Sometime around the whole WTC massacre, anyway. Gods how the years fly by.
You see, Coyote is perverse. Not perverted, at least, not all the time, but perverse. Coyote people are a lot of fun to be around, but it’s not always fun to be a coyote. Coyotes suffer from chronic foot-in-mouth disease. It’s not that we don’t want self-control, discretion and tact... Being a coyote means that eventually, the truth will come out. If you have to tell friendly lies long enough, a part of the mind starts to whimper and whine. It scratches at the sticky doggy-door of polite niceties, chews at the linoleum, and eventually runs out between your legs when opportunity knocks & you open the door. And once the sly coyote of truth is out in the streets, just try catching that little sucker.
As a coyote, I’m lucky to have the friends I have. Most of them are suckers for the truth. Most of my friends and lovers have been raised in polite society. Polite society only tells the truth as “constructive criticism” to your face. Meanwhile, everyone talks about everybody else in hushed tones and muted whispers. They cut each other to pieces and smile at one another the whole time. A coyote walks into the room & asks, loudly, "So who did you see picking their nose & licking their fingers? Oh, her... Wow, I would have never expected she was a closet booger-eater." When the accused walks into the room, a coyote will ask, "So, how do they taste, anyway?"
A coyote’s friends learn never to ask certain questions. "Does this dress make me look fat?" or "Do you think he’s cheating on me?" are questions just asking for a taste of coyote medicine. Coyotes have a knack for the inappropriate. I was laid off of work recently, and the assistant manager who had the task of breaking the news to people does not have very well developed people skills. As he proceeded to deliver his “I’m sorry, but due to airline cutbacks, yadda yadda yadda...” speech, I reached over, grasped his hand & asked him, "You know what this means, don’t you?" Panic rose in his empty little blue eyes as I stood up & stated, "I'll have to go get my Uzi now, sir." But being a coyote, I couldn’t keep a straight face. My own joke was too funny. A fox person would have waited until the boss wet himself before letting him off the hook.
Murphy was a coyote person, never mind being an optimist. I try really hard to keep from howling, to keep the scruffy yellow pelt hidden beneath my veneer of domestication. But really and truly, a part of me longs to run & sing under orange desert moons. That’s the part of me that can’t leave well enough alone. The part of me that has to get that one word in edgewise, that can’t let sleeping dogs lie. There is no muzzle out there that can contain a snappy comeback or a really, really good one-liner. And like all good hunters (even if it’s small prey), coyotes can’t resist people who leave themselves open to attack in any way, shape or form.
Sometimes when I close my eyes I see a grey Arabian stallion running across the ridge of a red sand dune. He is very real against the clear blue vault of the sky behind him. Sometimes he has all the trappings of some Bedouin’s lost mount, other times he is just there, bare skinned, but he is always racing. His mane and tail stream out like banners, and I can almost see the red of his nostrils flaring, and the deep brown of his eyes. There are no hoof prints in the sand behind him. I like having the horse running around behind my eyes, where no one else can see him, but I’m curious as to how he got there in the first place.
I had a dream once, where Trent Reznor came up to me & told me Coyote had stolen his bride, and I had to go & get her back. I still wonder, "why me, & why Trent Reznor?" I didn’t recognize the man in my dream as even being Trent Reznor until I went to Louisiana & saw his photo in a newspaper.
I also dreamed, or fantasized, of being a deer-herding girl from a tribe of people who herded deer for whatever arcane reasons people herd animals in the first place, and the herd stag had mated with me. I had twins, a boy & a girl, and even though they looked like humans, they had big brown deer eyes, & were covered in deer hair, & they could run like the wind. I knew somehow that when my son got old enough, he would challenge the herd stag, and one would die. This still kind of bothers me, not so much the challenge part, but the fact that in my dream I didn’t mind having twins. Especially because I know my dream self probably breast-fed them, and that grosses me out to no end.
I’m back in Las Vegas now, and it’s pretty much like I never went to Louisiana at all. I know a lot of this has to do with Rob, because I knew he would hate it, and he did, and now we’re back, but that doesn’t make it any better, because I know I gave up. So tomorrow I’m going to go stand in line to get my TAM card & my sheriff’s card, all so I can go to a job that I know I’ll hate, only because we need the money to survive. And it’s back to survival. I worry about the bills piling up, and the rent, and the fact that we don’t have a lease means they can raise the rent any time they want. And believe me, $590 a month is already WAAAAY too much. Especially for not having enough hot water to take a shower, no matter what time in the day you try to take it. And of course Rob went right back to his $6.50 an hour job, so it’s up to me to rake in the big dineros, even though I had a job in Louisiana that was sort of paying the bills. And Rob claims he’s waiting for the County to start hiring again, but to me the County rhymes w/Coyote, especially because every time I try to type County, my fingers try to type Coyote. And Coyotes and County jobs are both unreliable, and prone to laugh at you for trying so hard.
I feel like the fox in the story I just read, "Dreaming Among Men." Maybe I am really a coyote, and my mom & dad picked me up somewhere between here & Fontana, & saw a resemblance in my furry little face to a human child, & they tried to instill humanity in me. But it never really works right, especially when a dog teaches you to walk & your best friend’s a cat that’s not really a cat, and one of your human sisters is a Satanist & the other one’s trying to be a different color than the one everybody else wants her to be, and your dad’s not all the way grown up & has 5 different social security cards, none of them his, & your mom’s a different sort of animal altogether, who wounds just to wound, & never quite finishes playing w/her emotional prey. And I find myself in the desert again, under rain that smells like canals & drunkenness & darkness that is actually darkness, and the sad thing is that I knew I wasn't at home there, but I wanted to be. I think I could have gone from Coyote to Armadillo in 5 or 6 easy lessons. Maybe even learned to be a Nutria if I tried hard enough. I think Nutrias are actually mis-named Capybara, now that I think about it.
I think a lot about running away, and not just running away in space & time, but running away to the ultimate end. Just give up fighting & worrying, give up trying to make things work, running away from trying to put broken things back together. I know it’s because I’m a broken thing, and the only one who can ever put me back together is me. But I don’t know where to start, because there are so many pieces laying around, & I think a few vital parts of me have gotten lost, swept under the couches of memory, or eaten by the dryers of time like so many left socks. I think that’s why Coyotes run w/their tails between their legs - us Coyotes know we’re beaten from the start. Us Coyotes know we’re losers in the game of life. But Coyotes can survive anywhere, and seem to be able to go on living, even w/porcupine quills in their noses, gunshot wounds festering in their flanks, dog-bitten, disease raddled, toothless from biting open old tin cans & chewing off their own legs to get out of traps. I just have to wonder, how many legs do I have left? How many more times can I get shot or eat poisoned bait & survive?
I like the story of La Que Saba, the Wild Woman. I’d like to think that one of these days I might be able to breathe life into old bleached bones, watch them go from bones to wolf to woman, flying off across the washes & mesas, howls turning into laughter & tears. I’d like to be the wolf who comes from under there into the world up here, through the hole in the sky, to rebirth myself in a new skin and sing a new song. I know one day I might actually be free, but at times I don’t think I can wait til I’m old & wearier than I am now. I’m so tired now that I can’t think straight anymore.
I’m sitting here watching a program on the Discovery channel about tattoos, and having tattoos does make me feel like I’m part of some arcane society... I’m looking at these tribal Maori facial tattoos called “moko”. I think when I am old and no longer have to worry about my job potential, I’m going to get facial tattooing. I love the photos of the women from the ‘30's & ‘40's who were prostitutes & circus side show acts, & I wish it was that easy now, & that inexpensive. Here’s a 72-year old woman being tattooed by her daughter - it’s her 2nd tattoo, and she’s not even flinching. I can’t wait til we start making some money again, because I think now if I’m gonna waste a bunch of money, it’s going on my skin.