The Sign Tour
"We fail to understand why we should have to pay the cost of the crisis, while its instigators continue to post record profits. We're sick and tired of one injustice after another. This isn't the kind of world we want to live in, We know we can change it and we are having a great time going about it." Spanish Indignados All is well. The bank i was at this morning was robbed and i was unable to withdraw money. At the border I was turned back so have hired a boat to take the sign stateside. Without problems what would a life be?
I lose contact with the captain of the ship as the west coast is swamped in fog. If the sign goes over board the salt water will ruin her make up and though she can swim she doesn't like to get wet. I leave in darkness and cross the border via an old logging road at dawn. The trip is treacherous but the pine beetle infested forest provides cover as i emerge on the I-5 just past Bellingham. At speed I race to Seattle but the the captain fails to show at the appointed time...i spend the afternoon staring forlornly out to sea.
In the evening i walk the shore line for hours looking for any sign of the ship. Finally exhausted i rent a cheap motel room and fall asleep. I dream of rocks, waves and splintered plywood. As night turns to day i hear a soft knock. I open the door and the sign slurs "Good morning."
I say, "Where the hell were you? I was worried sick." He explains woozily the ship arrived early and with time to kill he and the Captain went for a beer. Here he met an exotic Brazilian Cherry hardwood and one thing led to another. I scream, "You could have called!" I run into the bathroom, slam the door and sit on the toilet sobbing. After a good cry i go to see the sign but am horrified to see her smoking my cigarettes and drinking my beer.
I am flooded with tears and retreat once again to the can. After what seems like an eternity I open the door a crack and see the sign fast asleep on my side of the bed. I feel disrespected, used and start sobbing loudly. The sign knocks, knocks knocks. I open the door and the sign says, "Don't cry. The captain took some good shots and you can use them for your stupid wiki sign tour page." I slam the door in the signs face but deep down i can hardly wait to see the pictures. Even though she can be an asshole i still love her.
On the ride the sign is hungover and mercifully quiet as we listen to the National Public Radio announce the US troops have left Iraq. Over 4500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's have been killed and over a million displaced. The war has destroyed that country and cost the American people over 850 billion dollars. But i love Portland and have a friends in the music and muscle business there. I call the record company to discuss the release of my new album and i call the muscle for vengeance. The sign is listening and says, "You wouldn't do that.". When we get to the music office the sign sweet talks his way in to a record deal and for some reason my contract is put on hold. I'm furious.
Under my breath I whisper "It's not all about u!" The sign just shrugs and keeps talking royalties. I grab her roughly and throw her into the back of the truck. I call muscles and drive like a madman through downtown Portland. We somehow make it to the park without despair. I yell, "You're gonna get it." and drag the sign..."Muscle" goes to work. The sign begs for mercy and when i ask, "Are you ready to work?" He yells, "Occupy Portland!" The rally is a great success, the library signs out way too many books, the stamp is a hit and Portland is solid. I hook up with the cool cats and the sign does an interview with a local community radio station. The sign is on side, the police are running and Frisco/Oakland we're coming... http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/18/18703038.php
On the I-5, the sign and table quietly chat as cars, trucks, RV’s, semi’s and the occasional motorcycle pass us by AS THE PLANET BURNS...Why are we in the Middle East again? The sign postulates humanities need to conquer starts with death…while the table comments people are now worried there will be no social network or running water in heaven…or perhaps many dare not consider the inevitable...I take the next exit and the the sign complains in a nasally voice, “I like the high way. ” I ignore her absorbing the desert like terrain, the lived in homes and sturdy fences. The sign annoyingly pipes up again, "You should take a picture of me." I am incredulous but stop none the less. I ask the table to join us and she replies, “What is best...cannot be said". I reply, "We don't want you to talk we just want a picture". He stares quizzically. We travel into the foothills, and encounter an enlightened master. We end the day pushing books in a small town in the middle of nowhere... The sun never sets on empire. We sleep in a wheat field and in the morning continue...
In San Fran a pig head is on a stick and Goofy is bleeding. the sign is the toast of the town...beautiful people, regular people, working people, store people, Occupiers...even the graffiti wants a piece of the magic. It is only when we hear the the 'po po' announce "No signs on the Bridge” do we relent but of course we take a picture. We've been in town a few hours and the sign is having the time of his life.I call some San Fran Occupiers (SFO's) and arrange a meeting at the Starbucks where the Occupation took place. But when we're about to leave the sign says she is not coming...i am slightly relieved but none the less express concern. She says not to worry she just needs to catch up on her sleep...but when i arrive at the corporate coffee shop he is there high fiving passer bys "I thought you weren't coming." He replies, "You thought wrong." I am stunned by his insensitivty and leave in a huff...hit the street; bullshit and play chess with the fellas. This guy beats me badly by pushing the pawns. In a comedy club i yell, "Wake up America...Wake up! I'm from Canada and I've got healthcare." The room is quiet. Occupy the Streets! hey!hey! only next day pictures!
I call Oakland, they say it's on hold til 2012 and that we should come in the New Year. A San Fran Occupier, with a broken leg, is heading to San Diego to help and i give him a ride. He lived at the encampment and i tell him of our Vancouver experience. He's well versed in the inequalities of the system, hooked into the internet, and active. He was arrested 5 times and i encourage him to make his court appearances. In a rare act of kindness the sign jumps in the back to hold down my fellow travelers crutches. "We cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet" is said on our eight hour journey. We discuss nuclear power, dirty oil and traction. He likes the mobile library and i drop him off at the LA train station. I get a room downtown... and learn in exchange for leaving city hall the Occupiers negotiated a hippo from the city zoo which has been under reported. The sign says they are barbecuing it on xmas and feeding the homeless which is a small victory for the Occupy movement but i'm not sure about that... of course she loves LA. The Occupation site is well treed but now it is defensively fenced with mesh, concrete and a less lovely sign threatens punishment...the commons is now entwined. As per usual the sign poses with the enforcement bylaw ... and the MSM Our supply of books is running low but fortunately we find a final soldier in the near total infantilization of civilization. Put in a poem and we load up read a book...read a book...read a book! everyone!!!
In the golden dawn we cruise nowhere...but leave LA early, around noon, to avoid traffic. The sign is monologuing the moonscape called Alberta and dirty oil...distracted we almost run out of gas but amazingly there is a station...we arrive in Vegas and the sign gets a picture with his hero. Though progressive liberals argue differently...this city makes no claims ...a full on assault of the senses, In my home away from homesthe Occupiers are still Occupying..., close to good music and money.
We take a few days off and the sign goes on a bender cavorts with a sign of ill repute...is jailed and bailed and finally retires to the desert. Thank you for reading...it's been a privilege and a pleasure.
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- Picture of Hand Screaming by Mehrad Azemun