We are camped at the KOA in Joplin, MO, surrounded by Interstate Highway, Industrial this and Retail that - Anywhere, America. The roar of traffic is incessant. It blends together in a way it did not at the AOK Campground in St Joseph. Here, it is a dull mono-tone, no vehicle but the occasional motorcycle standing out amid the cacophony.
Lights are all around, sometimes blinding even from a quarter-mile. I block certain lights with certain trees as I dance. I'm in the middle of the campground, dancing to the sound of tree frogs, about ten thousand of them within hearing at various distances. I key on one and then another. Sometimes an underlying rhythm compels them all and I am caught, as by a wave.
I stop dancing to hang a tarp above the tent. Val Kyrie is showering. A group of men are milling around a rentable trailer between the campsite and the shower house. It occurs to me that Val has been gone a long time, longer than seems necessary, and I begin to worry. There is a code to get into the shower house, but the code is the same for the men's and women's showers. An abundance of discomforting images fill my head as I walk to the shower house to check in.
Every so often air pressure is released, suddenly, behind a fence, truck and trailer air brakes maybe. It sounds like a giant animal snorting aggressively, maybe a dragon. Thinking about my fear, this fear of men, of what men are capable of. Where does it come from? Why should I be afraid for Val?
Thinking of St Joseph, four gigs in two days and a strange paradox. Exceptionally well attended, as library gigs for Val Kyrie go, yet so many attendees just sitting there, staring, vaguely hostile in some indefinable way, as if predetermined not to be open, not to enjoy the performance. Val, at one point in the last performance, a bit exasperated - from the heat, humidity, and overall unresponsiveness to her words, to her music - mentioned corn and soybeans. It was clear, many in the crowd had never given any thought to mono-crop corn or soybeans, or what they mean.
The energy, the vitality of a landscape funneled upward and elsewhere, the land poisoned and polluted, local community destroyed and the people made fat, listless and angry. I see the name Jesus everywhere, and yet this tour through the breadbasket has been a strong reminder - in America nothing is sacred but Hierarchy, and the Market.
Who are the men who have brought this fear of mine to this world? Who are the men who maintain it? Walking through this campground in this small but very busy city, revolving security on golf carts patrolling the grounds, I realize in some Nations, I could not say the things I say. In America, we are allowed to say almost whatever we like. We think that is because we are a democracy. I say it is because we are fat and listless, and in our fat listlessness we do not threaten the men who rule this Nation. We are angry too, though we blame everything but hierarchy, and the expectation that we must bow down to the Market. Sky gods telling us hierarchy and the Market are inevitable, that they sustain us, the only reason we do not live like apes.
I can say what I say because there are only about five or six people listening. If there were ten million people reading my words, then sky gods would have reason to be afraid for hierarchy, and the Market that sustains that social pyramid, which they benefit so greatly by.
Val is fine. She is flossing her teeth as I knock on the door and call her name. I walk back to the campsite and continue dancing to tree frogs channeling the Divine. All around us are the tones of Empire, the mad machinations of the Market, the crass, grasping, insatiability of the Machine. Yet even here, the rhythms of the Earth are calling and I know, there is a greater power inside me than any I can be given; I need not bow down to anyone, or anything.
And a message to Deerslayer, who set the tone for this whole tour with a violent criticism of Val Kyrie, in a public forum, though he would not take full responsibility for his words:
I have renounced the gun. What can you say for yourself?