I found myself in an african village of some sort. It was desert country. A few scattered pieces of brush sprinkled on a barren landscape of dust and sand. Most everyone was wearing redish-orangish-purplish garments, a fiery contrast to their dark wrinkled skin. Many people had bandages and crutches and were in pain. It seemed some uncureable epidemic had been spreading through the village. There was a gathering for a mysterious but expected meeting and everyone had circled around the makeshift village amphitheater. We waited as the murmurs swept through the crowd. It was clear that whatever we were waiting for was not going to begin until the crowd was silent. The murmurs turned to shushes and for several minutes a battle of shushes was waged until finally one superior shush rose up from my mouth and silence overcame the crowd.

Then the music began. Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum began playing their Sleepytime (Spirit is a Bone) song.I crawled under the bleachers and began shuffling through a stack of cards I found. They had the lyrics to the song on them and I was trying to stack them in the proper order as they sang out in the sand.

All you days
All you nights
All you hours numberd
Follow the red line
The black line
The gray line under
Smoking time
TV time
Medicine line
Snack line
Follow the blue line
The green line
The gray line under

A couple verses into it a small girl approached the singer and interrupted him to ask a question. They whispered a hidden exchange in each others ears and the girl shuffled back to report the response to one of the elder women of the tribe. All of the adults wandered away from the concert shaking their heads. Most of the children stayed behind. The band sang on as they moved from the sleepy tones into the louder more intense, building suspense part of the song.

” Spirit is a bone
Bone is a tree
Tree is alive inside of me
Spirit is a bone
Bone is a shape
Shape is a thing
Thing is awake
Spirit is a breath
Breath is a flower
Flower is a tree
Tree is a bomb
Spirit is a bomb
Second is a bomb
Flower is a day
Tree is a year
Bone is a life
Spirit is a bone

I frantically shuffled through the lyrical flash cards trying to keep up. I can never quite remember exactly how this riddle goes. Some of the children are dancing others are just staring in disbelief. The swirling sand is building up around us as the music creeps around our heads.

Suddenly a polyphonic ringtone lifts me out of my sleep and plops me back down firmly on the bed in my hotel room.

Funny how Boojum had just asked me last night if I had been having weird dreams lately. I always have weird dreams. Being waken suddenly seems to help in being able to remember them. I had to pop in the ipod and listen to the song as I wrote this to help me remember how the story went. I couldn’t find a link to the actual song anywhere and the myspace “Currently Listening” feature seems to be on the brink. So suffice to say I am listening to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Grand Opening and Closing which I highly recommend you all just drop what you’re doing right now and go out and buy it.

Well go on, get out of here already.


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