“Honey, Wild’s on the phone…”

I, presently, don’t inhabit a world where I can howl.

Does this mean anything to you?  Does it seem like an insane query?

I’ve loved and suffered enough beauty and brutality, been stripped bare enough, been far enough out in wild country, to feel the howl living in me.

But I live in a basement with a thin ceiling that is the floor of the house for two studious, sensitive girls.  I acquire food in a grocery store.  I work out in a gym.

When I’m home and reading about things like this, or that, or the other thing; when I’m sitting there writing about pain and hope; when I drain the glass and remember the wonder and terror, I feel the howl living in me.  It stirs in my belly, it reaches a paw up into my throat, my mouth longs to open.  But there is a stentorian guard controlling the drawbridge and he locks the jaw down tight.  What are you thinking, man, he asks, and visions of terrified over dwellers calling the police are played out, and the animal stills.

I remember a time when food was wild first.  When to feed meant to search, to listen, to smell, to run, to take aim and let want and gratitude merge and fly, to kneel on ground with hands of dirt, hands of blood, giving prayers of thanks to a deity that lived in the dying form of animal or plant.

I push my cart, I jostle with crowds, I stare at rows of boxes, I pick up plastic containers and my fingers curl, I imagine fingernails growing, and again that animal stirs.  But the guard is ever vigilant and shows a film of a man gone insane on Aisle 3, ripping open boxes, Lucky Charms stuck to his face, the floor a mess of high fiber and sugary goodness.  So I plod on, standing in line, sliding plastic, beeps and bells and I join the dull throng carrying these dead morsels home.

I’m curling iron!  I stand in front of a mirror, sweating, flushed, my muscles bulging.  I drank a protein shake before I came, I’m going to drink Creatine Surge afterward.  There are sexy people all over the place.  My muscles bulging, I want to howl and throw down the iron and pound my chest in a display of virility.  But instead I count silently to twelve, put the weight back in the right spot on the rack, and go sit in the sauna with the old men reading the paper.


6 thoughts on ““Honey, Wild’s on the phone…”

  1. Should we consider the blog another socially- approved modern equivalent of the howl? A means of communication between members of the pack, and other packs.
    Should we create real public spaces where we can go to howl, to wail? Other peoples and places have walls, and squares, and temples and whole days to mourn together for collective sorrows.
    I howl inside when I read the other thing, too. Then the next day I wake up to another other thing…
    Ow-oooo-oooooo! Ow-ow-ow-ooooooooooo!

  2. I know what you mean about pack-member communication, and in that sense I see the blog more as scratching the bark of a tree or peeing on a certain spot, allowing others to cruise by, have a look or a sniff, and leave their own markers.

    Viewing the howl as a raw, naked expression, I think the blog is antithetical (though seeing how on contentious blogs people go for one another’s throats is certainly a glimpse of the primal).

    I do relish other cultures’ spaces of collective anguish expressed. In general I seek places to howl outside of the human domain, hence not wanting us to create spaces to howl, but to leave spaces alone and free of our constructs where we can step into the howl. But perhaps that’s even being too civilized and if I really seek wild expression, I shouldn’t be afraid to do it in the grocery store. 🙂

    • Piss on the tree is the best blog metaphor I’ve ever read. Spot on.

      I know the howl. Sometimes I need to howl. And for me… well, it’s very hard to howl in the city, surrounded by people. I’m thinking of you, or anyone, running shirtless through the trees; it’s a good memory. I’ve never been to Portland, so I don’t know, but… isn’t there a place you can go when you need to scream?

      Or perhaps I’m taking this too literally. If nothing else, I gotta say: damn, man. I really love your writing. So glad you’re going public.

      • Not too literal ‘tall, and I haven’t quite found the place but I know there’s got to be one around here somewhere…

        Thanks for commenting K$ – I feel like kaleandwine is nimbus’s godmother and it’s now officially received her blessing. 🙂

  3. Reading this just made me feel so lucky to live near a place where one CAN howl — I had a lovely lil’ dialogue with a pack of coyotes on a foggy ridgetop in the Marin Headlands last summer. Very impromptu, very satisfying. And there are coyotes roaming the streets of SF, so they tell me. And this was the birthplace of Ginsberg’s “Howl.” Coincidence?
    Thanks for the words!

    • Yes! So glad you’re out there howling on the Headlands and considering the howls loping through the City Lights and nights.

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