There was a discussion going down, going around a table of old-timers in the gray yellow morning as usual, in the usual vouching and boasting on the fresh-painted porch of the Choctaw General Store. The wind swirled down the dusty main street, swirled southbound in circles as usual, rounding up dead grass and voices and noises of kids and wheels turning in circles.
Across the way, in the clay and the stones ‘round the base of the Black Cat Showplace, lay all the men made into messiahs out of alcohol just the night before. The raucous, starry night before, they were preaching things above their heads, amazing things they couldn’t have read or known in a lesser, sober state. Once spiritual lightning rods speaking highfalutin words, now lying in the shadows, just drunks, sleeping themselves back to stupid.
The wind swirled dust ‘round corners, ‘round corners of mouths and into eyes and around the feet of dogs in chase and passersby casting their time to waste. It swirled up and over and onto the porch, the fresh-painted Choctaw porch, and it wrapped itself ‘round the legs of the chairs that the old-timers tipped back as they spat and roared. They spat and roared disgust and accord, spat and roared over chess and cards, ‘bout whether it’s better burning off crop stubble or turning it under.
Burning or turning, that was the question, the question of old or new. And amidst this quandary didst a city man come, a city man passing through town. He come up the stone steps and onto the porch, the fresh-painted porch of the Choctaw store. The city man come with his brocade vest, his elaborate cravat and his dapper hat. And all of that would have been alright, had a glint off the gold of his great pocket watch not stabbed the eye of the poorest old farmer.
Say, Mister, come here and set a spell. Say, help yourself to this good-smellin’ coffee, the finest you’ll find around. Say, tell us where you been and where you’re going and which is better, burning or turning, in your opinion, and remember where you are when you answer. When you answer, remember you’re where the wind blows everyman’s dust and grass and voices and noises of kids and wheels turning in circles. This is everyman’s land and you stellar types are just our guests here, yes.
About then the sky frowned and grew gray all around. The wind picked up and slapped the shutters of that Choctaw store, slapped ‘em hard against the dead wood clapboards, as dead as the old timers, just a long gone whisper in the wind ‘round the paint-stripped porch rails; as dead as the dogs and the drunks and the city folk. All of them dead, phantoms on the wind, the same wind that rattles the beech tree leaves like snakes’ tails, startling me sideways to look; the same wind that cried Mary to Jimi, that still cries Mary to me.
General store photo found at http://www.riverjunction.com/store-gen2.jpg
The drunken messiah concept is uproarious, although I don’t think the author of Spurious, the author of “The Drunken Messiah” would put it so dully. I can, however, assure you that the concept is true, for just last night I was a Cabernet Sauvignon messiah, and I was kind and compassionate to everyone, and excited and concerned for everyone. I was love and kindness. I was selfless. ; )
The photo of the North American beech tree is mine, is one of the many I pass every day on my morning run. The same wind whispers different sounds through the different beech trees’ leaves—the rattlesnake, the rustling beast in the woods, the cheap Sears womens’ slip under the wrong fabric, and on and on—always surprising me.
Missalister’s “The same wind,” copyright 2009, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#147 – Phantoms & Shadows.” Click here for more on prompt #147 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.
And finally, for the Hendrix lovers among you, a lovely, clear, live performance video here, and the lyrics to go with, directly below.
“The Wind Cries Mary,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience
After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footsteps dressed in red
And the wind whispers mary
A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterdays life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries mary
The traffic lights, they turn, uh, blue tomorrow
And shine their emptiness down on my bed
The tiny island sags down stream
cause the life that lived is,
And the wind screams mary
Uh-will the wind ever remember
The names it has blow in the past?
And with this crutch, its old age, and its wisdom
It whispers no, this will be the last
And the wind cries mary