April 3, 2007 – New Orleans
Nobody has been stabbed in the kitchen yet today.
Dogs run wild in and out of the single house. Right now there’s a band practicing in the other room. A couple more bands who were supposed to be going on tour are staying here for the moment — passing out each night in vans parked out front, on the couches, in the captain’s chair on the kitchen floor, and splayed out on rugs or in the back yard.
Two evenings ago, we all sat on the front porch as a steady stream of visitors from home and away came through and rapped awhile, lounging in a wheelchair and listening to The Sword on a janky cassette player — over and over and over again. Any time the music ended, a near-roar erupted from the throngs swarming the steps and the sidewalk out front to rewind the tape.
Next door at the bar, every day it seems, arguments both verbal and physical keep breaking out, but are quickly resolved as everyone knows everyone else. Fights occur with the frequency of any group not known for sobriety or glossing over things.
The contents of the ashtray in the kitchen could be re-constituted into four or five whole packs of used cigarettes. Walls are covered in found posters and art by friends and artifacts fished from the New Orleans waste stream. Dog hair and dishes are everywhere.
The bathroom smells like Southern mold and Irish Spring. Two drowned cockroaches the size of hummingbirds float in the toilet; one more lies squished and left at the threshhold. Tubs don’t get cleaned very often.
Half of all property in the house is communal, half precious and handmade; some is borrowed, both with and without asking. Some are out busking on Royal Street to make enough money for dinner.
At least one person here has the Fist of Gonzo tattooed on themselves. Once again we enjoy the reverse freakishness of being the only houseguest out of a dozen who sports ink-free skin (except the one dot). Sitting at the kitchen table and compute in the glow of Christmas lights, we listen to boys play blistering sludge-metal in the middle bedroom. We secretly feel silly for putting makeup on. Nobody notices; nobody cares.
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