TEABAGS IN THE SPINACH
and other folk oddities
Patrick J. Dempsey
We came down from the rusty valleys of the Appalacians, from the apple orchards and dusty tobacco rows.
We came down from hills and meadows, rocky river passes and automobile graveyards and skeletonized barns.
We came down here to the great Southern Comfort of Savannah. The sweet smell of Jasmine and paper mills,
the spreading upper middle class, choking out the TRUE southern culture. The culture of red clay
and folk-art trash sculpture; the ultimate in recycling. The culture of beat-up pick-ups and junk-yard dogs.
The all encompassing smell of sweat of the hard working man, the smell of outdoor pig-roasts and mothballs.
This is Southern Culture at its best; the smiles of hard-working men at a country fair and the
delight of children around a bubble-gum machine in the laundry-mat. In the true south there is no
segregation; where everyone is covered in dusty red clay with only shining eyes and red mouths flashing out.
Everyone is equal in the world of shotgun shacks and trailer parks, in the world of trucks and station-wagons with
mix-matched body-panels blistering uphostry.
The business man and woman of southern gentility and old money may ask, "what is happiness, but an iced-tea
under the porch, and the sweet smell of Jasmine and Paper mills?" And so may the poor man ask, "What is happiness,
but a cold beer on a hot night with the sweet smell of acid rain and melting stacks of firewood?"
Photo Credit: Andrew Wooster
So we discovered that all we had needed to know, we had already learned back in the mountains of Virginia. In the back roads
and mossy creeks the knowledge of infinite happiness had made itself clear. To live in the full glory of God, or Nature, or
whatever you call it is true bliss. All you will find in the city is the lost souls searching for their god in deep pockets and
thick wallets. You will find segregation and hate, you will find unhappiness on every door step. You will find dissatisfaction,
gealousy, contempt, noncompassion and greed.
Photo Credit: Andrew Wooster
The next path is into the mid-west, into the cornfeilds and pastures, to a place maybe a little closer to home. But I think
always will be lingering in the back of my mind, the best place I have ever known is in the forests littered with ancient car carcasses
and barn shells. I think the home is where the heart is.
Photo Credit: Andrew Wooster
Wood burning cat, wood burning cat;
where you sleeping at?
Sleeping in the woodpile,
sleeping for a good while,
wheres my woodchopping child?
Woodburning cat asleep,
Woodburning under feet,
cat how can you take the heat?
Progress inspires progress,
but repression inspires change;
the evolution of civilization.
As my circle closes in, and I protect my closest friends; prepare the worst for the end.
Blank eyes and sockets stare, ruddy skin and tussled hair, you are what I am and yet do not care.
Son of Sam and God and Gun, too many fathers to child one, humankind will rape and run.
And thus and thine, and thou be blind, in blood and wine the bible bind.
To each his own, to each his kind, a kindness owed you for all time.
This morning I woke up, and the dreams that I broke up; faded away.
I had dreamt that I spoke up and waited to be slapped in the face; but now I wake to a new day.
When will you wake up, from these dreams that you make up for yourself?
What kind of hell can take up so much - so much for trying to help.
I know your cover is safe and warm, but your body will start to rot,
and you may loose what you have got; if you stay asleep for too long.
I know your dreams are nice and calm, but your mind will fall apart,
and you may loose what you have got; if you stay asleep for too long.
Me I, I am afraid, that the bed you have made is full of nails.
Me I, I cannot say, but I think that you're starting to sink; to be drowned or impaled.
I will not wake you, I will not make you, I will not take you into my arms.
Your blankets are heavy, I will not wake you untill you are ready.
I know its cold and dark, but you have got to wake your heart, or you ay loose what you have got;
if you stay asleep for too long.
Being a painter is like being a beautiful girl; you get sick of being told how beautiful you are and just wish that
someone had more to say about you than just what is obvious.
For me Nature has grown to include all the manmade devices which have fallen back into the Earth:
A broken down car in a field becomes a home for wildlife, and will sink into the earth and become a new rock. Bricks will crumble back to clay, glass back to sand, wood
to coal, plastic into a new kind of mineral all together. The Earth will continue to evolve without us.
I have a deep sincere compassion for the humble things of the Earth. They are my brothers;
the silent, the helpless. I feel a kinshi to the rotting carcass of a car, or the melting edifice of a rustic barn.
Wes flung the door open and turned with fireballs in his eyes and said, "teabags in the spinach man, teabags in the spinach."
And then he was gone and the room got dark and quiet.
"What'd you do with dat wingnut, man?!"
"No lettuce, no sour creme: number 3 please"
"What's you do with dat wingnut man?"
And so we went down to the Diner and we ordered a double cheeseburger platter, a side of cheese hash-browns and a coffee,
and the total came to six dollars and sixty-six cents.
She an' me an' we is one. It makes no haste to rape and run. We sit beside the sultry sun; An'tave a taste of tortured fun.
Before the door I chore to knock, And wait 'till late for fate to cock, An' spring the thing and fling the lock, But gassed I blast the glass by rock...
And step inside....
A Hungarian man had just finished eating out a Turkish woamn. She smiles and askes "So I guess you are not
Hungary anymore?" He replies, "No but I could have done without the cranberry sauce."
It's all about audience, nothing can be taken out of context; you can not compare Danielle Steele to Dostoyesky,
because they are inherently the same... an appeal to certain emotions and ideals.
All art, all literature is essentially an emotional appeal by the artist or writer to the audience....
which would you rather have hanging in your home, the Mona Lisa or a Velvet Elvis? There is no
inherent difference between HIGH art and LOW art, all expression is art.
The mind is a lens which can focus or distort the blatently objective image of the eye.
A photograph focuses and crops and distorts the world and forces us to see the photographer's vision.
A painting is more like the image within the mind; full of distortion, interpretation and emotion.
But painting is always seen as a creation of the artist's mind, and a photograph is more pervasive, as it carries the idea and
censorship of the photographer but is seen as the truth of the objective world.
In the same way, we tend to see too much truth in the so called "true story" and not enough in so called "fiction" A "true story" is only
an interpretation of the truth.
We have to learn the important lessons in everyday life, we cannot depend on the vague and conflicting messages of religion, or the
naive suggestions of the super-market magazine cover.
May I ask you again?
May I ask you about when you died?
What? oh yes, I think... I think it begins with the sound....
of all the blood drainging out of my body, quickly at first like at a stop light when it first turns green...
and the slower... chachunk-chunk chachunkcha.... Cha chunk... chunk chunk.... and then the deafening howl
of my ears, the static of vibrations as my whole body shook. Faster and faster, but at the same time slower and slower.... shaking
and girating, and the static in my ears and in my eyes, and the tingling of all my nerves at once... this seemed to last forever, an infinite
orgasm of all my senses at once. But as I grew accustomed to the static, it became pure white, like the delicate ringing of the
ears in total silence, and a white fog everywhere....
And like in the silence, the ringing became louder, a mind drilling, thought cringing perfect ringing note. And the fog got brighter and brighter and formed a shining light like a star.
And my body got hotter and hotter, or maybe colder and colder, like in a blizzard and it's so cold it burns. And you could not cover your ears or eyes, or move your body, you just had
to bear the noise which was by this time so loud I thought my eardrums would have burst. And the light was brighter than the sun, and the heat like an oven,
but your skin did not burn... in fact you don't even have skin any more. I am aware of nothing exect the complete overloading of the senses.
What? Did you say something?
Stop for a minute, do you remember anything about the noise, like what note it could have been, or what shape the light was in?
Yes, I have played with a keyboard to reproduce the note, and I am positive it is the note C, the one in the exact center of the piano.
That is Middle C, exactly 256 vibrations per second... and the light?
Yes, the light had points like a star... six I beleive, yes one going straight up, one going straight down, and four inbetween making an X shape, like on a long straight road with trees on either side.
Hmmm.... and did these change, or just get brighter and louder?
Yes, they did! In fact, as I listened to the note, I could hear that it was actually made of several different notes, all overlapped, all with slightly different vibrations... it was like hearing
every key on the piano at one time... and light wasn't just white light, it was vibrations of all the colors at once... that's when I started to feel the
vibrations in my body again, like I was all temperatures all at once; just switching back and forth; hot, cold, hot, cold. Then it all changed.
The noise wasn't just notes any more, it was voices... milllions of voices, but not like speaking voices, more like the voice of your own thoughts inside your head, like the voices in a dream. It was
like I could hear everyone's thoughts all at once. And the star changed too, the points were moving, like sliding into the center, and then I could see that there
were other lines sliding into the light too. It was like watching a river from above and seeing all the little streams and creeks flow into one big river and then into the ocean.
It was shaped like a snowflake, and in the shape I could see all kinds of colors and patterns. Sometimes it looked like the branches of a tree, or a big maple leaf, and then it would look
like veins or rivers. Sometimes it would flatten into a perfectly circular disk of light all flowing towards the center. The lines always stayed in the same orientation, always perfectly verticle and four more always at 30 degrees and 150 degrees.
But around them the branches pusled and swayed.
Then, very slowly at first, the voices began to form conversations... memories, things from my past... and the disk of light
was ever so slowly getting larger and larger... or maybe I was getting closer. And as the pulsating, vibrating disk got closer I could see images of color forming... like
when you sit too close to the TV set and see the picture in moving separate dots of colored light. I began making the
connection in my head to what I was seeing and what I was hearing... they were the same thing... the same memory, as I saw it and thought about it, a split second of my life repeating over and over...
the moment of the gun shot..
The image was crystallized, the thoughts clear... the only sound was my thoughts at the time. Now the image was all around me, it was everywhere, inescapable. And it did not repeat in any order,
except like remembering a dream, in bits and peices of thought and sight...
And what were you thinking to yourself exactly, at the moment of the shot?
I'm going to die, I'm going to die... but I was confused and I didn't know what it meant to die... I thought, should I pray, or should I pay attention, or should I try to live? It was so
confusing, I didn't even know if I wanted to live or die...
And when the doctors recovered you, did you sense their presence?
No, just suddenly I was awake and there were tubes everywhere and loud machines and nurses yellinh and bright lights....
it was so loud and bright, but it was equal to the noise and light before, it was as if everything was the same, in different colors
and different notes... but then I was so shocked by the transition that I passed out again and went into a deep sleep, and
dreamed about my family and friends, and saw their faces and heard their voices telling me they loved me.
That was during the coma?
Yes, it was more like a long dream, it felt like a dream, like I would wake up any minute... But I was tying to go back to see the light again, but I also just wanted
to see my wife again...
Did you see God?
What was God like?
A very quiet, distant voice in the back of my head telling me, no asking me.... "This is it?"
What does that mean... I mean was there a tone to the voice?
No, it was like a computer voice with no tone or inflection, it was the ultimate question, and the ultimate answer all at once.
All I know is that now I am evaluating the importance of everything, now for the first time in my life I am trying to make everything right.
I dont know what it all meant, but I want to be prepared next time, that's why I am here...
In the asylum?
No, in this room with you.
Photo Credit: Andrew Wooster
Nights like these, cold and long, I long for love; a soft body to hold and touch;
shimmering eyes, quivering lips.
Artsnob hearts throb to see a pig asshole hanging on the wall, "Oh the color, of the motion,
oh I think I'll buy a dozen."
Sacrifice sanity (in a sense) for social acceptence. Power of compliments, give me my ego trip.
Long to hear that cold, lonesome sound of gentle breaths, or simple steps I take. Social Vampire environment,
eating my bleeding heart, needing my beating heart. Power of compiments, filled with empty promises.
Afraid to grow, afraid to love, afraid to die afraid.
Ive been waiting to talk so long, pausing like an infant at the dawn of speech. But there has never been room
enough to breathe, let alone tell you all the stuff I need to.
So standing here with my jaw hanging wide, waiting for everyone else to subside, I'm afraid you will think I'm an idiot,
and you will in another minute. There it is, that look in your eye, what the hell is with this guy?
My bottle is my pacifier to fill the hole I wanted you to fill, pacify the lust, the rage, the hope; the animal I have to kill.
That moment; when the whole tree breathes the breeze, and leaves chatter, and branches scratch against the window, I know you are up.
I move at a geological pace, drifting though the psychological rat race. So as you hurry to go, I shake my head and know; I'll meet up
with you at the end of the road.
If you know yourself, if you love yourself, if you be yourself; then you are yourself: Your own individual person;
individual mind, individual body, individual heart; individual from all others. Know your mind. Love your body. Be true to your heart.
Into the swollen heat of the womb of mother Earth - away from the cold indifference of the father's rain.
Photo Credit: Wesley Almond
Have you seen what he does to his children? Have you seen the corpse of a dove lying in the grass? It seemed so sad there with it's wings spread as if to fly,
it's beak buried into it's mother's bosom one last time.
Bagful of bones, headfull of lies; strolling through ghetto crack crevices; past derilict devices of ambiguous HIGH ambition.
So you have dived on in, and the momentum of the jump has carried you down down down. Struggling now will not help, you will only tire prematurely, and as you gasp for air
your lungs will fill with heave salty water. You would have floated up eventuall.... Why didnt you just take your time,
and wade in from the shallows? Reckless aimless jumper into the mouths of sharks, where has society left you?
It is easy to become a baricle of solitude, clinging onto the rusting, gray hulk: Never to let go and see the ocean at your own pace,
to find out if you will drown to the bottom or float to the top....
A sapphire smile, and a diamond nod; timeless perfection encapsulated in the emerald eyes.
STRANGE how she wanders in, wonders when this will end, but she never cries aloud, no she
never tries around me.
Strange how it happened, just snapped and folded in, but we never cry aloud, no we never try to sound free.
Strange to see you go slowly, into the distance, without resistence, no assistance necessary for me to see clearly.
Can you see clearly now?
Wandering Jazz Addicts collect in pools of cool, vibing on that one vibration.
Granite blocks on truck beds, on their way to adorn casket heads, to remind the living how many are dead.
My smile is a requiem for silence, from the chattering of gossipboxes and engines, the grinding of gears and teeth,
the industry of industry, and industrious men.
Poet and a painter, liver and a lover, waiting for you for lifetimes; timelines on eyelid curtains. These eyes are older than this head.
Feathery daisychains and crisp lightning-bug constellations. For a moment I have been here with you before; even though
we have just met.
Starlight's parade marched back to heaven, and the sky opened up like a glossy blue, glass oxygenarium, terrarium; aquarium for
aquarian minds and pisces dreams: never suspecting life beyond the fishbowl.
Stars are smiles from heaven, loving eyes staring down on their children. There is always hope that the lone star winking
on the horizon was sent by a long lost love; and that the brightest star above is God himself smiling down.
On my back, wet with grassy dew, the heavens stretched out before me: a roadmap to the diverging paths of millions of astrological highways. But as I study the
intricate intersections of the cities in the sky, I realize not only that I am lost; but that I dont even know
where I am going....
My house; somewhere in the township of aquairus, my soul; somewhere in the spinning balls of plasma and gas.
Now that space is crossed, more and more of God's face is lost. We have penetrated heaven with rockets,
investigated and debated photomontages of tha crime, but we still cannot find CLOUD 9.
Liquid ascention: fire and water, boiling off woolen sweaters for the edge of the sky.
So black, the air is thin, we float out but never come back, and never go in. So still the night is calm,
we flout out, but never will retreive the dawn.
Sunrise complexion alabaster and silk; tigerlilly tresses in the wind. Fairy footprints tiptoe off of your skin onto the bed.
Yes, tigerlillies have freckles too.
What gods are these who's thunder rolls, whos lighting strikes, whos cold wind blows? And what
damnation to be met, on those already cold and wet? Drenching pouring, making mud, crashing tital wave
of the flood. Drown the world in your waters.... swim away? no one bothers.
For three years I have lived in the cold city of civic duty. But now I am finally joined by my soul-brother Wes, to
live in my commune of artists.
And now, like independant sorcorers each of us follows his own alchemy. Whether paint of glue, words or lines...
we are now happy to exist as outselves, doing what we love, and loving it.... learning from each other,
sharing spells and incantations. Their is no master here, we are all masters of our destinies.
I have visions of the straw-hatted, bearded painter walking barefooted through meadows and fields of
soft flowers. Or is it me, guitar in hand, playing to surf-side melodies, and dreaming of stars and mountains?
I think sometimes that I see Da Vinci, Einstein, Cobain, Thurough, Ghandi, and Van Gogh all sitting together speaking of things
lost and forgotten. But it is only my peripherial vision playing tricks on me...
A quote from Rod McKuen goes, "I dont know why I talk about these things, no one else does..." but others do, and have, and will
for a long time to come. There will always be a few... that one tenth of a percent of the population as my friend Dirk said once.
We represent the hope for the human race, the slightly more aware, who will one day be able to take the sum of all human knowledge
and make the final book. The book after which there will be nothing more to say, nothing more to doubt, nothing more to question,
nothing more to entertain the restless. And once the book is written, man will be free to live once more in peace and security,
happy with his place in the chain, happy with the direction of the soul, happy with the face of God. This day may be generations away,
but we must not give up the fight.
Battle ignorance. Live in peace. Love in security. Speak in kindness. Act in generosity.