals. Without hesitation, I did so. Glowing red hot, it refused to melt, no matter how much I blew on the coals and stoked the fire with kindling. The next day it was still intact, chain and all, dangling from a log defiantly. As I put the charred evidence in my palm, the same voice informed me, "You survived a trial by fire." 

My survival pride was kept in check however in an icy kind of way. On Monday morning, my car wouldn't turn over. I had cheated and used the heated seats to warm up a few times, thus draining the battery. Flipping through contacts on my I-Phone, I tapped on one. After an hour of waiting, Beth, my one lunged Indian friend came with her dog. Chewing me out as she hobbled to get her jumper cables out of the trunk, she managed to get the Malibu to start.  We made quite a pair in the empty park that morning fighting with one another, while her pooch cavorted in the snow. She asked me if I needed money after refusing my offer of buying her a year pass to Minnesota State parks. Then she started to cry and asked me if I really did have coyotes trained to bury me after I did myself in with a .380 Taurus west of Sunset Lake. I apologized and told her I was a writer and never knew how my audience would respond to something I've stated. She even called me afterward to tell me how hurt she was when I said the thing about the coyotes.  I was quite touched,since no one else seemed to care.

So my friends, as I buy time here for a sufficiently unifying apostrophe to end this wayward confession, a bit discombobulated because of my utter physical exhaustion, I'm compelled to share the following from Philippians 2:12:

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

And don't buy into the lie. Please.

The Road from Ruin


Jaye Beldo

On this New Year’s Eve, I reflect on a year that surely was most challenging for many. For me the apocalypse happened in its entirety. Not in the Four Horsemen kind of way as many have come to expect, but rather a silent and invisible neutron bomb has globally detonated, killing people’s souls en masse while preserving their bodies intact like real estate property to be occupied in the future by God knows what. 

Most evident for me of the success of this devastating report was when I sat across from my pudgy, balding insurance agent as he scrutinized changes in my car policy.  Squinting at a computer screen, he asked about my family. I responded to the obviously wooden inquiry and told him how tough it was burying my mother the previous winter. Dead silence. He then turned to face me and asked about the status of the house. I told him that it had sold but refrained from filling him in on how a warm and amiable guy named Freddie Mac had bought it sight unseen. I guess his hopes of selling me another policy were dashed, although he didn’t show it when he handed me a complimentary 2012 calendar on my way out.

 The revelry of my fair weather friend Christmas was deafening. During one particularly dismal day, an Anishanabe woman with one lung arrived at my door with her 120 lb. dog named Taz, a cross between a Pit Bull and a Great Dane from what I could gather of its uniquely overbearing pedigree.  We sat together in the cold, empty house by the cracked fireplace, on folding chairs, chewing on some pizza. With the two inch wide scar that arced over her right shoulder visible, she confided to me that her doctors claimed all her medical records had somehow vanished when she asked about them.  She told me how a group of 'student' doctors were in front of her when her gown was ripped off in some basement in a hospital in Anoka and pictures taken. Afraid of another bout of steroid psychosis and a trip to the psych ward, she grew nervous.  

She then started crying when I asked her if there was anyone sober in the Pine Marten clan she was a part of to give her support.

My friend Beth Sweere. Died on 1-8-14
RIP you dear and beautiful soul. I love you so much.

“I just want to have a happy Christmas.” She sobbed, crossing her arms to prevent me from hugging her and looking away. I guess my empathy in response to her unfathomable plight was about as contrived as that of the three stooges found in the Book of Job who offer Job such bad advice, primarily because of the shallowness of their hearts. 

I tried to rectify things by giving her pooch some Rib Eye steak, but I haven’t seen my Indian friend with the unbelievably thick, beautiful hair since then, nor has she returned my calls. Maybe the ambulance siren I heard the other day was for her. Maybe it was DOA for real this time. Perhaps I should have burned the Frankincense she so dearly wanted to smell and remained silent during the visit like indigenous people usually do when together. After she left I was quite sadden but  re-read the bible passage on the Christmas card she had bothered to  give me:

I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in the darkness.
John 12:46

Why I couldn't fully appreciate my friend's light that day, I'll never know. Maybe my heart too has gone dead, seared by the neutron bomb.

And now on the cusp of 2012,  we are left with nothing but ruin and loss and total disillusionment. At least for me anyway. Matthew 24:12 comes to mind: 

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold

Yet, we should respond to such wickedness with love and not acclimate to it by shutting down-especially  to each other.  That surely is the most disheartening thing of all considering just how pervasive this kind of heart closure has become and the profound division it has caused.

Please do what you can for others less fortunate than yourselves in the New Year-in a very down to earth and tangible way. Lose the  perennial idealism you keep stored up in the stars.  Forget about your Facebook 'friends'. And most of all, chuck all of your salvational assumptions in regards to the 2012 hype for there will be no delivering transformation whatsoever.  No collapse of the crypto-fascist corporate system whatsoever.  

If any transformation is to take place, it will come from whatever humaneness, empathy and compassion we have left within ourselves as individuals and not something 'activated' by some global meditation during the next winter solstice. Most of all, during these perilous times, be wise as serpents and harmless as the beautiful Mourning dove I saw  this afternoon during a very rare winter encounter, which fluttered away into the snowy, bright sky as a reminder of good things to come :).