The Dirty, Stinking, Singing, Hippie Gypsies, or The Dirty, Hopping, Stinking, Singing, Dancing Hippie Gypsies, were so named by the least stinking of the band of smelly songsters, a man named Stuart Smith, who theatrically committed suicide by severing his aorta with a butcher knife in front of a community day care center almost immediately after conceiving both un-ironic designations.
The band of smelly "singers" were not precisely vagrants, but really more like avant-garde balladeers, who would remove to small towns and neighborhoods and dance through the streets singing "songs" and getting caught up in violent physical contests with each other. Where they came from seems to be unknown. Since the police were afraid of them, the stinking gypsies have remained free to troupe about in tatters, looking like shit, balalaikas and mandolins hanging over their shoulders and smacking against their mangy bellies as they barrel along, careening ahead with unfettered feathers, drawling out their disconcerting compositions, mostly a cappella by day and with instruments at night. They rarely are much for enunciating their words when they speak or sing, which is probably just as well, since their obscene dance moves emphasize their existence aplenty.
Now, no vengeance, no retaliation, no knife-thrust, lunges through a prison yard with as much swiftness as the dirty gypsies cutting through a tract housing area via a construction site, during which navigation the wide-eyed builders of those antiseptic communities step aside and regard us with unconcealed astonishment. Passersby, as well, on all roads, trails, and parks, pause to observe the uninhibited progress of the animal the dirty gypsies are, the gypsies barely aware of them, though a partiality is occasionally given to an unusually aggressive hooker.
I guess what they do isn't all bad - we do get our exercise. But the slime! The stink and goo on their gyrating flesh! For these disgusting down-and-outers humanity is just a pretext for depositing the untoward soul - a space that exists, certainly, but if so, here, humanity is only a grouping of carnal objects upon which the west wind can spew forth its toxins.
My own involvement with the hippies has been brief, doubt-ridden, and intense. Because I always feel out of place, for that same reason I am conspicuous and exposed to scrutiny from within and without. The self-consciousness my tin ears impose on me distracts me from the hidden meanings of the gypsies' songs; likewise, my blurry vision distracts me from the hidden meaning of their dance moves - specific bodily agitations containing much more significance than an untutored observer on the sidelines might suspect - dance moves which might signify anything from nothing to an early evening handjob to a hard, malicious kick in the scrotum just as the inattentive witness, for whom that day's hip-waggle was executed, is trying to drop off to sleep. That swing of the arm, that way a thigh might be slowly lifted, that idiosyncratic leg-movement, lifted into the air and extending outward, that little mound that bulges from a woman's upraised, curving buttock, more charming than life itself, and which insists upon the exhaustion of all that is left within me in order to absorb its beauty, before a resurgence of frenetic movement - why, now, these are things of identity and fate.
This mode of detection, this philosophy of life, is wearisome not only for me - these dirty mothers look so exhausted after a day of dancing that they can barely put their night-slippers on without fucking themselves up. The ancient seers who divined the future from the flight-patterns of eagles had it easy. Additionally, I am distracted from trying to understand, and just generally, in dread, lest some stranger from the past, whose pretentious, richly cynical life philosophies I had at one point in the past jubilantly enjoyed exchanging, should emerge in the form of a spectator and see me acting like the absolute dick I most certainly am.
To the stinking hippies, a reckless dance performed naked with a hatchet is the embodiment of high art. This is why dance and fight integrate each other so easily. A first gypsy, with feigned carelessness or through an "honest" mistake, grazes or stabs a second gypsy with a knife. Or, one sneaks up behind another, and hits this unfortunate in the head with a hammer. If the wound is fatal, then all is forgiven, and nobody will go after the assaulter. But retribution for physical assault - should the victim live - is arbitrary and elusive; payback for the offense can be either a sexual favor or a malicious kick in the first gypsy's genitals, administered by a third stinker indirectly related to the wounded, second hippie - and any one of these hippies could be the nicest person you ever met.
Their body odor, on the other hand, is not ambiguous. They smell. Let me tell you something: If they were to clean themselves, it wouldn't be for the sake of hygiene. Yet they don't smell as bad to me as they did at first, which means I am starting to smell too. This is good for me, but not for my good looks. If some of us should manage to retain our good looks, this is the ever-ephemeral glow of youth and not concern for our bodies; for that concern has vanished into variability, and we fiends of mutilation, whether mutilating ourselves or each other, all but purposely knock our own teeth out to impose upon ourselves and our community autonomy and self-respect.
Feathers fall from the sky and turn into birds or butterflies like fickle leaves as we barrel through the streets - our clothes, at best, rags, soldiers fatigues extracted from dull colors, and we thunder incontinently down the lanes of life, past slums, trailer parks, and tract-housing developments, but generally the stinking hippies prefer the suburbs. Not all of life is there, after all, to frighten us, maim us, jackhammer our bones into fine particles of dust, and we intuitively recognize this. So we continue to conduct our bodily agitations with our hands on our genitals, our eyes on the horizon - with our messy noise bang-ups we are fondling at once ourselves and our instruments just as a masturbating conductor would kick-start a lazy penis with a symphony. We tramp, I suggest, mercilessly into the day and night.
The sun will set and camp is set up with it. The Gypsies take out their instruments and tune them as best they can. "Songs" are played, mandolins and banjoes, balalaikas and violins strummed, plucked, bowed. Genitals are fondled. The drunk, throbbing gyrations of the music induce a female gypsy to leap to her feet as best she can and grind out an erotic dance, which is nothing fancy, of course, just a lot of pelvic thrusting. The men get sexually aroused or angry. One will throw a stone at another, who will, in turn, leap up to grab the other's forearm, forming as they join an ambiguous animal/human hybrid. Their bodies recoil and stumble awkwardly as with his free hand each shoves at his opponent's chest. It does look like a dance, somewhat.
Meantime, the features of the striplings reveal themselves on the periphery of the campfire's light. For them violence without the artifice of dance is generally regarded as a stupid anachronism. They are romantics, and contradict all of their own ideologies without knowing it. Again, they are romantics. That is to say, they are fonder than anyone of capricious violence. They draw closer to the campfire, regarding us with derisive curiosity. Striplings: Little feral striplings clutching rusty bugles and saxophones, machetes; striplings rebellious to such extremes even the most criminally insane among us quakes with fear when we see them. The earth itself seems to have sprouted genitals by en-fleshing these tattered little monsters. The priapic, insolent expressions on their faces are shocking and revolting to me; I look at one glaring in the shadows and wonder if he is conjuring up an erection in order to ram it through my heart.
Women continue cutting ugly capers which are, for that reason, unspeakably beautiful; they thrust their flesh around, stomping the ground like angry horses. A man gets up and undoes his corduroys, ratchets them down, and squeezes the skin of his scrotum between his index and middle fingers, leaving his testicles dangling in the night air. He jumps around, screaming. Another man struts around, feigns a moment of illumination, only to run away and loudly defecate in a nearby briar patch.
A stripling throws a large stone at the dancing man. It misses, and hits a young girl on the forehead. Her upper body jerks backward like she has been kicked out from under herself, and she almost loses her footing. She starts crying, and her mother carefully verifies the stone-throwing stripling even before attending to her daughter. Providing no force of the night will intervene, for the stripling and the mother of the girl the ambiguities for the next day's dances have now been defined. Generally, this kind of thing might be what makes the gypsies what they are - their poorly-digested grief, inattention to basic manners, and their greatly unacknowledged lack of discipline indicate that feelings aren't felt here as much as demolished.
It is day. We are navigating a typical suburban street corner. Two striplings are looming behind me, both dancing convulsively. The brunette is slow to make the corner's turn; she separates from the mass of noisy hippies and arcs past a lawn, repeatedly reemerging behind the white, vertically grooved columns of a large, gray Victorian's portico. It is hard to know whether her whirling describes her or her body describes her whirling. As if suddenly exhausted, she twirls through a neighboring lawn to gently reintegrate herself into this mobile hive of stinking hippies. Her bracelets slide down her forearms to her wrists as she lowers her arms, or, as her arms are lowered.
Past a second Victorian, across a river, a flock of geese, god knows what compels it, flies sonorously around an abandoned smokestack. Lifting its ambitiously erectile structure up from the bottom of the horizon, it emerges from the muddy ground beyond the opposing riverbank like a talisman just dropped from the sky to impale the redundantly disregarded earth.
Both striplings are closing in behind me. If I am to let the point of my boot drag on the stretch of grass between the sidewalk and the street for even an instant too long, they will see a weakness and overtake me. If I let them push me down to the earth, they will then try to beat me to death. I stop, throw my leg back and lunge between them, throwing the retreating cowards off completely.
These residential areas are my favorite as well as that of the stinking hippies', and the quaint suburban houses and the lawns and grounds obtain a resigned curiosity difficult to withstand. Shards of light splinter through the tree branches and gather on gables and flower beds like broken spearheads swimming through the shade. If by some chance a crafty gypsy has managed to find fresh strings for our guitars, the teardrops in our music might leave a large, glowing welt in the shade of a lonely pear tree.
Butterflies fly out from under the trees like tiny birds into the purple and white and red clouds, clouds which always fade away when our tired eyes can't find them. Tree past tree, house past house, leaf past leaf, my eyes insist.