Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rainclouds and Cigarettes: Bridges, Bridges, Bridges


Song ideas come and go. Everything is so immediate, one experience after another, each feeling or emotion being immediately replaced by another each time I take an on-ramp or pass under a bridge. "I see your name everywhere, on roadsigns and bridges and lakes" or something like that. It's all I've come up with, or all I can remember.

The drive into Athens was breathtaking. I fell instantly in love with the town and the gorgeous mountains that it is nestled within. It's apparently the most haunted town in America, but I saw nothing to hint at this sinister legend. It was crisp and serene, refreshing.

Met up with Ian, and we of course picked up right where we left off. Many beers, many shots of whiskey, and many bowls of the "best weed in Ohio", and I was fucked. Relying on the kindness of strangers, as always, we crashed with a nice couple who gave us beer and cigarettes, and cooked us hot sausage and gravy this morning, to be eaten with great relish as we watched old episodes of Tales from the Crypt.

Money in my pocket, I'm free to eat a little better. I cherish each meal as if it's fit for a king, or like a death row inmate's last request. A stomach full of warm food is my chief concern each day, and I take none of these divine meals for granted.

I ran into Dirty Johnny and Jeff, from the Makebelieves, in Athens, having completely forgotten that they were from the area. Dirty Johnny gave me a nickelbag of weed in gratuity for my having given them a place to stay in Springfield, which seems like a lifetime ago.

I'm never going home. Each day I feel further and further from the individual who left Memphis just seventeen days ago. Not even three weeks. Some convictions have been bolstered and reinforced, some have been dashed on the rocks and tossed out the window like a cigarette butt. I'm softening, and I'm hardening. Transformation, all that. No greater catalyst for growth, for better or worse, than days upon days of alienation, blinking under bright gas station lights, staring at highways and horizons, dreaming about girls and guitars, unsatisfied and totally content. Plenty of time for thoughtful solitude despite the constant camaraderie that whirls about the van and the crash pads like a horny, sweaty tempest.

The follows us still, but that didn't affect the graceful roadside beauty of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania today. I don't know what we've dubiously dubbed the magnificence of this area (Alleghenies? maybe?), but that's beside the point. Bridges and turning tree.

Pittsburgh is dark, gloomy, wet. I'm sitting in the van drinking cold coffee and listening to rain on the roof and the mediocre rockabilly bleed from the bar's window. Inside there is free beer, beautiful young ladies, friendly faces and backslaps and warmth, but I'm where I want to be, keeping silent sentry in this driver's seat, the only place I feel comfortable anymore, and squinting under the dome light.

No idea where we're staying tonight. You wish I was there to warm you up, and I wish the same. New York tomorrow. I wish I'd brought a warmer coat.

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