More than a decade has passed since those days on the river, with the smell of desperate chance, chickory and ganga in the air. (Jackson Square at its finest.) Though we were fearful and homeless, in those days we still had hope. The world was smeared out before us for our bleary bidding. Our cares were minimal. Our needs, basic at best. Our greatest concerns were who was holding what that night and what wig to wear with those shoes. We were tactless and tacky and we wore our own inane - if not insane - brand of five-and-dime fabulosity on our sleeves with pride.
We were The Young Ones. We were the Lost Boys (and gurrls) of the Big Easy: Livin' it hard, burnin' it up, and tearin' it down. What ever it was. Our stage was The Streets. Our cast, a cacophony of Gutter Punks and Drag Queens; High Rollers and Hookers; Poets, Potheads, Vampires, and Waitresses; Runaways and Royalty. We were addicted to the gutted and glittered glamour that was the tourist's Bourbon Street. We were addicted to the rough trade in the back rooms of Rampart. We were addicted to everything in between, never realizing it was all one and the same.
Looking back now, as what passes for an adult, I often wonder how we survived. We were kidnapped. We were drugged (irony, I know). We were held at gunpoint and raped over the hood of a beat up Chevy, only to learn the gun wasn't loaded. We were arrested; we were released. We stole. We drank. We partied. And eventually, we all turned on one another...
I guess it's all part of the process. It became the journey that brought us all to the crossroads at which we now stand - good, bad, or indifferent; for better or worse. The destruction was the creation (or was it the other way round?) that destroyed us all, and created the monsters we have become. We are our own end result in whatever medium we now choose to exist... Looking out at yet another smeared world and its own hot mess of possibility. Of promise, perhaps, even?
Are we really any more the wise now than we were then? Did all the bloodshed and tears and accompanying battle scars really leave us any wisdom in its wake? Or are we just stuck in an obligatory purgatory of all that is expected. In running from that life, did we run headlong into this one - in a losing game of tit for tat???
I really don't know anymore.
The most disconcerting aspect of it all, though, is that I don't know which is worse: this life, or that one. In this new world, I feel caged. My spirit feels bound and gagged; tethered to a life I don't understand and can not seem to make a go of being a part of. Inversely, who in their right mind would long for a world of park bench amenities and laundry mat Christmases just so their soul felt free?
Surely there has to be a balance in it all somewhere... Or is She Who Holds the Scales just as tipsy, fucked up, drunk, and crazy as we all once were.
Someone please pass the acid... And go ask Alice.
I think she'll know...