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No, it wasn’t a mushroom cult. It’s that we lived in a dome, a
geodesic dome that we called the mushroom. I arrived after it was
built. It was acoustically perfect, had its own atmosphere.
Occasionally clouds would form in the highest lofts of the dome.

I experienced life in perfect remove. People passed by me, and their
words and movements were sparkling and real. I laughed at the
funniness of all of our hinged movements, elbows and knees, jaws
opening and closing. We all moved like funny animals, like wooden
creatures–animated by energy passing through us. Our feelings,
opining, statements, desires all passed through us and my perceptions
of the others passed through me–they were like abstract creatures to
me. At a certain point, I couldn’t really even understand what they
were saying, and I only recognized the timbre of their sounds, the
colored forms of their bodies and my own inner life worming, inching,
cycling, pulsing, firing and shivering.

I remember Eufencio, green always wore green. Straight up East Los
Angeles character, maybe his parents from the San Gabriel Valley
though? We were the only two from LA I thought, maybe I’m wrong. He
knew Liki Renteria, and we both witnessed strange weather–him a
tornado that almost killed him in 1992 and me a frog-rain in April of
that same year.

Our study center was about 120 miles outside of Rancho El Consuelo,
Sonora. No, there was water, little streams with birds, the bosque was
lavendar at night. We were a little ways away from the water. Stupid
people of the east coast United States, they think that the Sonoran
Desert has no water–or they can’t imagine that the desert could be
blister-hot and have water, both still water and flowing water,
lavender water and brown water. Water that reflected clouds and
reflected only blue sky.

Our routine was the same every day. We woke up at 4:30 in the winter
and 3:30 in the summer. There were teams, water team, building team,
vision team, waste team, of course the lazy-ass art team. We worked in
teams until 5:30, when we heated the water and made mesquite and rice
gruel–saffron yellow stuff. That and coffee, always coffee. Ironwood
fire in the darkness was so orange but disappeared in the light when
the sun and heat rose and gradually all you would see of the fire was
black wood and ash, even though you could hear it crackling! Couldn’t
eat too late or you would lose your appetite in the summer heat.

After breakfast, deep silence and Tensegrity practice in the Dome
until 10:00. At 10:00, we got back into teams and worked on our
projects, with Castaneda making rounds. We never ate lunch, only drank
teas from plants around us all day. “Water, Water, Water, Running and
Laughing Away.”

At the sun’s apex, we would begin sweating ceremonies which lasted
until sundown. One hour after sundown, we would light another fire and
begin making dinner. Usually vegetarian, something boiled or roasted
on a comal. Occasionally, we would have someone on the vision team go
out after dark and come back with a few rodents. Kangaroo rats come
out after dark. You throw a stick at them, heavy stick, kill them,
then put it on a stick, singe off the hair over the fire. Then, you
grind the whole body up into a paste, bones and all, really crush it
down. Add it to the gruel or roast it flat on the comal. Luiseño
style. When I got back to LA, even the radicals looked at me all
disgusted when I told them that. Ignorant people are never very clear
on the fact that we are bodies too, and that seeing a small body
crushed and ground is itself a reminder that we are both crystalline
structures and rotting flesh. The rat’s blue crystalline energy
illuminates my structure before moving on, just as its small
pulverized body passes through me. All these thoughts, my achievements
and creations are made of kangaroo rat, coffee and rice, datura, dried
anchos, grilled nopales, mesquite seeds, fire, ash, water, sunlight.

walking manifesto

February 2014