Your Wild Days, Your Mad Existence

This haunted edition of the Punk Rock Gospel has been hijacked by a dog.

A tribute to Sinead by Tinkerbell Palmer
Art – a tribute to Sinead – by Roisin (The House of Hauntology)
OK, I want to talk about Ireland
Specifically I want to talk about the “famine”
About the fact that there never really was one
There was no “famine”
See, Irish people were only allowed to eat potatoes
All of the other food, meat, fish, vegetables
Were shipped out of the country under armed guard
To England while the Irish people starved
And then, on the middle of all this
They gave us money not to teach our children Irish
And so we lost our history
And this is what I think is still hurting me
See, we’re like a child that’s been battered
Has to drive itself out of its head because it’s frightened
Still feels all the painful feelings
But they lose contact with the memory
And this leads to massive self-destruction
Alcoholism, drug addiction
All desperate attempts at running
And in its worst form becomes actual killing
And if there ever is gonna be healing
There has to be remembering and then grieving
So that there then can be forgiving
There has to be knowledge and understanding.

Your Wild Days, Your Mad Existence

I’ve been working on this one for months, and came at it from several angles, because it’s a many faceted thing, my thoughts on Sinead and what she means to me. She carved a path, somehow, in her strangeness, in her courage, which she exibited in this SNL performance. No, not the pope…but an absolute exorcism of a performance.

She throws herself to the wolves of her own pain and turns it into art.

Sinead is woven so deep into my being.

I listen to all music in repetitive stim fashion, but it’s only Sinead that I whisper-sing into my own cleavage when I feel the need to self-soothe.

This was even a proper gospel at one point, a wild confessional and rollicking tribute to Sinead and all the days I’ve spent with her music, but one day stands out. So I’ve decided to scrap the rest and tell the story of what Sinead meant to just one tiny creature…

All Through The Wild Days

Tink was a scrappy chihuahua who had lived most of her life outdoors, with her husband, the aptly named Butterbean. Then as a widow, she continued to care for their adopted son, a young pit-mix puppy, except that he too was dying, He was wrinkled and hairless, covered with sores and stinking of rot.

Tink moved him into my laundry shed and made a bed for him in a basket of my clothes. It was hospice, the best she could do, but she had hope enough to let me tiptoe past in the dead of night. Together, we tricked him. 

Tink was frightened by people and their people-houses, but she was brave for Mak’s sake. I fed him in small amounts every few hours, because he was skeletal and still very sick with mange. Tinkerbell oversaw his care, watching my every move. He was constantly coated in neem oil and subjected to toxic baths, so to avoid licking, I wrapped him in a sheet. He was a scooby-doo ghost. She wasn’t sure about the sheet, but she could see he was improving. 

To her, I offered what comfort I could.

We talked about her life with her Butterbean – a long partnership, like Bonnie and Clyde.

I started singing her to sleep at night. The most piss poor lullabye, because I can’t carry a tune. These are dangerous days, I warned her. To say what you feel is to lay your own grave. 

We sang about the three cold babies and England – not the mythical land of Madame George and her roses but the home of police who kill black boys on mopeds. (a song that came out decades before the riots over rampant police brutality in the United States.)

Tink’s favorite was my rendition of Sinead’s Evita cover – “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.”

Tink connected to the song about wild days, a mad existence, and loyal watchers (me) who kept their distance. By then, she was used to houses, so she made me her retirement plan.

She’d never loved a human before but she quickly got the hang of it. So I was surprised when I couldn’t find my little dog, the scrapper who’d been by my side for years.

I sent a search party into the dark night.

She was finally located at the top of a small hill, a large lump of excavated dirt that grew grass, and though she hadn’t been sick, I knew what that meant. 

“What should I do? She won’t come when we call. Should I leave her be?”

“No,” I said. “Fucking bring her to me.”

“Maybe it’s just a bad stomach, so she wants to be outside?”

“She’s dying. She needs her lady.”

She was fetched from the hill and deposited into my outstretched arms.

I nuzzled her and kissed her speckled face, and we remembered our life together – our trip to Texas, where we stayed by the river, and the pink sweater vest with a heart print that she wore once to indulge me and never again.

We spoke of Sumo’s departure and how we’d miss her forever. We draped Sumo in a flower garland and wrapped her in a cocoon of down, before we buried her in the back yard.

Tink and I wore flowers to the funeral.

We recalled sweet Butterbean, lost, and Mak, saved. “That’s you,” I told her. “You are the reason that Makkie is alive. And now he’s the Prince of New Mexico.”

Makris will have you know that he is now the King of New Mexico

I confessed that I never felt so loved as when she ran to greet me after a trip and smiled at me through the chain link fence. (That image never leaves me. Fortunately, I snapped a photo so you can see her surrounded by my homecoming shadow. )

She curled up at the crook of my stomach and we laid together until she suddenly rushed into my arms, scratching me lightly with her little claws.

I took the cue and sang her out of this world –

Don’t cry for me, Argentina! The truth is, I never left you!
All through my wild days, my mad existence, I kept my promise, you kept your distance.
The song that came on spotify radio while I was deciding to cut everything but the dying dog…so weird…I don’t even remember this song, but I didn’t listen to a lot of Brickell.

About the Artist

Roisin is first-generation Irish living in Arizona so it resonated, this idea of doing a custom Sinead Illustration for the Wild West issue. Roisin is the artist behind The House of Hauntology.

About the Author

Dia VanGunten explores overlaps between genres, between poetry and prose, between the real and the magical. She is the creator of the rhizomatic series Pink Zombie Rose.

Major Arcana, a PZR collection of stories & comics, is illustrated by Beppi. To be released by Q, a graphic imprint of Querencia Press.

Dia is the founder of Cream Scene Carnival and the OG carnie.

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