Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unbuckling My Rust Belt.

I haven't been writing, I've been thinking. I've been watching America slide away from the window of a 1994 Chevrolet Astrovan, breathing firecracker smoke and trying to adjust my eyes to the full spectrum of this light we bathe in, the light we take for granted. I've been bumming smokes, I've spent days eating like a peasant, and days feasting like a king. I've drank deeply of night and all its temporary comforts, of its moist natives and their feminine suppleness, like Pittsburgh smokestacks arching erotically to the stars, swaddled in pink flesh and smokey hair. But I haven't been writing; there's no time.

There are cities in China, cities I've never heard of, that eleven million people call home. I know so little of this world around me, but I have faith in my own sensual faculties, and as long as the light is shining through my eyes I will be alive and growing. We have no other choice, lest we want to fully forfeit our humanity, an option that far too many deem wholly acceptable.

But I've felt the earth shake as the El roars by on a sultry Chicago night, and we are drunk outside of an open-late Mexican restaurant with a waitress all curves and birthmark and tan old-world (New World?) beauty. I've been too twisted to stand in the middle of Ohio, with the friendliest people nested in the most unfriendly town, and we ceremoniously carve the hot-ripe watermelon that we lugged up from Arkansas roadsides to this, its Rust Belt absolution and cannibalistic consecration. Take this, all of you, and eat from it.

We are in Rhode Island now, and I am tired and broke but hungry for more. I could walk these roads until my body was more bone than skin, until my muscles relinquished their involuntary governorship of my mobility, and I become a ghost setting fire to toll booths and sleepwalking across the murky waters of shipyards, dancing an ancestral dance on Philadelphia rooftops in the post-industrial drizzle and laughing at the totemic sterility of an old, cracked bell.

Last night I slept in a stranger's bed, curling up alongside mismatched shoes and unopened nicotine patches, with an oscillating fan ans Heinlein book my only company. It was a basement room, lightless, filthy and smelling of cat shit, but there is no disgust, no disdain for the forms Life takes as she gently leans into my embrace, hips against hips, seeking a superficial security but offering immortality in return. She may as well be Death, for I'd kiss her just the same.