The Return Report – News @ The Eleven

Rain on the scarecrow, blood on the plow. So, I loaded up the art car for a trip back down to this family lake house some 80 miles west of my hometown of Louisville and hit the road about sundown. Time to get the fuck out of dodge. Loaded up my aging chocolate lab Duke like he was R2D2. Duke is 16 years old and riddled with cancer and arthritis. So, I gently placed him in the back seat. Put on one of my favorite Grateful Dead recordings, Live Dead and now it’s the test of the boomerang, tossed into the night of redeeming. So this is the return.

It rained like a motherfucker all the way out Dixie Highway. 31w. Fort Knox. Out highway 60 twords Owensboro, Kentucky. Follow 60 until you get to that place that used to be called, “Hog Wallow” Kentucky and then follow 333 into the winding roads of Central Kentucky, industrial farming … dot dot dot … and I know these roads like the back of my hand. Country roads, take me home, I digress, often.

When I left this place in the spring, Louisville was all crazy, the pandemic was setting in, and the national guard had been called into the streets of town. I was spending time out here, so as to get away from all the bullshit drama of how Kentucky was just going to just have to deal with this almost unreasonable attempt at a Government issued MRE packet style monetary assistance project. When I left, I was just getting to know the Mennonite family out on the “state” road. Now I am back, Breonna Taylor is the acting mayor of Louisville and the pandemic is?

The pandemic is whatever you think the pandemic is. Because nobody trusts anything. The news makes no sense and because this country has been pushed to the brink of civil war, culture war, go ahead and try and make heads or tails out of this that or the other. Out here in Central Kentucky, it is a whole different ballgame. Wear a mask of social distortion out here in farm country and get your ass run off. This place is no place for a revolution. This is industrial farming and Anarcho-syndicalism territory. One of the last conversations I had with the Mennonite father was about what his politics might be. Of course “they” don’t participate in American politics, so my definition of his brand of “Anarchist Action” fell of Pennsylvanian German, whatever the fuck language “they” speak deaf ears.

So, this is the return report. This is a brief announcement. Follow this site for more. Share this link and all that Jazz. My plan is to write like crazy and stay down here for a while. More to come, news at eleven. Or The Eleven. That is that boomerang reference. Robert Hunter wrote that poem for the Dead. Got it? Pay Attention and you do the googling. I’ll file the reports, you do the math. This report is being filed with an on-line zine that my Shanty Boat friend Wes Modes is running. Unavoidable Disaster. Look it up. He is at his makeshift California deportee camp now. Run off by fire! He is a real Burning Man, know what I mean, Vern?

John Paul Wright

Madrid, Kentucky

Calamese Creek

https://unavoidabledisaster.com/

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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Utah Phillip’s Guitar – Solidarity Forever!

Imagine you are a blues musician and somebody asks you if you would like to use Jimi Hendrix’s guitar for a gig. Or imagine you are a Deadhead and Jerry Garcia’s guitar shows up in your living room for a couple of days. Now imagine you are a folk musician and Utah Phillip’s son in on tour and you are hosting him for a performance and he brings along his Dad’s old Iconic Guild. THE guitar with Joe Hill’s ashes in it. Well, this track from my recording project #RAILROADED is me, playing Utah’s old AX at a performance. It was sort of like a religious experience! Enjoy! and Happy May Day!

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Time Capsule – (A guide to Faith in the modern world)

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Time Capsule –

(A guide to Faith in the modern world.)

Introduction

First and foremost, I guess this is my Autobiography. I am sort of killing two birds with one stone. I want to leave my Son a good idea of who his Pop is/was. I have wanted to write a book about faith, God, religion, politics and all the things you are not supposed to talk about at the Thanksgiving dinner table, for some time now. I want to tell some tall tales, maybe, help you make heads of tails out of this that and the other. I want to lay down some Myth, spit it on the mic! One, Two, One Two, mic check, testing testing, Houston, we have a problem. I digress often.

To write about what I believe, I think it would be important to state what I do not believe first. Then, write about certain events throughout this life ( of a half century ) that have fortified what I have come to believe as of now. Today. This year. I also think that it would be important to give a bit of a historical context to the make up of the unreasonable reality from where this rendering of a life experience is coming from.

If there was one thing I would want to shine through this writing – that one thing would be a light of hope. I am dedicating this book to my Son, Jonah William Malik-Wright as well as dedicating this book to the youth. The new generation of seekers, poets, musicians and kids. Generation ?, whatever the hell THEY are going to call you to try and get you to buy some shit. THEY call me Generation X. With a big G.

I do not believe in God, Our Father, who art in heaven. I do not believe God is a person, place or thing. I do not believe that God lives in stone buildings, built hundreds of years ago or that God can be found in a book. However, I do think, Bob Dylan was on to something when he sang, “you don’t ask questions when God is on your side.” You will notice the word God will remain capitalized throughout this book.

That is because, although I do not believe in the traditional suggestions of God, I do believe in positive and negative. I do believe that at one time, there was a Buddha, a person named Muhammad, (pbuh). I think the Veda’s are interesting as well as Jedi, Hobbits, and the Ring of Power and the Force and all that jazz is … I have seen the H.H. The Dalai Lama twice ( bless his heart! ) and not to mention, no matter how you feel about Jesus, in most hotel rooms in the USA, there is a Bible. So, Jesus exists there for sure. I would not call myself an atheist or an agnostic. I am a serious fan of Sun Ra. Space is the Place and dig this as we kiss the sky together, in my opinion, when Jimmie Hendrix played the guitar, I think he was tapping into that place where God is located, I feel the same way about John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and friends, dig this …

I was a deckhand at the largest riverboat casino in the world. The riverboat casino is an idea that is almost defunct. Defunct. When the Ohio River flooded, the company I worked for put us up in the casino hotel while we worked the boat. The company I worked for was Caesars. Get this, there is a Bible in the top drawer of the hotel, named Ceasers. WTF, LOL, SMHROTFL double plus good … go figure. Render unto Caesar the least as possible is my faith. Amen, and Womyn too. Good luck, you are going to need it.

Forward

The year is 2020. I started this book on March 22nd . There is a global pandemic that has spread across the globe and in a manner of weeks has shut down the economies of almost every country it has effected. Covid 19! A flu that attacks the victims respiratory system. The political fabric of the United States is split almost 50/50. There are only two political parties one can choose from and Corporate America has found favor in a President who infamously made his wealth by bankrupting the many businesses that he has owned. The POTUS rose to power from the fame and name recognition of being a media mogul, hotel / casino slash game show host. Go figure. LOL. SMH. Double minus good.

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where this book is being written, a Corporate Lawyer, son of a deeply entrenched Democratic Party political family is the Governor. The Kentucky Derby, a horse race built on the exploitation of horses and human vice has been postponed for the first time in it’s many year history. I have been furloughed from my job as Steamboat Fireman on the Str. Belle Of Louisville and am enjoying the hush money the government is giving out so as to keep people from hitting the streets in protest. Amazingly enough, there are pockets of people protesting. Some of the protesters are being paid to protest by right wing front groups, so I guess they are not employed? Who knows? The people who normally are accused of being paid protesters are accusing these folks of being paid protesters, so it is pretty confusing. If what they say about the Flu is true, Darwinian theory will tell the tale of the protesters assembling in groups to protest being paid to stay home. I am worried about small local business, however, I digress, often.

Except for the fact that Capitalism is still the economic policy of this country and most of the developing world economies, everything is going just fine. Past the normal levels of poverty and protection of the status-quo and unknown levels of violence and disaster from the results of various wars against people, small farmers and land . In the United States, War has been subcontracted out mostly to private mercenaries for the free trade use of the global oil and gas companies. Most of the population of the United States could not tell you where the United States Military is active or non active. The Internet is the main media source and Facebook ( a crowd sourced media platform built on human vanity ) is the mainstream media choice for many folks in their 30’s and older.

Christian Religions still find favor in the hearts and minds of a few pockets of American society. Science and Reason still exists, thank God, and folks are generally aware automation and technology is looming just around the corner to replace most repetitive jobs. The first self driving cars and trucks are being manufactured and tested. Freight trains are almost self driving and there are rovers on Mars still sending information back to a mostly privatized Space Program, Yet, we still do not have high speed rail. Many of the highest selling video games being marketed to the gamer populous are dystopian first person, doomsday, thematic, drone training exercises. Eastern religions and new age belief systems are on the rise, Yoga is a popular past time and there ya go, have at it … Let The Games Begin! Basically, everything has gone to pot. Weed is almost legal in every state in the nation. CBD oil and THC, USA and … GOD, guts and country.

John Paul Wright

Madrid, Kentucky

2020

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Isolation Report #1

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Isolation report #1.

This morning, I think the third day of leaving Louisville for the solitude of the lake, I wrote an inspired piece and published it on my blog. If anyone is interested in Rumi poetry, I have studied that work, been to many of the sources and the piece is chocked full of tidbits of information about how Coleman Barks came to be one of the most popular poets in the USA. I sent him a link to the article. The last time we talked he told me a story about seeing the Steamer Delta Queen in Chattanooga.

Went to town. Was going to go to town yesterday but a wind storm blew a tree over the road and plans were changed. Nothing much going on in town. Walmart was not as busy as I thought it would be, finally got a good loaf of bread. Their two for one dollar pies need to not be on sale. I am a sucker for a good pie and they are not bad. I hate Walmart, but, and however and say no more, nudge nudge, going straight into the heart of American culture is fun sometimes.

The Mennonites are planting their gardens. Plowing their fields. They have a big pile of horse shit and dirt piled up to spread over. Got a wave from the woman who makes quilts and also repairs them. Her gardens are ready to go, she has greens in the green house and many chickens in the yard. The windmill at the other big house was spinning. I think they use it for water pumping.

horse

The Mennonite boy was plowing today. He has five big workhorses tied up to a plow. I have watched him season by season become an experianced field worker. A couple of seasons ago, I watched as his father taught him how to plow using the horses. He was about nine and it looked funny seeing a kid in charge of that much power. Five big horses. Big ones. Beautiful. The fields, absent the tractor plowing, really look amazing. Brown, rich, ready to work!

Played the Banjo a bit today. Went on a walk down by the lake. The water rose about 3 feet with the rains. Got a bit of firewood split yesterday when I thought the electricity might be out for a while. Got plenty of good food. Polished and sharpened an old kitchen knife I think was my Grandma’s. That is what I love about this place. There is a little bit of my family everywhere.

Talked today with my buddy Paul Hassfurder. Paul inherited the hand built house that Harlan built when he was in his fifties. We talked about what Harlan Hubbard would have said about this pandemic. I think about Harlan a-lot. Paul is always good for a Harlan story. I bought a peach pie today because the last time I went to Payne Hollow we stayed up late and eventually ate a whole peach pie together by the fire. We sat up all night talking about art, music, and he would tell stories about the Hubbards. That memory of that night is good for peach pies.  I will not forget the story he told about when Harlan was bit several times by a copperhead on the foot.  What a fireside story. While I visited Paul, I read Harlan’s Payne Hollow Journal sitting by the fireplace that is illustrated in the first pages while sitting in the chair he wrote the book in. 

The plan for the rest of this evening will be to drink some more of this good decaf coffee, fart around, finish listening to this Idries Shah podcast. Might play some guitar, might not, might work on some poetry, might not. Might build a fire and sit by it and call it mediation. I am good at that.

March 14 – 2020