A Rare Delectation (redux)
He woke up with the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” spinning in his head. He had this dream 1,822 times since seeing their performance on that Saturday morning in 1973. The gold and ruddy light of it. The smoking jacket outfits on the group. The dancers in a sea around them popping up sharp to the rhythm and then descending to the backbeat in perfect rubbery time. The beauty. The sheer joy of it. The possibilities. He never tired of this dream.
Feel good. Incendiary.
The sun was up like a burning bald head. The brightness insisted its way through the gap in the blinds and past the scrim of his eyelids. The Soul Train Spinners had been preceded by a nightmarish episode where he was caught out on the Ustyurt plateau during a violent electrical storm.
He was the only living thing standing for miles, and as the wind lashed down on him, and the lighting cracked the sky into splinters that imbedded themselves in the rain and came homing for him like millions of tiny needles.
He feared not for himself but for the congealed beef plov which was the consistency of dried cement and while he saw the individual pieces of mutton, carrots, and rice in the kazan he couldn’t get the spoon which was intractably stuck in the inert block of food to move. He was two weeks without food. And as an electrical charge exploded nearby he was full of existential angst like he’d rarely, viscerally, felt before; and in that howling — in the egregious hunger — he heard the mellifluous voice of Don Cornelius introducing the Spinners.
The opening strains of the amber guitars and percussion faded up forcing the yowling plains of the Ustyurt into a pin prick spot of light that sparked momentarily in the “O” of the Soul Train neon sign above the Spinners starting their dance routine. And as the clopping congas, violin glissandos and horns caught momentum, he felt sated. He was momentarily content for the 1,823rd time in his dreams.
Today would be one of the good days.
What I’m Reading:
“Writing itself is an act of affirmation, even of sovereignty. We confirm that we are human beings, that we are alive and making and breathing culture.”
— Joy Harjo / Catching the Light