This piece is introduction to The Shady Grove, based on my experience as a resident of the trailer park by the same name in Van Nuys, California. I lived with the gypsies. I fought with the Philistines. I lived with them three years, seven months and twenty-eight days. They taught me a lot.
We are the ones who are fugitive.
We are the ones outcast.
We are the ones who are refugee.
We are the ones you don’t ask.
We are the ones you want to live elsewhere.
We are the ones you won’t live beside.
We are the ones you hate to admit.
We are the ones you tell your children to avoid.
We are the ones you don’t speak to or listen to when we speak.
We are the ones you tell get lost.
We are the ones who tried.
We are the ones you kicked out.
We are the ones you fired.
We are the ones you abandoned.
We are the ones you declare unfit.
We are the ones you left for dead.
We are the ones you tell don’t come back.
We are the ones you humiliated.
We are the ones you pushed away.
We are the ones you cursed from above with us down here below.
We are the ones you wipe yourself on and throw away.
We are the ones you exclude to feel holy.
We are the ones you told never ever and neither today.
We are the ones out here because you shut yourself up in there safe.
We are the ones condemned to stay.
We are the ones who didn’t die.
We are the ones who really bother you.
We are the ones who will not disappear.
We are the ones who don’t believe your way is right or best or the only way.
We are the ones who find salvation free while you haggle over price.
We are the ones who are fallen.
We are the ones who are gypsy.
We are the ones who go down all the way come back and go all the way down again.
We are the ones God proudly calls His beloved bastard children.
We are the ones resurrected.
We are the ones dancing on the tomb.
We are the ones with nothing who bet it all to win.
We are the ones with freedom now including freedom from you.
We are the ones who look to ourselves.
We are the ones who will not quit.
We are the ones who learned to walk because you stood by and watched us crawl.
We are the ones you don’t take seriously.
We are the ones who don’t take you at all.
We are the ones who gave you a chance to be kind and thoughtful and generous and believed you would, but now we are the ones who make happiness alone.
We are the ones who handle tools rightly.
We are the ones made by experience.
We are the ones, the peaceful wild and carefree chosen ones.
We are the ones who choose ourselves.
We are the ones.
The Shady Grove (excerpt)
Lady Victoria ran with the airplanes.
She went out at all hours, especially at night after defeating Bill to place her fingers
through the chain link fence of the airport like a concentration camp prisoner.
All the way down the end of the runway she stood on the access road that extended the
length of the airport outside the fence. When aircraft took off she began to walk, then faster and
faster until she ran faster than her demons or angels with the planes mounting to
She loved jets, those sleek animals owned by overwhelming people who go anywhere
they want any time. She considered God cruel and capricious the way He allowed some so much
they couldn’t spend it all and others none to spend, but she avoided God in her confrontations
with reality. She wanted to be nice and not provoke Him to anger. If men and women dined on
catering above the clouds while others died on the street, the question or answer need not trip
her as she ran. She need not pester God. She sought flight with or without wings.
If He wanted to explain He could call at any time.
He knew her name and address and telephone number.
She only hoped He would never share the information with those who spoke to Him in
tongues and wanted to seek her until they found.
In the meantime she shook out her hair, kicked off her shoes, bent down and touched her
toes, stood up and unbuttoned her blouse, pulled it out of her pants and let it hang loose as she
raced against the revving engines of the rolling aircraft.
“Go!” she yelled.
That and all her hopes despite all the suffering made her Lady Victoria, in case you still
wonder about the name.
“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!”
In freedom on her way to heaven with the planes she could experience the love physical or
otherwise no one ever gave without pain. She ran until she could run no more, exhausted out of
strength and breath, watching any plane mount ever upward out of sight, into the sky like a lover
she wished nothing for but the best.
“Take me!” she yelled. “Take me!”
So when she heard I worked at the airport, maybe I reminded her of running with the
I don’t know.
“I want to make love to you.”
That’s what she said to me.
I don’t care about the reason.
It’s really very beautiful to hear someone say.