A Bum's Dream


Wednesday 15 September 2010

I have this dream.  It's a bum's dream.  I read online about a man in Utah in the States who lives in a cave with no money.  Something in me soars at the idea.

Of course it's a utopian dream that the ground which we walk upon and which sustains us could be free, not fenced off into small commodities that people shore up into their bank accounts.

I know that will never happen.  And anyway, the songlines were broken up.  How else would a people live on this land when the songlines were broken up?  But nevertheless, dreaming is still free.

Living in a cave would be a crazy, wild and whacky thing to do, as far removed from my present reality as the thought of not having to pay a thousand bucks' rent a month, of having to do jobs I despise, of being paid to do things I like.  But everything changes, and strange things are realities.  Indeed, one of my best friends lived in a cave in Spain for eight months, hardly spending a cent, doing yoga in the sunrise.

I wonder if you lived in a cave in Buchan, or the Grampians, how long it would take for the authorities weed you out and move you on.  Back in the thirties in the Great Depression, itinerants set up camp in the land at the end of Dudley Street and along the Moonee Ponds Creek, over 60 humpies.  They flew under the radar until World War II because this area was considered a wasteland of sorts,  under nobody's jurisdiction.

What a grace the wastelands are.

The authorities do not like people to clutter up the landscape in this way today.  It gets in the way of tourism.  Cluttering up the landscape with your need is an ill-considered spectacle when there are housing estates that contain like-minded blocks with the same coloured roof tiles, their doors shut tight against each other.

I worked for several years in the CBD of Melbourne, transcribing court cases acted in by lawyers and presided over by strangely attired judges.  There were so many statutes and rules and sections of Acts to follow, handed down over the years, composed into tomes, that the situation right before them needed to conform into.  The most interesting conversations I had on the streets of Melbourne at that time were with a homeless woman with a penchant for philosophising who the cops harassed regularly for cluttering up the outsides of Flagstaff Station.  We sat on the ground together and ruminated on the nature of stuff.  She had irregular dreads, irregular teeth, an irregular psychology that kept her out there.  God, I loved my conversations with her.

She discovered, slowly, she was an artist in her preceding years living in the city.  She sold her art, beautiful, complex geometric patterns on black paper, drawn with gold or silver gel pen, drawn almost in a trance, soothing and smoothing out her soul somehow.

I have an overactive nervous system.  I have gone from one acronym to another, from CFS - chronic fatigue syndrome - to HSP - highly sensitive person.  It's just a label, something for me to discard on a deeper level, something helpful in other ways to understand this body I inhabit.  On a frazzled day, a visit to the shopping centre can send me almost spare, needing a good meditation session and a yoga session to boot, to recover me from the fluorescent lights, the plastic shit, the wafting anxiety of the people walking past to buy plastic shit, intent in the lie that they are different from, separate to, the other that they are hating in front of them, getting in their way.

I feel like I take in so much some days that it thumps my heart, floods my adrenals.  Too much.  I see too much, it revs up the circuitry.  Like a 5/4 rhythm composed upon a jangle of nerves.

That's how it is some days.  I think that's why the cave looks so good sometimes.  Less need for working as long, space to think, to ponder, to piece together, no rent.  Just as long as I had access to a shower, so the library would let me in to use their internet connection :)

The supermarket washing powder aisle was one traversed with bated breath when I was living in the previous acronym, CFS.  What they put in that shit I do not know, but the smell rammed itself in through my eyeballs and fuzzed up into my head.  No one is so dirty that they need to get that clean.