Shaky But Chic

downtown Taos, sort of

The block ahead has half a dozen empty storefronts. Can’t buy groceries or nails for half a mile.

For the record, real-life hero journeys kind of suck. On the other hand, the cool thing about being an artist is you never get to quit. None of this lying around and feeling guilty like my mother did because the doctor used forceps to pull my brother Bill out after he got twisted when she when started going into labor in the elevator. (You can read about him here.) That must have been a time, all right. How this turns a person into a social idiot and meth freak is between him and the angel bands, but I think about him rather often, especially how he died alone, delirious and screaming in the V.A. hospice ward:

“I have money! Lots of money!”

That would be the three or four grand I was holding for him, which I kept. (Serves him right for peeing in my shoes when I was ten.) I’m not sure why he thought this mattered in his situation, but then from all I knew, he never seemed aware at any point that he was dying from the cancer in his lungs and everywhere. Another benefit of meth, I guess, besides saving dough on toothpaste. I see more and more resemblance to him in my own face as I age—six years younger, but folks thought I was his kid brother. Having a gap inside my own mouth where I need an implant isn’t helping, either. One of the first signs of The End is not replacing missing teeth.

Meanwhile back in Taos, all is temporary. The only thing that keeps the alligators down is living in the moment, which I try. When this works, it is a refuge. Yesterday I swept sticks in the dirt because the sun was out, and that was slick.

John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • CK Sandberg May 9, 2018, 2:25 PM

    We drove through Taos on the way to Questa last Saturday, stopping at Casa de Valdez for lunch. Great food, but the town proper did seem a bit thinner than I remembered from 4-5 years ago. Took pics at the John Bunn Bridge and the San Antonio mission. As always, Taos presents itself as a contradiction….

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