Dangerous Compassions

night ride in Funkytown

The other morning, I was thinking about Funkytown.  Ming and I were planning our day.  “What should we do fun today?” I asked, a favorite question.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“Would you take me to Funkytown?” I asked.

“Where’s Funkytown?” he asked.

“Uh, Las Vegas?  Probably we live in Funkytown.  New Orleans?”

He wasn’t sure what I was talking about, so I played him the song on my phone, from youtube.  I heard it when I was a kid, and it’s part of my mind.  I had no idea it was so simple and repetitive!

“It’s like a parody of a song,” I told Ming.  “It’s like a parody of itself.”  I explained how the speaker wants to move–seems like she wants to move in the sense of dancing maybe, and in the sense of relocating.

“Where does she want to move to?” Ming asked.

“Funkytown?  Who knows–it’s not specfied.  Where do people move to?  Portland?”

I think of the people I love and loved in New Orleans and Portland.  I only know this coast’s Portlanders.  There’s someone I love in Maine, but he’s not in Portland.

“What do people do, in Funkytown?” Ming asked.

“Have sex?” I suggested.  “What do you think people do in Funkytown?  Yeah, sex seems to be the implication.”


I wanted to tell you this story because I thought it was funny New Orleans is the funkiest of towns, in my mind.  And that Portland is the place people move to.  I used to want to move there, long ago–the zine capital of the world.  Where something about me could be normal.

Like trike riding!  Yes, I felt like a Portland cliche, when I started riding trike–back in April, when we were young.  Happy fat zinester on a trike–if that’s not a cliche, it should be.

night ride

Yesterday morning I went for my first night ride.  Ming got a headlamp and put it on my helmet.  I got the fairy lights off my altar, checked that they turned on, and wrapped them on my trike frame.  Ming put a red bikelight behind my seat.

fairy lightsI’d been wanting a night ride for a long time–I was ecstatic.  I saw sleeping pigeons and got excited–they were on the roof of a church, but still like statues–not cooing or chasing one another or preening.  “Wow!” I said.

Then I saw a star in the sky and asked Ming, “Is that Venus?”  He has an app on his phone for celestial identification.

“Yes!” he said.

I put my hand on my heart and chanted a prayer to Inanna that I wrote about 25 years ago.  Felt good.  It’s about longing.  It’s spoken by an enchanted rabbit, the rabbit who is me, but kind of the moon at the same time, honestly–the rabbit in the moon.

Then the sun came up.  I liked this pile of trash on Balzar so much.  I just stared at it for a while, asking Ming to take a picture.


Ming outdid himself–I think this picture is amazing.  The expression on my face is like, “Yep, the world is trashy!”  The long RV, the church, the bent mailbox stuffed with dried wet newspapers.  The half-burnt furniture is weird, ancient couch cushions, forgotten clothing, random sidewalk fabric.

I wanted to add some trash of my own, to participate somehow, like throwing a penny into a fountain.  Is trash sacred?  Apparently I think so.  I didn’t mean to believe that.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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