January 8, 2013 in Resistance
The first Indiana Jones movie
came out when I was eleven years old
while I was milling around middle school.
I saw it with my brother
in a theater by our house
in the suburbs of Orange County.
It affected me.
Like Star Wars it filled me with an unconscious
mythology that stayed with me
to this day.
the wild archeologist
on incredible adventures
risking his life
and battling dark forces
having to make a living
as a teacher
hiding his alpha-male qualities
and a bowtie
somehow parallels my adult
the last twelve years.
The writer in me
is the wild archeologist.
I’ve been out there fighting the corrupt establishment.
I’ve lost so many jobs
I’ve almost lost my mind
and my life.
I’ve drank whiskey
out of a flask
after jumping off a five-story waterfall
in the Grand Canyon on a head full of acid.
I’ve been in a psychedelic punk band.
I’ve had clay monster heads displayed
I’ve painted paintings mirroring
some of the demons I’ve faced.
I’ve lost my wife in a divorce
and my sister in a car accident
and my girlfriend from a cyborg of myself
programmed with a script
written by aliens running this corporate
space ship ready to blow any time.
I’ve written six novels
and six poetry books
and I’m still writing
despite the system
doing everything in its power
to whip the wild out of me.
Seven different districts as a substitute teacher.
Three of them fired me
for using the teacher’s computer
to write poems like these,
two of them fired me
for drawing on white boards
and playing music for students
and whatever bullshit reasons
came up when I was forced
to wear the mask
of dutiful civilian.
The emotional battles
and summer jobs
and cleaning gum off the floor
of a snack bar in Orange
and pulling weeds in a yard
four days a week
and watering indoor plants
in offices with women
zombiefied after drinking the Black Sleep
of Kali Man
and write ups
and threats from administration,
and bar hopping
in the role of loser
and weeping myself to sleep,
often mimicked the mythology
of Indiana Jones
searching for the treasures of truth,
which is, in my mind, the individual’s path,
the individual’s right to express himself.
One of the middle schools I’ve subbed for
in L.A. Unified played the Indiana Jones theme song, written by John Williams, during passing periods when students were rushing to their classes.
If I was getting a cup of coffee
or heading back to my assigned class
after using the restroom
while students rushed past me
and clamoring with their backpacks
bouncing up and down,
hearing the song, I couldn’t help but smile.
I hadn’t given in. I hadn’t given in to the pressures
of taking a full time teaching career in the fear
of not being able to survive in the future,
in the fear of not having benefits, of not finding work in the summer, not having job security
during the holidays.
I hadn’t given in to the pressures
of having a family
or the pressures of family obligation.
I hadn’t given in to the isolation
or the feelings of being a failure
in the eyes of my colleagues
and family and friends.
The administration didn’t know.
The teachers didn’t know,
although some of the students might’ve known
from the few that read my children’s novel
or the few high school students
I’d read some of my poems to
or the ones who could see me from a telepathic instinct observing my swagger
or catching a wild glint in my eyes.
It wasn’t just a movie’s theme song anymore,
that music playing over the loudspeakers.
It was my theme music.
I’d earned it.