home invasions and innervisions

We managed to suffer another home invasion Saturday night. The culprits came to our door armed with coq au vin, Caesar salad with homemade dressing and croutons, and melt-in-your-mouth lemon curd cheesecake. You see, we’ve been nurse-challenged more of late and therefore unable to get out much, so some of our favorite lovelies, known for home invasions whenever we’re housebound, brought the dinner party to us again.

It had been a long day for me, feeling a bit queasy from, I figure, too little sleep in general and perhaps one-too-many bourbons the night before, which is rare for me. Irritating my circumstance was an agitated son who shrieked and coughed much of the day, seemingly in prelude to a seizure.

By day’s end, I was feeling frail and found myself in tears an hour or so before the invasion just listening to Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, specifically, Living for the City, about a young black man from Mississippi who heads to New York in search of work. The vinyl recording includes an excerpt of the man being falsely accused of dealing drugs, being arrested and put in prison for ten years, plus extra verses of his life after prison. Whenever I listen to the song I visualize the young man and his family: good, kind, honest, hardworking people who are poor, though well-kept, well-raised and strong. Then I imagined the millions like him who’ve been snagged in our nation’s racial caste system, swept up in an epidemic mass incarceration of black men. I stood there watching Calvin crawl on the floor and wept for the disruption of so many black lives, the loss and abuse of these precious sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and the ignorant notion that they are to blame for everything White that is thrust upon them. Then I thought of San Francisco and, after that, my mom, and cried that much harder having missed them both for so long, and having just lost Mom to Alzheimer’s in autumn.

Thankfully, the home invasion lifted my spirits, simply sitting around a table with my smart, humorous, progressive friends. We mused about some of the conservative candidates running for president, their hateful rhetoric and blatant attacks on women, Muslims, Mexicans, Syrian refugees and the disabled. We talked about our deplorable governor and his brazenly racist comments about black men and poor white women, including his lame defense, and the equally bigoted backing from a statehouse rep. We went on to lament the wacko, jingoistic vigilantes claiming native lands as their own. And just so we didn’t let the bastards get us down, we laughed a lot and touched on photography and writing and sons in college before the conversation digressed to swapping the letters of our first and last names, which made us laugh even harder. Our friends asked about Calvin and I gave them the update on his cannabis oil treatment. I told them Calvin has had only one daytime grand mal seizure in nearly 500 days despite being in active benzodiazepine withdrawal and taking a fraction of the antiepileptic pharmaceuticals compared to two years ago. Knowing that I suspected an imminent seizure, one friend looked sad, perhaps even worried, when I got up to check on Calvin because I heard him whimper in his sleep.

Still feeling fatigued, and knowing that our friends understood, I said my goodbyes early and went upstairs to bed. As I laid there, gazing out the window to a slate-gray sky, I heard the murmur of happy voices in the room below, and I smiled. But before I dozed off, I worried about Calvin some more, thought of Stevie's profound innervisions, and fell asleep wishing there were less fear, hate, oppression and greed in the world.

If you cannot view the video below you can watch it here on You Tube. You can read the full lyrics, plus annotations here.


  1. What beautiful friends you have -- and I love that you call them home invaders! Calvin's "record" is amazing. May it increase.

    1. dear eee, they call themselves home invaders, which is even better! and calvin is still having seizures at night every week or so, but a doubling of his bedtime thca seems to keep them at one at a time and a bit further apart. xoxo