Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rainclouds and Cigarettes: Kentucky


We stayed in a rural town outside of Lexington last night, in a double-wide owned by a sweet couple who perform together in the Vibrolas. Their trailer sits on a long, soggy dirt road, overlooking a pond and pastureland. It smells like home; wet gravel and animal musk and rotting leaves and the general peaceful, crisp air of the hill country. It's gonna be hard to leave this one.

It feels good to be back in the South.

Last night, I spent some time with an older gentleman, named Henry Earl, who holds the US record for the number of times he's been arrested, the count hovering somewhere between eight and nine hundred*. He smelled strongly of cheap whiskey, and wasted no words where sideways winks and his own made-up language of hand gestures and sign language would suffice. He was expertly dressed, homeless or not, with a silk shirt made to look like a quiltwork of various animal prints, reptilian and mammalian, and a suede suit jacket. His white slacks were splattered with grease.

Nat, the tough-looking doorman at the club last night, had "MAMA TRY'D" tattooed on his knuckles.

Time to get on with it. Knoxville today. The rain follows us still, irritably, like a slighted and persistent lover. Oh, I'm happy when it rains, even moreso when it feels so much like home. It's the heavenly white noise, far from the electromagnetic static hum of neon signs, powerlines, and internal combustion.

*Upon further investigation, Earl's been arrested well over 1300 times.

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