Friday, November 16, 2012

Sore in the Morning

When I arrived in Dingle after more than an hour crammed into a vastly over-packed jeepney, I felt like I was shat out into a toilet already flushing, the crowds bustling lazily around the plaza and central market for the Barangay festival. Dingle is not pronounced "deen-guhl", it's "deen-gleh", but the town has more htan enough quirky-ness and cheese going on to be pronounced "deen-guhl". The play ground at the plaza was goofy. The random locations and styles of different signs, arches, walls, and buildings made me feel like I was in Steven Spielberg's version of a Dr. Seuss book. I know... weird. The parade floats were still on display, all of them brilliant dioramas of nature or local landmarks such as the dam. The floats were made from entirely local plant materials and foods, except things like welded metals or real concrete for the dam. These things were seriously lifelike versions of their full-scale depictions.

My short walk around the plaza and palengke (market) left me somewhat other-worldly and I was ready to move on to a more natural environment. I found the nest for tricycles anxious to fly to not-so-distant locations, tied Zeal securely on the roof, wore Josephine on my back, and watched a game of pool waiting for the tricycle to fill up so I could leave. After one lady and her bag of market goodies filled up the front seat, a guy I knew wasn't the driver of this particular tricycle started to peel away around the corner with Zeal on the roof. Rather than risk losing EVERYTHING I OWN, I embarrassingly ditched the pool house to give chase and told the driver, "I don't know where you going with my pack, but I go where she goes." Turns out the lady just needed to pick up a case of Coke in glass 1L bottles two blocks away. Then we went back and resumed the wait for departure. Twenty minutes later, three more passengers joined Coke lady and me and we took off. The REAL driver was kind and considerate, but he still had to drop me only at the turn off to the road to the park.

A half-kilometer walk later and I arrive at the Visitor's Center. There are a half-dozen random dogs barking their heads off but no one comes to hush them. The light is on, but there's no one anywhere on the property. It is Halloween night after all. One of the dogs is a young puppy that stops its half-ferocious bark midway through to lick you to death instead. The nicest buildings are these two half-destroyed nipa huts and it's clear that you're expected to pay for them. So, I set up my new hammock instead. I went through several different tying possibilities only to realize that I need less stretchy (dynamic) rope. Settled on a tensionless anchor for a traverse with the hammock ring acting as the carabiner tied to the tail ends of the rope by a bowline knot. I was just finishing at sundown when a motor comes up the driveway. It's the caretaker of the property, an old guy with poor English. I do my best to make my presence known without scaring him but I think he still lost four shades of skin town when I said hello. I had to walk him to my hammock up the hill to prove I didn't want to stay in the nipa huts even he admitted needed repair. Then he showed me into the main office and gave a basic introduction to the park. I sat on the bench and asked if I could stay while he enjoyed the Halloween celebrations.

It was there, with large rats skittering between my legs once and a while that I wrote the following song in about 3 hours. I was inspired to write "Sore in the Morning" after that terribly difficult day scrambling in the jungle around the Twin Lakes on Negros Island. I had been adding different characters I met or remembered, and what they do in life that makes them sore for their efforts. Then I actually turned them into something. True to folk music, there are 16 stanzas for 16 people, with a goofy-sounding chorus to break up the potential for monotony. It's a medium-tempo blues waltz. Only two of the people are me. Can you pick them out?

Two months' work on the harvest
One more to cut wood for winter in Maine
Spring thawed the hammer, the shovel and the plow
My poor back's gonna be sore in the morning

I woke up at 5 to start work before sunrise
Makin' three bucks a day sewing rich ladies' jeans
Last year I was twelve, I played by myself
Now my neck will be sore in the morning

Day 9, hour 12 selling remedies and ruses
Giving drugs left and right, shooting X-Rays into bruises
Should've stayed in New Orleans, sucking back bile
This smile's gonna be sore in the morning

What are you gonna be sore for?
Each day you wake up and choose.
If fulfillment's your goal ask your soul for it.
When you're gone from this world, what's your story?

Stress makes you rough and the tips aren't enough
To make dancing for these pigs feel taste less sour
I'll stand behind this bar for bottomless hours
Callous feet gonna be sore in the morning

Nursing addictions worth more than my life
I cherish the chaos I've found here
On the cusp of the void, my expression is stoic
Throat will be sore in the morning

I carried 60 lbs up the face of a mountain
At the summit my worries fell off
Priorities irrevocably shifted
But my shoulders will feel sore in the morning

Nose in the books, and eyes on the screen
Who knows what time it is now?
Just two hours to go to tickle teacher's ego
My mind will be sore in the morning

What are you gonna be sore for?
Each day you wake up and you choose.
Your life's in your hands and nobody else's
Existence is risk, haven't you felt it?

Third night in a row without sleep
Hauling Cavendish bananas de El Salvador
My truck is my life, it knows me better than my wife
My eyes will be sore in the morning

Confused soldier cowering in a bunker
Bombs finding everything but you
You slaughtered and terrorized for someone else's war
Ears and conscience feel sore in the morning

Burnt to a crisp by a day in the sun
"Smash the state, greed breeds hate" echoes in my ears
So I drown it out with heavy metal screams
And my voice will be sore in the morning

In one day I cleared 3 mountain passes
Chasing time on this bicycle, burning rubber of the past
Push myself to the limit, survive to be wiser
My thighs are gonna be sore in the morning

What are you gonna be sore fore?
Each day you wake up and choose.
Learn to listen, don't muzzle those instincts of yours.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes

Scrambled around in the jungle
Searching for the soul that was lost
Spiders, snakes, vines, ants, skeeters and thorns
Everything will be sore in the morning

Torn between love and strict family values
How could God force this daughter to choose?
I left the woman of my dreams for a boy with no seams
My heart will feel sore in the morning

Sitting in a chair on a porch in Sinclair
Sleeping off a typical breakfast
Of bacon, coffee, biscuits and gravy, eggs, corned beef, pork chops, and a side of hash browns.... washed down with three ice cold beers
My colon's gonna feel sore in the morning

I sat lakeside sculpting tunes on guitar
Till ghost-white shimmers turned orange
Till wolf howls gave way to birds trumpeting the day
My fingers feel sore this morning

What are you gonna be sore for?
Each day you wake up and choose.
Death could be just around the corner.
But this morning you woke up so choose what you want to be sore for.

I wrote this song and then I went to bed and slept soundly until morning. I woke up and the puppy that was first to greet me when I arrived was sleeping right underneath me. That puppy stuck with me from the moment it smelled me until the next day and I was halfway back down the road from which I had come.

1 comment:

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