Monday, April 28, 2003

Make Love not War  

Seems I got to have a, change of scene. Every night I have the strangest dream--Crosby, Stills and Nash, sung by Joe Cocker

I got a call from the Bywater, the ninth ward, yesterday about 2p.m. Two words came out of the phone speaker: "Joe Cocker".
"What???Joe Cocker," I said.
"Joe Cocker", my ninth ward friend and raconteur, Suzie, reported to me.
I was feeling roach-like all weekend, suffering first from an Absolute Vodka hangover from Friday night that evolved into a full-blown stomach virus. Yeecchh! I roamed the corners of my room all weekend and competed with my fat cat for bed space. Now finally the weekend was winding down, and so was the first weekend of jazz fest, and I had nothing to show for it.
"Joe Cocker, 5:30, at the Fair Grounds," she repeated, a little impatient.
I hesitated, ever so briefly. She felt my hesitation through the phone, and I heard her voice grow a little pleading and wistfull on me. That was it, I couldn't refuse.
"He's been a no show three times," she said. "I have a feeling this is going to be it."
I had a feeling too. If Joe were to show up, it would be this year, because this is when the freaks and hippies, the yippies and the neocons, the fascists and the liberals and everyone in-between, this is when we need him the most.

We threaded our way through traffic by taking the St. Bernard Highway, and then skipped into a pretty, middle/working-class black neighborhood for parking. The whole city was out, on the roads, on stoops on the front of houses, smiling, barbecueing. Jazz Fest is a party, wether you go to the fairgrounds or not. Young entrepreneurs sold cold bottled water and soft drinks, hawking their wares loudly, in the middle of the street.
Suzie walking barefoot, thongs tied to her small bag, eating some sort of corn and shrimp dish that she hunted down at the Fair Grounds with a predator's nose. We lounged our way past the American Indian tribe dancing on one of the stages, and I suddenly realized that the thump, thump, thump, thump of their beat is the beat of the heart of the earth, and if anyone can hear it, even today, they can.We languidly made our way along the outer track, Suzie enjoying the soft sand on her bare feet. She gave the rest of her corn and shrimp dish to a startled fireman. We rounded the back of the stage and realized Joe was up and running. He started early and played late. He sang all of his best songs, he sang some I didn't know. I leaped up and down for "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window", one of my all-time fav Beatles' songs. He sang a song about makin' love and not war, and I started crying. I cried several time, so did Suzie. The crowd was rapturous, relaxed. War was forgotten. A few people got shocked out of their fascism, I am sure, by the degree of love all around. Thank you Joe Cocker. Man, I needed that.