Isolation Report #16 – Hurricane Justice

Isolation Report #16

Shit, Madrid, Kentucky.

(I have received my mission.)

Report : Sunday the 7th of June at 0800 hours. Watchman, swing shift. Mile Post 604, Louisville wharf. It will be my job to take care of two national monuments. One, the only Steamboat left in working condition from the old steamboat days of American River transportation era and the other The Andrew Broaddus. A Life Saving Station that is older than the U.S. Coast Guard. And no this is not fiction. This is really what I am doing right now.

When I first arrived on April 9th, the Covid- 19 was a new bestselling novel and my town was just starting to lock itself down for what was to come. Our corporate lawyer Governor was keeping the peace everyday at 5 pm. with his Andy Griffith style swagger in the form of a daily job briefing slash safety meeting of a sorts – every body find a place of safety, we will get through this, we will get through this together. I am actually glad, he is bringing a much needed calmer voice than the Tea Party dingbat we had before in Bevin, however, this Democrat we got now is privileged to the gills, comes from a lawyer career political family. He has his work cut out for him now. The streets in Louisville now?

Here is the news report:

Hurricane Justice.

Current location, stalled in Jefferson County, Kentucky

Eye Location – Jefferson Square, Downtown Louisville.

Sustained winds of tear gas.

Shops and homes boarded up.

People running for shelter.

Flying objects in the air.

Confusion Break Bones. (FELA)

and BTW, that song sounds like what is going on in my town, look it up. Confusion Break Bones.

This will be my last report from the isolation of this Rough River Location. I will be back staying at one of the busiest intersections in Louisville. Back to the Gonzo neighborhood of town, back to work and back to …. fuck, I don’t know. And that was the point of coming down here in the first place but back when I came, my whole town was not in the condition that it is now. I can’t wait to roll into town. This place Lothlórien, my family hermitage,is awfully lonesome, and that was the isolation I was looking for.

The plan was to come down here and answer some deep personal questions. Take the time to get up in my head and work on some poetry, music, do some emotional reorganization and get back to work when the Belle called. I did work on the poetry. I did collect and compile my songs. And I have as of this word, written 16,000 some odd words of a small book. It feels like I didn’t really get anything done. Except have a vision quest and a feeling of absolute resolve come over me. I got pretty depressed, smoked too many cigarettes, watched too many crazy movies, drove about 1000 miles of back roads, made friends of a few Mennonites and drank a fifth of Kentucky Tavern to boot.

I did stop mourning and now it’s time to Organize. I spoke to the mourning doves! Listened to the owls. Watched Blue Jays have territory wars. This place is a natural fact! I was inspired somewhat moved watching Mennonites work. Their family structure albeit is patriarchal and religious based is quite beautiful Take the good and leave the bad! I feel like I have gone crazy and my methods are unsound. And yes I do quote from Apocalypse Now a bunch, matter of fact I am listening to the Apocalypse Sessions right now that Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead recorded for the documentary, Hearts of Darkness. Once a deadhead, always a deadhead. What a long strange two months it has been.

I am, right now, typing like mad, getting this all out before I report for my mission. I feel like I could punch a mirror and collapse on the floor with a bleeding fist – with blood all over my face naked and broken. Naked. This is me, Y’all. I am worried! It’s time to come home! It takes a worried man to sing a worried song. I am worried now. Deeply worried, maybe even troubled by what I am seeing from the news reports and live Facebook vids.

I read somewheres once that people from Kentucky are always in a state of going home. Well, so be it. I talked with an organizer friend from the Bay Area today for a long time and he talked about Gary Snyder and hwis mountain walks. He gave me an account of what is going on out there in Oakland. We talked about our organizing years ago. We talked Railroad Workers United and Dirty Face and all the Hobo stuff and a possible trip out west.

Today, for some reason, I posted a link to a blog-post about the recording I made with my ex-wife, Tapestry. We did a piece that she was inspired to write from a Wendell Berry poem. And yes I talk about Wendell too much and yes he is privileged out the kwazoo and yes I rode in his truck and yes, yes, yes. And who gives a fuck. I do. Partly my insanity, my Balrog so to speak, that I have been fighting, is all that bitterness of not being able to seemingly get any attention for all the work I did when I decided to quit my job and become a river man. I am a river man. Sort of. I come from the Derby City, where women are fast and horses are pretty, can you hear that thunder, you better run you better take cover, because Hurricane Justice is in town. I digress all the goddamn time Y’all.

I looked up Balrog on wikipedia, I donate to wikipedia BTW, double plus good, and I spelled Balrog correctly. Ok, friends, fellow workers, here is the skinny. Before I came down here, I was making these crazy off the cuff videos and in those vids, sometimes R2D2 would make an appearance. I would ask him questions and my roommate Geoff Gage thought that was funny as hell. When I left the ol’ homeplace to come down here, I said out loud, as I turned the key in my art car, my black stallion – “Set the controls for the Degoba system. Time to go visit Yoda.”

My walking stick that I made from a Sassafras tree was in the back seat. I took that walking stick when I first visited Payne Hollow, Harlan Hubbard’s place, and came on down to the lake to find some conclusions – while my town was dealing with the Corona Virus. I needed to break anyway and conditions were favorable. I did fight the Balrog. I am now John Paul the White. Do y’all get it? All this myth and why? I am hoping this writing presents many questions. I hope young people who understand half of what I am saying will inquire within. This is coming to a conclusion. I am coming home. The war for Middle Earth is upon us. I am leaving Lothlorien, a new man. Really. WTF.

I have to be very honest. One of the other reason I came down here was to find my Anna. That would be Harlan’s wife. Anna Hubbard. I didn’t find her. I tried some Facebook dating, and seriously? I had a fun time making Facebook find all the women who list themselves as “Spirtitual” and whoa was that funny. I got a download that mercury was in retrograde and decided to to some thumb yoga and deleted that APP. Whoa. I did have a visitor. Actually, I had a couple friends come down and that is the point … friends. But, the other night, around a star soaked fire, a friend of mine, I met down river, visited the lake and we had a wonderful night. We talked. And that was all.

Of all the women I have flirted with, she is the one who I do get that fuzzy spark feeling about. She is long and tall and half my age and we are getting to be very close friends. Friends. I am going to have to turn off my feelings for her. I guess that was the lesson I got from that Elder/Student experience. Don’t Stand So Close To Me. Oh, God, here comes word association. The Police, fuck the police, they have been running a little hot. I can barely see the road from the heat coming off of it. Now would be a good time to roll a cigarette, adjust my saddle, reach down between my legs and ease the seat back. God I am so Gen-X … I can only hope Hot For Teacher is next.

So, writing in circles and blowing smoke rings.

This Isolation Report is most likely redundant in some places. It is, what it is. And I must mention again that the woman who crashed her X-wing fighter in my Walden Pond so to say, when she visited ,gave some of the best advice about that worry I was having about talking about Wendell Berry too much. She said, “own it.” She said that down river months ago and it has resonated over and over in my head ever since. And I do own it, in a folkways kinda storyteller way. Now I have lots of work to do because of the inspiration taken from those meetings. I feel like those meetings were me, the warrior, meeting with Wendell, the wise elder, and me, trying not to have a Black Elk Speaks Moment. While she was down here, the woman who visited, that young woman who is questioning her religion and at a juncture in her life, while she was here, our meeting by the river was something to take me away from this life journey that I have been on, it was a nice exit so to say from this highway. We talked about dating and she gave me some real talk. Told me to have patience. We did at least come to a small conclusion, or maybe I did .. we are going to have to stop meeting like this.

So in conclusion.

I’ll be home soon. I have a new found resolve to get back involved in some way in the activism department. I was feeling terribly guilty for being down here, 80 miles away from one of the biggest battles of my lifetime in the streets of my hometown. But … and that is a big but. As a seasoned activist, I am not healthy enuf for front line battles. I am an new elder. However, and that is a transition that make me sound educated. Yo Yo Yo! Steal This Book! Share this story. It’s nuts and going around and around – it is full of name dropping, grammatical mistakes and all that shit. It’s kinda country, kinda city. I am in someways a Southern man, and in someways a hippie. I feel as if I have figured some things out and will be returning to my city, to be in. That’s it … we need a be in. Let’s all BE IN. OK, settle down. Just go home John. OK, I am talking to myself. I think I have gone crazy, maybe a little Gonzo.

So in the tradition of 1980’s rap. I am a bad ass MC. I have a million watts of power coming outta my mouth, making all the young ladies want to scream and shout. With a different beat for everyday of the week, so.

In further conclusion. I am a Fat Boy. Gen-X. Covid19 / LOL — WTF – this is NEWSPEAK 1984. Double plus Good –> Madrid, KY —> GDTRFB —> 8 more miles to looieville —> Slipknot —> Drums —> Wendell Berry —> Uncle John’s Band —> Catfish John —> Ginseng Sullivan —> U.S Blues

enc. Sing Me Back Home.

This has been one hell of journey into the self. I do feel I have left a certain Slipknot. I can’t wait to pack up and come home to whatever the hell this is.

See you on the boat!

John Paul Wright

Dead Set on departure.

Madrid, Kentucky

06/02/2020

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Isolation Report #15 – The Fall of King Louie – #louisvilleprotests

Isolation Report #15

It is an absolutely picture perfect day here in Breckinridge County, Kentucky! A good day to spit some truth, I guess. I am not very happy. Happiness comes and goes, but today feels like a seriously difficult day. The fact is, I am isolated and that is good in the context of what I am trying to do here. But, many of my friends took to the streets last night and it got real ugly, real fast in my hometown. Louisville, Freaking Kentucky. So, not only am I now isolated and sheltered in place, a feeling of helplessness and dread is hovering over my last couple of days. I can manage. This is not my first rodeo! Won’t be my last. I have been religiously taking all the medicine I use to fight depression, doing my work per se’.

First of all, I do not do drugs! On purpose! None. Except nicotine and caffeine. I have been drinking a shot or two of Bourbon here and there. Old Forester 86. I do that to keep just a little bit of that Whiskey Gentry flowing in my veins. To maintain a certain sense of place perspective. It’s a Kentucky thing, many wouldn’t understand. So last night, I was watching one of my favorite movies, Hearts of Darkness, about the making of Apocalypse Now until I switched over to watch a friends live stream of the protests right as a protester rips King Louie the 6th’s hand off. Hell fucking yes, I thought. How freaking historical is that! I watched several hours of live-streaming from the front lines and finished my movie and went to bed.

Tonight the protest, the protest that is sanctioned mind you, is being called to start at the Muhammad Ali Center. Really? If last night the King’s hand was cut off, hell, what could possibly happen when folks show up en mass at Cassius Clay’s house. Maybe throw the King Louie statue from the second street bridge? That would be something to live stream and not to mention one hell of a splash. And that is it! Louisville! We are fucking crazy! The other medicine that I have been taking, other than watching movies about journeying into the self, has been listening to Hunter S. Thompson’s essays about Louisville and Ali. My question to the maker of the poster for tonight’s party at Cassius Clay’s house is: Has the Freak Party been reorganized? The poster looks like something Hunter would have done. Fuck, work it … I need a glass of water, boy oh, boy it’s good to know ya. Sorry. I have a celebrity crush on Missy Elliot and Louisville is on the cuff of the Dirty South, I digress, often.

My twitter is blowing up. I am @rivercityjp reporting and the Trillbilly Workers Party retweeted my tweet about Louisville cutting off the King’s hand. Twitter is a bad neighborhood I try not to get involved with. But, if you want to hang out with reporters and writers, you gotta go there. The Trillbillies made their fame being crazy redneck, lesbian militant, red and in your face. My kind of folks. I think I was one of the first to support their Patreon. I can’t support it now and they don’t need my help. They are making shit tons of money from their Eastern Kentucky jive. I am broke. Yeah goddammit. However, nobody likes a complainer. I am a fan. They get it, many don’t.

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One of my friends on the front lines of last night’s wild cat freak out in UofL’s town, Hunter’s Louisville, is a feller who was over in Charlottesville for that bloody Harlan style union struggle. He is what they call Antifa. He is an old head puck rocker. Been in many rodeos. So, he is my go to for inside information when it comes to police tactics and protest strategy, Charlottesville started when Antifa and other protesters, clashed with white supremacists over a Robert E. Lee statue. See, friends, listen; What the hell am I writing? This is supposed to be an isolation report from a guy hanging out in the country. This is starting to sound crazy. Yes! Goddamn right, never get out of the boat! In many ways, I feel like I got out of the boat and did what Kurtz did in that insane movie Coppola made. I split from the whole fucking program. This fucking place I am at now is called Lothlorien. I am ready to get on the sailing ships and sail away … the battle for Middle Earth, I digress, see, I can’t help it.

I digress because I have been devouring the Sufi work of Idries Shah, Joseph Campbell’s audio books, watching Tolkien movies, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror. The Horror. The Bourbon I have been taking for medicine was given to me by an Arab woman. She is an international photographer. A couple of weeks ago we had a shelter in place party. She had never seen the hippie version of the Jesus Christ story. She did see the Tunisian revolution first hand. I am not sure she knew what really was in that Bourbon she gave as a visiting present. Old Forester is the elixir of the gentry! It is why the Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved. Mix 1 part Brown, with 1 part Bingham, add some Anne and Carl Braden and you will have a loaded, volatile drink that will set the streets of Louisville on fire! We watched The Southern Patriot as well. A documentary about Louisville’s Carl and Anne Braden. They sold a house to a black family in 1954 and the shit hit the fan.

Jesus! I feel like Hunter Thompson is here in this room saying yes! Keep Typing! Yes brother freak em out! Go For it! Go .. and I never really paid any attention to Hunter’s work until just recently. That’s my friend Ron Whitehead’s department. As a writer, I guess I am that now? I know to be careful name dropping. As a folk musician, well, Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed Fascist so I guess I’ll keep going, I had a chance to speak with Hunter’s son, Juan Thompson several times. Once at one of Ron’s events. We ended up talking about a Sufi friend of mine from my railroad days. I saw Juan at a Homefront event and we talked briefly. Homefront is the Louisville equivalent of a Pete Seeger hootenanny. I saw Juan a couple months ago at a Sufi Circle. I wonder what Hunter would think about that. It makes perfect sense actually. Sufi is radical. Very. Just ask Idries Shah.

So, back to the fighting depression part of this report. I am lonesome as hell. I have a PHD in railroad lonesome metaphors. Last week I drove over to Rosine, KY, the place that High Lonesome Sound of Bill Monroe was borned. I am several clicks above the bridge of no return, on a self help retreat in fear of never coming back, I have been talking to the heir of Harlan Hubbard’s throne just about every other day. Harlan got off the boat and split from the program. I feel almost certain that when I do come back to town, things for me will be quite different. This two months in almost absolute isolation other than very slow rural-Internet rendered social media has been a blessing in disguise. Duality. It takes two to tango and there is certainly two sides to every story. I think today’s medicine will be to overdose on some Sun Ra! Lanquidity to be exact. “There are other worlds, they have not told you of, that wish to speak with you!” Space is the Place. Shit, Madrid, Kentucky. I am waiting on a mission, going crazy and having a time!

Solidarity

John Paul Wright

Madrid, Kentucky

05-29-2020

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