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The Storming Bohemian Punks The Muse: Covid Edition #34 – “Toto, I Don’t Think We’re In America Any More”

Written on 08-25-20.

This is the opposite of Oz. I feel like I’ve been lifted by the tornado and dropped in a new land. Not technicolor, though, but ash gray and a yellow sky, what there is of it.

I’ve a need to be uplifted. I need inspiration. I need to escape.  

I feel the weight of the world. On the TV the wicked witches and their minions rattle on about guns and rose gardens, riots, and how the government is protecting criminals from honest citizens and sending rioters to the streets. It is dystopia. I watch Lovecraft Country on HBO and think it’s a documentary. It makes as much sense as the news. Monsters from the outer circles. Swamp creatures.

No where to go, without a job and the markets peopled by zombies, I turn to art.

Painting random like these words I find myself riding in a pink blue night, trying perhaps to steal the moon. (I call it “Moon Shaman Riding The Night”).

It helps, but not enough.

“What have you expected?” asks my friend, the professor of philosophy. “Everybody is in denial. The fascists are rising.”

What to do? What to do?

I take some time to mourn the death of another friend. He was old. It wasn’t a surprise. Life goes on. Death goes on.

In an irrational time, I seek irrational solutions and grab a deck of Tarot cards, pull three at random. But first ring a bell, dust my aura with a feather, circumnavigate the room with a rattle. Look: I need all the help I can get. My seams are coming apart, you understand?

First up: “The World.” The last of the arcana. Completion and fulfillment. Ah, yes. But completion and fulfillment of what? The American nightmare. Better check the next card.

Second up: The Queen of Disks. She has a mature mastery of matter. Business and money are in her control. She has achieved security. I wonder: where does my security lie? What have I achieved? I am secure only in my passion and willingness to live through the changes. The only matter I own is my art. If that.

Okay, let me make a reading of these images: If The World represents a culmination, then something is coming to an end. And if something is coming to an end then something is beginning. I/we/America all moving through a liminal time. Something reaches its apotheosis and gives way. Step back, then, watch, be mature and earthy, hang on to what is sure: art, my friends. The capacity to pay attention and respond deeply. Be a witness. I try.

And, three’s the charm: Justice. Oh……. If only ……

It isn’t much help, this ancient divination, but what is to be done and how shall we be saved? I think, today, better in images than in words.

Refuge in vision is what I seek.

I’ve written enough. I think I’ll go start another painting.

The healing art.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in America any more . . .