High White Days


Joaquin and I are driving back from a trip to the bakery. We’ve been discussing neighborhood politics.

He tells me, “It was good you spoke to___.”
Me, “So are ya’ll on good terms now?”
He nods, “Yup. Thank you. He is being nice and we’ve figured out that we both don’t like getting into trouble.
Me, “That’s a solid place to start a renewed friendship.”

I’d taken myself out into the garden last night, trying to weed and transform some shit we’d been gifted as a family. You can translate this literally or metaphorically, it works either way.
We have seeds, plants and trees needing to find home. We have a lot of material that will enrich us once it has been transformed into compost.

I saw the boy straddling his bicycle in the middle of the street, looking angry but mostly forlorn and lost. I called out to him. Gathered the Mamaku Crew boys together. Had a discussion about the issues involved. Brought them all to a point of agreement. Picked up my rake and continued to work on the pile of ashes and fallen leaves I was clearing out as I turned over my mind in prayer.

“Thanks for letting me know, hijo. I’m glad you’re getting along now. I think that little dude just needs a little extra assistance. I’m happy to help when I can.”

The windows are down and we have gone from singing The Pixies ‘Wave of Mutilation’ to Psychedelic Furs ‘Highwire Days’, it is just that kind of Monday.

They tore up our kisses and ran
On tomorrow’s pages
And the lions have eaten the lamb
On tomorrow’s pages
There’s a day of your life in your hands
Full of people you don’t understand
In my highwire days
I can see all the way
I see through the games you play…

Joaquin leans in, turns down the volume and asks, “What is ‘high white days’?”

“He is saying ‘high wire’. It is a wire suspended high above everything. Some people walk out onto them and test their balance. I think what he is trying to say is that he now sees everything from a higher view, he can see the truth of the situation in a way he couldn’t before when he was on the ground. I think a lot of people are feeling like they’re on a high wire right now.”

One hand on the steering wheel, I interpretative dance the essence of what I’m trying to convey. I slip into one of my favorite voices, that of my father as a Brooklyn-born Ricky Ricardo.

“The words,” I continue, waving at the air, “they’re not so good, but I think he is singing about taking a risk to the see the truth about his life. He had to climb very high and walk out on a dangerous wire to learn. I think he is saying that some people live their lives like a game. It is important to understand what kind of life game they are playing. Entiendes?”

He pauses. Furrows his brow.
“Is it about not being fooled and winning?”
“Maybe it is a little bit. I’m not sure. I’ve been listening to this song since I was Sol’s age and it has always  felt like a song about being brave and a little uncomfortable in our lives instead of safe. It’s not about winning to me, just seeing things without fear.”

The song switches to Walk off the Earth ‘Home We Go’ and Joaquin rolls his eyes, turns up the volume, “Go ahead, mommy. It’s your crazy song.”

And so I do, I go ahead
I sing as the unusually warm air pours in
my feet and hands tap out the rhythm with a fierce joy.
Joaquin sighs, “You and your happy song…”

“Yes, hijo. Me and my crazy-happy song.”
Don’t let your head hang low
You’ve seen the darkest skies I know
Let your heart run child like horses in the wild
So take my hand and home we’ll go
The sun it glows like gold
Feeling warm as a burning coal
Let your soul shine bright like diamonds in the sky
So take my hand and home we’ll go

Home we’ll go, home we’ll go


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