Monday, May 30, 2005

There is a puppy next door that wails whenever its humans are gone. They're gone a lot, like right now, and the dog's constant, high pitched grieving is irritating me to my core. I confronted my neighbor about it last week. He defensively said that the animal will soon outgrow its cry. It's been two months, though, with nothing changed. I've even talked to the animal itself and pleaded for mercy. S/he seemed to ask, "What's in it for me?" I didn't have an answer.

I look forward to finding my own place.

I know why I've been a little uninspired to write of late--it's the 40-hr. work week. My job is great and all, but it requires me to go to bed early so I can awaken early. But midnight is when my peak creative hours are. I was sacrificing sleep for a while, and it caught up with me. I still want to write daily, though.

I'm driven to write. To create. To entertain. To endure.

There's no telling what my motives are, and I'm not sure if they're healthy either. It sometimes feels like I'm avoiding certain things so I can do other things. Why do some people, like Arnold S., constantly work out physically? Why do others, like Buddhist monks, pray all day? Why does my father keep building houses and my mother study and read? (These feels like lyrics to Prince's "When Doves Cry." Maybe I'll rename it "When Dogs Cry.")
Yesterday I performed at the 19th annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora, ND. Medora is only 113 kilometers (70 miles) away. It was fully unexpected. Farmor introduced me to the founder of the gathering, Bill Lowman, yesterday morning and offhandedly announced that I knew some poems. Without hesitation he asked if I'd like to be added to the bill. I stammered "uh, well, I...sure!" and it was thus written. Lowman, it should be noted, has one of the most incredible and famous moustaches ever. In fact, I saw more bizarre handle-bar moustaches in that one room, yesterday, than I've seen in my whole life. No shit! But Mr. Lowman probably had the most original. I won't even try to explain it.

Lowman the Cowman from Bowman. Sandman the Ranch Hand from the Bad Lands. Hmmm...

Anyway, my time in the spotlight, along with 20 other novices, was brief. I was obviously not a main attraction. It was still an amazing experience. A lot of these novice poets/singers are legendary cowboys. Take for instance Dean Armstrong, who sang a couple songs from his wheel chair. Dean was part of the "Six Pack"--a group of six western North Dakota bronc riders who traveled together and won championships throughout the U.S. and Canada during the 1950s. After the show I helped him put his wheel chair in the back of his pickup. He and his wife, Fran, invited me to visit their Diamond Bar Ranch someday to swap songs.

Here's a good link to read more about him with some good photos, too.

While in Medora I visted the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame, which is still in the process of being established. Dean was one of the first to be inducted. Last year my great uncle-in-law, Walt Neuens, was posthumously inducted.

At day's end I was cowboy'd out. As Dad and I drove back to Killdeer I cranked a CD compilation of African songs to help me unwind. The funny thing, though, is African music fits better than Country in this arid, ancient, grassland region of west Dakota. If I ever get a chance to act or direct a "Western" movie I'll be askin' Habib Koite or Lobi Traore for help with the soundtrack.

By the way, the crowd received my poem ("Jack Potter's Courtin'") and song ("The Cowboy's Life is a Very Dreary Life") very warmly, and it felt strangely natural to be in their company. In fact, almost too natural for comfort. I'm more used to acting a fool in front of college kids. That could change, though.


Anonymous said...

ahhh, you're back.
i would like you to try to explain mr. lowman's moustache. i mean, i am interested and would appreciate the description. my world, currently, has no amazing moustaches.
mmmmm.... one beautiful mullet though.

Chris Sand said...

I saw a couple out-of-this world mullets yesterday too. One guy was shaved bald except for a huge outgrowth of hair on his occipital bone--the ulti-mullet!

As for Lowman, you'll have to do a web search.

Who possesses the mullet you speak fondly of?

Chris Sand said...

Oh, here's one:

Anonymous said...

Well I am glad to hear you will be playing in Bismarck & I think a potluck would be a good idea. That is all for now.