Joe Bataan - Ordinary Guy (1975)
Joe Bataan - Ordinary Guy (1975) (Photo credit: Soul Portrait)

I WISH I’D TAKEN A PHOTO THAT DAY,  on a gravely, twisted uphill hike to Mt Atalaya  a hike that I’ve hungered for because it looms in the rear view, jettisoned above the city, swooping hills, three of them, you have to criss-cross before you reach the 8,800 foot marker in the sky. The temperature was 70 degrees, the wind was napping. Easter Sunday, sprinkles of holiness on Santa Fe, church bells ringing all day long, restaurants hosts pushing metal carts of glossy preparations down the aisles, and the little children, in Easter bonnets, and patent leather shoes, if they still make them, are squirming at the table.

I had a hunger for universal meaninglessness and to end the chatter in my head. Hikes do that. They just erase all the sirens and alarms, the what if’s and what knots in my head.

Afterwards, we sat on the porch listening to Joe Bataan. You probably haven’t heard of him unless you dig into Salsa, as Rudy does.  Joe is half Filipino and half African. His music touches cords you cannot even imagine-it’s like Afro-Cuban-Filipino fusion rap.  Everyone is hopeful on Easter; motor bikers, wanderers,  the wait staff and valet that trot down the street, talking into their ear phones at one another, and guests, pushing baby strollers, swinging shopping bags, taking photographs of our house, and gazing at the sky. When they hear the music from our porch, they wave at us, and might think, we  have the life, sitting on the porch,  sipping a glass of wine. What they cannot even imagine, is that the entire scene is roman a clef, a fictional imitation! What we are actually doing is avoiding the avalanche. I always have.  Like a gambler, I never grasped the concept of tomorrow is more important than today.

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