Blogs by Kalikiano Kalei
Notes From the Bunker
1/30/2008 2:22:08 PM
Alternate reality in 'The Zone', that special extension of the California State Mental Health Facility where my pre-frontal cortex is held in perpetual trust as an unwitting captive of the parallel universe I periodically escape to. [As you read this, do not be alarmed as various Black Cross Volunteers pass among you to make the obligatory smudges of ash on your forebrains that indentify those who have somehow irreverently slipped off the verge of reality and find themselves in the....shall I say it?....Twonk Zone of Actualised Disengagement.]
NOTES FROM THE BUNKER
This is being tappety-tapped at Underdog’s Fortress of Solitariness on the North California Coast, at a secret set of coordinates located roughly between Fort Ross and Fort Bragg (i.e. in the Mendocino area). As much of an unfan of the whole Superman shtick as I am, I still acknowledge the fact that in one specific of the Superman story, Marvel Comics Group had it right! Superman’s Fortress of Solitude was a wizardly plot invention in the Superman storyline. While I am not sure whether all men value solitude as much as do I, from early puppyhood onwards I have had a strong need for a well-hidden kennel of refuge to which I can venture in periodic retreats from the stark insanity that so often passes for American life. In being of this particular sentiment, Michael Moore could be my older, smarter brother, since our socio-political outlooks quite often appear to be as congruent as Christ on a rough rude crucifix.
I usually refer to this place as my ‘bunker’, although it is in reality the vacation retreat of a very old and greatly valued friend who is as close as a blood-brother to me. Mi amistad de sangre uses it rarely, if ever, since he is usually far away, taking care of chemical and biological defense concerns on the other side of the planet. Therefore, I pretty much have it to myself, whenever the spirit (or diminishment of it, as the case may be) moves. It is small enough, (only about 750 ft sq total) to be mistaken for a large gothic doghouse, but thoughtfully located on a coastal hilltop overlooking the ocean and screened on three sides by a lovely private forest of Norfolk Pines. The house itself is simply designed in the shape of a square and has two internal rooms. No fancy-schmancy stuff here, just basic utility and a sort of rough, woodsy coastal elegance that blends in perfectly with the whole Northern California mood.
Set up as a bachelor cottage, with an interior atmosphere that is an eclectic blend of 1920s ‘Bohemian Grove’ parlor and half University of California at Berkeley dorm room, it is perfect for reflecting tranquilly on the woes of this weary old world, perched as it is as an ærie amidst some of the most spectacularly beautiful coastal scenery found south of the Oregon shoreline.
From my reckoning, it is just about as ideal a hideaway as any reasonably complicated guy could hope for and has all the requisite accoutrements that a creative throwback like myself needs to soldier on in comfortably spartan seclusion. Among its delights are a French Press pot for preparing my frequent hits of caffeine, a telescope for Gray Whale watching, binoculars for checking out the bikinied wildlife on the beach far below (summers only), a library that would make the archetypal Cal Berkeley graduate librarian drool with envy, and a porch with southern exposure that makes wintering over here absolutely splendid.
What it doesn’t have is just as important as what it does have, and that includes NO landline telephone and no television (although it is equipped with dial-up modem access). The sleeping accommodations are also to my liking, with a nice thick futon in a sleeping loft providing either simple nighttime comfort, or romantic ambience (as the case may be). Cooking rituals are undertaken on a propane stove and beautifully pure water comes from a well out in the yard. Its one concession to modern comfort is a Grand Coulee Dam spillway of a shower that provides plenty of luxuriously hot water from a solar heating system, and I hope to shout that there’re few things as wonderful on a chilly Pacific Coast winter morning than a hot mug of strong coffee, followed by a healthy shit, a hot shower, and a log fire (in that order). In fact, those four things have to rank so far up on the male scale of ‘Good Things’ (sorry, Martha...they may not be your 'good things', but they're definitely mine!) that prolonged, noisy, juicy sex itself arguably drops to 5th place on this list.
In short, ‘The Bunker’ is paradisiacal for all my intents and purposes, and when I’m not chilling on a Molokai beach, I’m usually up here on my coastal hill-top retreat. Actually, Molokai and Northern California are both equally important to me, since as a Gemini (in Chinese astrology I’m a ‘Fire Dog’), there are two distinctly polar halves of my personality that require constant upkeep. Being a person prone to polar extremes is something I have long since gotten used to, but whether I am this way due to a self-fulfilling propensity urged into being by knowledge of the properties of my astrological sign, or whether the cause is more genetic and/or blamable on formative socializing influences, is anyone’s guess. I like to excuse this nature on the basis of the traditional regard the Japanese had for people who do not fit the requisite mold of uniformity as being ‘exceptional’. Whether true or not, it serves as a useful egoboosting rationalisation that I avail myself of frequently, on occasion.
This stellar duality is reflected in my near equal regard for both Molokai and the North California Coast as important elements of my geophysical life support matrix, since each has diametrically unique, yet spiritually important experiential qualities that feed my soul. I could no more thrive without the gentle Pacific Island trade-winds than I could without the cool coastal California convection fogs that regulate the microclimate found in this region. Ancient volcanic Molokai, with its unique South Pacific oceanic climate and culture has a special magic all of its own, naturally, that is unique in all the world (excluding other Pacific Island locales), whereas the same is true (at least in a climatic sense) with Northern California’s wonderfully saturnine Sequoia redwoods and its rugged, melancholy coastline. Taken together, they constitute (as co-equal halves of a whole) my concept of heavenly paradise.
Today, as I look out over the wonderful Pacific coast, it is balmy and calm, with just the gentlest hint of an off-shore breeze. The swells coming in from the east are as smooth and undisturbed as the languid icing swirls on a chocolate layer cake. As the sun heats up the landscape and throws off the residual chill from the previous night, the sense of invigorating newness and freshness imparted is almost as palpable as the scent of pines in the air. Out at sea a pod of Gray Whales is passing off the coast, lazily taking their time along the annual migratory route to the northern waters to graze on the rich varieties of tiny California sea life found here. Overhead, hawks and seabirds wheel and dive on invisible thermals rising from the headland, while further out to sea whole squadrons of immensely ungainly pelicans improbably fly in close formation just above the surface of the water, fishing (they remind me of huge airliners like the new Airbus A-380, similarly monstrously large and seemingly un-airworthy by virtue of their vast bulk and un-aerodynamic weightiness).
My two Siberians are snoozing peacefully nearby, having returned a short while ago from a leisurely sniff-and-leg-lift excursion on the hillside and now perfectly content to drift off to doggy-dreamland (or wherever it is that dogs go, when sleeping), lulled to slumber by the nonstop tappety-tap clicking sounds from my keyboard. Raki (my big male) is having dreams, judging by the spasmodic jerking of his huge furry paws and the excited snorts he is emitting. Doubtless, he is chasing deer through the brambles that are found on the hillside, between the trees, and having the time of his life in unconscious pursuit of imaginary does that always somehow manage to elude him. Laika, my bitch, is more peacefully reposed and breathing heavily, the exposed pads of her dainty little doggy feet looking like graceful toe-shoes of a ballerina with no less than 5 points (well, perhaps you need a bit of imagination to see all that in her paws, but they are dainty for a working breed dog, and she does mince along with a sort of graceful sense of purpose when afoot).
Having these two magnificent beasts here with me to share this sanctum is a feeling that is a bit difficult to do adequate justice to, since the evocative mood created by their proximity is more spiritual than temporal. They manage to manifest a sense of intelligent awareness of what we three are about here that doesn’t require words or even thought to qualify, so instinctively are they attuned to our mutual interactions. And for a person who regularly abuses, mangles, dismembers, destroys, alters, synthesises, and misapplies verbiage for personal amusement, such wordless, spiritual communication serves as a refreshing break from the daily norm. Just a look from them communicates all that needs to be acknowledged: “OK, boss. Take your time. What-ever! There’s plenty of time for another walk when you’re ready.”
Outside the sun is starting to slant down differently, the shadows are getting a bit longer, and the shortened overhead passage of the winter sun makes itself known with a mere glance out the window. The weather this first week in December has been amazingly peaceful, warm and balmy during the day and yet crisp and cold at night. At such moments it is all too easy to understand how critically important the solar warmth of the sun is to all life on this planet. At the same time, and removed as I am from all the distracting artificial detritus of our ‘civilisation’, it is equally easy to reflect sadly upon humanity’s continuing insane fixation upon taking apart the entire planet to convert its scenic splendors into raw material for economic exploitation. The fact is that in the mad American economic pursuit of wealth, we somehow overlook even the most basic laws of nature: that even a parasite doesn’t kill its host.
Ironically, that is exactly what we humans are doing each and every day as we devastate everything in our path like a stream of insatiably hungry army ants...a pattern of behavior that if unchecked will ultimately destroy our planet as surely as if the sun suddenly went Super-Nova. But enough of the tin-plated ecorevivalism. When out here in the bunker, I strive to limit myself to thoughts unrelated to this tendency we humans have of shitting in our own kennels and crapping on our own doorsteps. Pity we can’t even take a hint from our four-footed domestic companions (and I’m not talking marital companions here, of course, although some of them like doing things doggy-style too, heh-heh), who know instinctively that such behavior is not just unacceptable, but unnatural as well. And taking that tangent a bit further, I am reminded of that modestly witty observation that “…the more I know my dogs, the more I dislike people”. I haven’t personally reached that bitterly final end-stage state of misanthropy myself…just yet, anyhow…but I would rather have this splendid solitude to share with the two big furry goofballs who are presently snoozing at my feet than with about 99.9% of two-footed critters I am acquainted with, back in the civilised setting I have temporarily escaped from. Behind every successfully persistent stereotype is a strong core of truth, naturally enough, and doggone, if that isn’t so true in this case!
I wouldn’t mind sharing this splendid setting with a woman on occasion, and have in fact often thought about that, but my prior experience has demonstrated well enough that tempting fate to destroy the entire selfishly unencumbered solitary ambience of the moment in that manner is not far removed from playing Russian roulette with a full cylinder. While the prospect of having wild sex with a gorgeously alluring vixen in such an evocative setting is admittedly tantalizing, seldom have I ever met someone who can match their sensual assets equally with both the sharpness of their synaptical functions and the brilliance of their spiritual maturity well enough to warrant inviting a Lois Lane (or Polly Pureheart) into ‘The Bunker’. Violation of that prime dictum would probably result in a contentious sparring contest the likes of which the ongoing schlagerfest between the Palestinians and the Israelis would seem like a spat between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Until such a coincident harmonic coital convergence occurs (and there’s likely about as much chance of THAT happening as there is a chance for American-style democracy succeeding in the Middle East), I shall continue to solitarily mix my metaphors with my mercenary misological misapprehension, abrogate my allegorical analogies with anal abruptness, and scramble my synonymic syllogisms with studied stupefaction. ‘The Bunker’ will likely remain a Fortress of Solitude, rather than a Fortress of Fornication, and it is probably just as well for all that.
And now I’m going to sacrifice a chicken or two on the barby, down a good glass of some Dôle Swiss Rhone wine I imported from the Canton of Wallis, and watch the sun set into that great big pool of liquid gold that is shimmering magically just out the window. Tonight will be another gorgeous and brilliant full moon and I am at this last thought reminded of that famous Irish poem by Y.B. Yeats, titled ‘The Song of Wandering Ængus’. The last verse of it is worth repeating here as the fires of the sun finally extinguish themselves in the vast waters of the cold Pacific:
‘Though I am old with wandering,
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and hands.
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon
And the golden apples of the sun….’
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