Posted by: normanlgreen | February 25, 2012

Dream, February 25, 2012 Shack dwelling, kitchen fire & A Capella singing

Dream, home, 6:08 am

Another homeless dream: Wandering through Texas, I have left my rust colored canvas pack behind at some home I have abandoned. Impatient with my hosts, I leave my few belongings and walk to a dusty little town outside of Houston. There I meet a man in his early twenties. He has a spare room in a house that his family lets him live in.

The house is a broken-down place that no one else in his family is willing to occupy. The entry hall and the storage room off to the side of it have leaves that blew-in last fall, though this is late Spring. The next room is a square kitchen with one table and two chairs to the left, under the window. The back wall is unbroken except for a gas range from the early sixties. Thirty year earlier, someone had “remodeled” by tiling the plank floor with self-adhesive squares. The edges of the square tiles peeled-away and curled-up from the floor. Walking is a deeply tactile experience.

My host, a slow-moving boy with thick glasses in frames that cover most of his face, shuffles through the house to show me around. Each room is a low-ceiling box shape that has been added to the central square of the original footprint. None of the floors are exactly level with each other, so there is some uneven settling resulting from poorly planned carpentry. A country store out in front of the house also belonging to his family. This is where we get our meager, albeit free, groceries.

Before I know it, we have been here for several days, circling like sleepy flies.

My host decides to cook a meal. He uses a long-handled grill lighter to ignite the back-left burner of the gas stove. He drops the lighter onto the top of the stone and pushes a scarred non-stick fry pan over the high flame. In doing so, he pushes the blue handle of the lighter – where the fuel reservoir is located – into the fire. I move quickly for the first time in days, pushing him to the side and using the fry pan to flip the lighter out of the flames. He seems oblivious to the fact that the contraption would have exploded.

I declare that we have to get out of the house and do something different before we bore ourselves to death. We are aware that there is a community dance this night. I tell him that he has a chance to meet girls, that we will not be competing for their attentions, as I am married.

First we must clean up. I know that I have not changed clothes since I arrived at the shack, wearing a Lycra soccer jersey and a pair of tan shorts. I get a visual flash of my other clothes tucked in the canvas backpack that I left behind. There is a sink in the back room that was built to the right of the entry hall. The floor plan has a horseshoe path, with only one door to each of the four rooms.

I run water from the tap and splash it onto my face. The sink fills with silty water, red dust washing from my face. My fingertips feel the grit of more dirt in my stiff hair. I bemoan the fact that there is no shower or bath. I look into the mirror and see that my young face is beardless, but red with a scattering of blotches. No one is going to be bowled over with my good looks.

Back in the main room, my brother and our long-time friend Adonica have arrived to give us a ride. I feel we should prepare a party piece:  an A Capella version of “Soul Kitchen” from the first Doors LP. I have an arrangement in my head, but would rather people created their own parts. First we must establish a rhythm, so I clap a syncopated pattern that shifts accents in a four-bar cycle. This is over-thought, so I simplify. The other three experiment with accents between my claps. When it has built into a good groove, I start singing an octave lower than I had planned. Though unexpected, it provides a strong foundation. Soon we have a four-part harmony, with Adonica taking a soprano counter-melody that pushes the song into something never before heard. While the song has developed, we have been driving in a car with the windows lowered. We pull to a stop, but have returned to the dilapidated house, as we repeat the first verse.


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