“So Ana tells me your 80% bullshit!”
Marshall wasn’t holding back. I had been at his place for two days so far, sleeping in the teepee I had helped erect the day arrived. It was located outside his mobile home which was located in the forest on Orcas Island and surrounded by bowling balls half embedded in the earth. I sure about the bowling balls. I wasn’t sure why I was there. I was aware of what was happening and what had happened on the way here to Marshall's…..the being emptied of money by the time the bus had reached Seattle, the hitchhiking to Anacortes at night and being picked out by archetypes large enough that I knew I was being guided by unseen hands; the Innocents, the Man seeking Redemption, the Carpenter. I had arrived to Marshall’s empty and in a quiet terror. I was to stay with him for four days.
We met by surprising each other. He was in Los Angeles to do a drumming workshop at Ana’s yoga studio. I was at her house picking out some recyclables to take away. We both ran into each other on the walkway turning a corner of the house. Marshall burst into a coyote like grin and his eyes shone the words, “No coincidence.” I knew something was going on. When he saw me at the workshop, the ante was doubled. He and I both knew it. By the end of the weekend I was in tears, him telling me I had died a shaman’s death……a description I could and could not understand.
He was half-Irish, half Nez-Perce Indian. A Viet-nam vet and medic who felt the spirits of soldiers as they died move through him as he held them in his arms. It was to much for him and on his return to the states became a cocaine addict. He pulled himself out of it, got clean and elder of a tribe not originally his own. In Potter-spak, he was a Muggle, a half breed, not a full blood. So his elders told him he was to be one of the one to bridge the gap between the native and wachisu, the whites. He was catching a lot of shit from the full bloods for doing so.
I can’t believe what I am hearing. Even worse, I am stunned by my own behavior compounded by the fact that I cannot stop myself from acting the way I am. He is so present. He literally tells tells me to walk in one direction. I walk in the other. He shakes his head and laughs. I tell him I am a dreamer and that I can read dreams. He shakes his head and laughs. I tell him I am this horrible human being. He shakes his head and laughs.
I continue to throw what I realize to be psychic punches at him. They keep coming back and hitting me in the face. This is not a metaphor. I feel my words bounce of him and hit me. I can not stop. I feel possessed. In this mobile home, surrounded by evergreen trees, Washington state dampness, embedded bowling balls in the ground and a palpable buzzing outside everywhere that I can only describe as energy, here sits Marshall Bliss, smiling that coyote grin, ripping me a new asshole.
“Have you thought of joining the Army?”
Marshall sits in front of me in his worn, blanket covered Barca-lounger. His cat purrs on his lap. A small fire burns in the fireplace near us, fueled by wood that I had split that day and providing enough warmth for the three of us. At his feet are 3-4 flat, round drums he is making by request. The mobile home is dense with stuff for craftmaking….bison hides, beadwork and other accoutrement. It also has a well lived in and practical feel with all weather plastic boots on the floor alongside his cowboy boots, jackets on the rack near the door to my left and a bookshelf full of more craft supplies….leather straps, sticks, paints and smaller hides. Behind me is the kitchen and the windows that opens to the view of the forest, the dirt road driveway, and Marshall’s motorcycle, a second-hand highway patrol Kawasaki 1000 with a bison hide covering the seat. He sits in his lounger. I sit across from him on a wooden stool. It feels bright and warm here. I want to cry. Join the Army? Am I this hopeless? It’s my worst nightmare. Nothing moves. Not even the cat. I can’t look him in the eyes. I don’t know what to say. What can I say? Either way, I am screwed. I’m screwed now. Helpless. Hopeless. And there doesn’t seem to be any way out of this. Am I that bad? He sits there in his grey wool socks, blue jeans, plaid red and black long sleeved Pendleton shirt. His hair is jet-black and braided, the braids dropping over the sides of his head. He is thin, wiry, unmoving and so fucking present. I want to crawl somewhere, anywhere, into the nearest hole/whole. I’ve got another 2 days here and then another 4 til I go back to Los Angeles. I came here to stay here. I cut all ties and then had all the ties cut for me. I wanted his power. Instead, I feel like the ½ dead mouse being batted around by the cat.
I’m here. I’m now. And I’m fucked.
“You’re not as great as you think you are….and you’re not as fucked up as you think you are.”
I panic. There’s a reprieve in that somewhere. I don’t know how to take it. Brain spinning. Palms wet. Palms fucking wet? My palms don’t get wet. I have nothing left to respond with. Nothing left. Maybe that’s it……
When you’ve got nothing left, you’ve got nothing to lose.