A non-organization of non-members
The annual “Rainbow Family of Living Light Gathering” took place in Vermont this year. Founded with a utopian vision of life after the apocalypse, Rainbow is an event that attracts people from all walks of life—it’s a mix of Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven”, George Miller’s “Mad Max”, and Woodstock ’69. You don’t need money, you don’t need to bring food; everything is taken care of. Miraculously it works, for those few days at least. Photographer Reto Sterchi spent four days in the woods there, documenting people and happenings. The Rainbow Family is a community, or as they say “a non-organization of non-members”, gathering several times annually in locations spread over the world, celebrating counter culture, alternative lifestyles, non-violence, and Peace & Love & Planet Earth.
I get everything I need for free.
These boots came from the factory
dumpster on the far side of town. This hat
was moldering on the kitchen floor
in the foreclosed home I picked through.
This coat, this backpack, this brand-
name headlamp. I got this cornmeal
behind the grocery store, this flat bread
behind the bakery, this french press
in the alleyway next to the coffee shop in uptown.
This bible in a bum camp, this banjo
in a trashcan, this headless mannequin
in a free-pile outside Honest Ed’s Antiques.
The British call it skipping.
The Brazilians call it living, call it vida.
Vida que surgi de nada. Life out of nothing.
I bike past the butcher’s on Pike
and find a bag full of pigs.
None of them whole. A few sets of hooves,
a half torso, two heads, another head
with no nose, a leg, a pile of coiled tails |
slowly uncoiling like white worms
taken out of a hole. Most of it going
musty, the muscle falling away
from the fascia, the skin drained of color
and feeling like withered pumpkin.
But some of it might be good.
A pair of milky gloves is clumped up
and tangled among the little hairless tails.
I dig them out. I blow to check
for holes. I begin sorting the pigs.
Nothing you’ll find more orphan than the heart.
The dim mission of its reptile-eyed insomnia,
its nameless drive, its bulging catalytic beat.
The night sky wheels with the same fever, as if thrown
from a bowler’s hand with english on it. Orion.
Ursa Minor. You cannot constellate desire anymore
than you can braid cord from the tongue’s sinewed utterance
of a name, a name hallowed at night into the wind,
the wind tethered to the earth like flame to black spruce,
quartered and four years dried. Beargrass. Monk’s Hood Lichen.
Methuselah’s Beard. Old Man on the Mountain.
You take your bearings by a belt of pulsing stars.
You turn to reckon with the one that doesn’t move.
Polaris. Dog’s Tail. Leiðarstjarna. Nail. Mismar