Day Three/Four

Chicago gaslight
The sun set to find me wandering around gaslit streets in the heart of a massive beast. The stark canyons of this place remind me of all the strange and terrifying things we create. They will surely outlast us, but not the trees, the grass, the sun. Life as a force will continue as it goes. These strange monsters, in their time, will crumble and bow down to the ground from whence, in bits and pieces, they came.

For now, I walk and sleep among them. Tucked warm and safe between down and springs, I sleep sound.
A whistle from another life wakes me and I stir under all this comfort and warmth.
I should get up, get moving, make a day of it among metal creatures and their smaller counter-parts.

Outside, the sun is high in the sky, alerting me that this is the burning soul of it all. It warms and burns my skin as I remove the cotton in between us. A subtle and yet complete seduction, here. My skin tingles with things I cannot get anywhere else.

Like small leaves unfurling for the Spring, I bask in the light until a cloud momentarily blocks it from my sight.
My stomach growls and I must seek out other kinds of sustinance.
An egg and some vegetables do quite nicely. Drugs are a constant companion. These I indulge in for the day. Tomorrow, I will be several more thousands of miles away.
After that, all of this fun and fair is done. It’s back to work, but of a very different sort.
I will drive back to the life I am choosing from the life we have both left behind.
This disant living was not for us, barring intentional communities with intentions we never happened upon and communities we never found.

We were alone.
So we went where the people were.
Not surprisingly for our background, it was to a city.
Cafes again and the wide expanse of moutnains backed against water.
The hills and the sea.
Salt air and opportunities.
These are the things we are made of, evidently.

I will be happy to return to you.
This Eastern voyage is but a moment in the time I’m passing to become like the gods I’ve loved.
Mervyn: rejected and now remembered, well loved – you are one of these.
I look forward to an epic fall myself.
It becomes us all, at some point.

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Morning Two

New faces and new places are around me every time I wake.

Yesterday, I passed a stop with a marine. Schrapnel through leg and 8 vertebrae broken. Basic infintry became sniping skills. Six years being shuffled around: Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq. Upon return to this beautiful land of freedom, all their possessions were stolen. The ride from here is toward home.

The night with lifelong friends who alternatively play hockey, drink, ride motorocycles, game, create havoc together. From the northern country, they were heckled and disliked collectively by the train staff. I wonder why this way.

This morning, a family who worked on their own strawbale house and consensus among intentional communities. Virginia was, apparently, full of these. Though how they hid from us is a charm we could not decipher.

I asked two people to watch my things as I went away for a moment. I have done this many times to many people. It’s a sort of introduction. You are my verification in case of some confusion with these posessions I am leaving in your charge. It’s establishing a sort of engagement, an interaction, a contract. Yes or no are acceptable answers. I have always gotten yes, sometimes more.
These two people, from a very secluded background as evidenced to me by their clothing — which I can only assume is intention — hardly touched me at all. Darting eyes and a muttered “oh sure” as if it were one word. And the hardest to find. Upon return, my thanks fell flatly to the ground underneath their table where a card or two may have fallen in their games of cards. I was not an acting player.
Strange. I wonder if you were merely afraid.

In Chicago, it’s either a free night up in the city or a late train out of it.
Only the desk personel will be able to tell.

For now, in Minnesota there is snow still on the ground in big dirty heaps and melting drifts. The water along the edges nearest the track is frozen in thick long veins that reach toward the birds. I’m sure if I look hard enough, I’d see many different forms of tracks. A tractor here, a small car there, a single set of prints I could not identify as we passed by.

The world is white and blue with the edges of green underneath here.
Just the edge of growth, once began, then covered over again.

Symbolism is all kinds of spoiled in me. For me. Through me.
I need some new perspective.
This solitary return journey into the state of being wholly unsolitary is good for me.
Is it good for you?

I hope for the best.
This has so much potential.

Closing, executing

2013-05-03 10.35.53
This journey is the true end of the experiment Ori and I began last October. I am returning to clean things up and return our possessions to our new home.
This is the last leg. I am doing it alone.
There is depth in this I am reaching for, stretching for, beginning to touch.
The following was a piece of that.

As I’m waking up today, I’m feeling really positive. More and more excited to be on this journey. It’s been mellow thus face, reminding me how much of the social awkwardness I’ve been exuding as of late is less about me and more about other issues and complications outside of me.

I realize that when I want to, I am natrually (said loosely here because this is actually an intentionally trained response) outgoing and explanatory. I generally pay attention to if I’m smiling or not. I care about positivity.

When I am outwrdly steeped in it, I become resentful.

The land here is hard to come by inspiration from. It feels hollow in its wide-openness. Emptied out. These, I believe, are the ghosts — yokai — of this place. Haunted by a dead lack of life.

As if you can just look out at the bubbling hills and white crested mountain, and you can hear the ghostly whispers of what life had once been here. The land here feels scattered now, broken apart, torn into small and insignificant bits. Loose pieces of a once-whole puzzle strewn across a blank sheet.

The image, though complete to my eye, is inconsistent and incomplete itself. My European-descended blood lacks an understanding of what may have been lost. My pale skin knows nothing of this, but it takes a passing and protected view. My post-industrial, convenience-born, assembly-line-bred, corporate-raised brain can envision nothing of the ways of life now wipes lovelessly from existence.

I can only look and feel this indescribable loss, this lack — for lack of a better word. And even with that, I gain little to no access to any of this.

This is not an experiment.

I happened upon and started reading House of Leaves because some unnamed employee of the bookshop recommended it, mentioned it, put it on a shelf for me — specifically? — to find. I stood there reading as hours slipped away. I wasn’t even in the room, anymore. I didn’t think it was bothering me. I felt asleep only to wake up mumbling, calling out, terrified three times.

This isn’t me.
It wasn’t you, either.

I have to leave this book for a while to go to Virginia.
You tried to leave it, too.
That doesn’t sit quite right.

When I am done with it, I will pass this terror, fear, enigma on to somebody else.
It settles in you when you least expect it.

Just like the silence.
Just like the dark.

As a writer, I know just what you mean. I suppose the majority of the world doesn’t. I’m sure I can — like you — find someone who does

By the way–

Vernon is left in a crust of ice and melting snow. La Sol came out in the morning. A slow glow that began to peel the layers from cold away. In these infected ears, it’s hard to hear the cracking as it breaks and slants off roofs and angles all over this wasted space. My eye catches a shadow and I think it’s you behind me.

Turns out its just the ghosts of a life that could have been. Ah, but we don’t believe so we fend them off alright. Until it’s night and we dream of the same busty blond. In one, they run away and fight. In the other, it’s steamy.

We left that night to sleep in a car we despise in these down bags we had to try out.
We were worried about being haunted, followed, fought or kissed in hallways of our own demise. Corridors of our own fears. Pitfalls of our own let downs.

Two large suitcases, a duffel bag, two messengers, and a solar backpack hardly hold the high hopes and heavy disappointments we encountered on the side of the sun’s coming. Soon, we run from that too – but in a new way.

Or, an old way we are now unafraid of.

We faced the dark and found the stars.
Not such a bad deal after all.

The deer will be happy we didn’t put up fences.
No-one will eat those apples, pears, plums, grapes, rotting mass in the compost pile – anyway. You are free to enjoy the things someone else did that we don’t need.

The story is not over. It will travel across so much land we’ll have no shape of it in our minds. By the end, we might have dreams of it.

We cannot say, yet.
Will we return? Will we stay?
Will we find a better way?

All in good time.

Time to say Oyasuminasai to this path. Set this lantern down and dust out the ashes of our burned up star. It did the trick. We have ways to avoid the desperation that will, inevitably, sink in again. We have a memory now, stark and bright, of the lives we cannot live.

That will help in the ones we have to face.

A dead jay in the freezer all this winter will be left in the melting snow.
It will become a part of what it should have been months ago.

And us, too.

the End

Two train tickets across the spread of land between where we had been and where we want to be. In twenty-five days, we’ll be back. If all goes according to planned. This is a bigger if than we had thought.

The world here is different, we have learned.
A life of travel and privilege seemed to say it did not matter. Not so much running from problems, but always having the same ability to face them.

Oh silly caterpillars. Did you not know?
Some plants are poisonous to you.
Eat and you can die.

We have gained a sense of this being true. We’ve been nibbling these nettles here, slowly taking in the needles here, digesting all this poison here. I think we’re full to the brim by now.

Alas. It’s time to go back.
A place where we can do the things we need to do to face the things we need to face to be the way we need to be.

It became so clear when the roads went nowhere and you couldn’t even take the ones that did. Stuck in a cage with lots of space – still, amazingly, feels like a trap. We got trapped. We tried to run – and just ran into ourselves.

The long tracks cutting deep lines across the deserts and the mountains will lead us back.
We will not drive this time.
We will take our bikes along for the ride.

It is not perfect, but it is better.
A good enough line to follow rather than go nowhere at all.

Soon, sunset. Soon, dusk.After mid-winter, we will be back.

What an adventure within ourselves we have had.
Did the star go out on the way up?
Were we climbing anywhere?
Was that little light even a star at all?

It glowed bright enough to see by, bright enough to seem light. Ah, but perhaps, minha amigo we were wrong to stuff it in this junky lantern.
It went out slow to cold.
While we watched it die, we did not know.

A star by any other name would glow as bright.
We have been misnaming things this whole time.

Now. What shall I call you by?

Cleverly played, VA

Fake shutters go on all the front windows. Side and back windows aren’t viewable from the road where the important people in their cars go by.
Except I can see all but one of your windows, and your half-foot wide plastic slats beside those double-wides aren’t fooling anyone.

It’s a good thing I realised that Virginia is officially open for business at all hours of day and night. Twenty-four. Oh yes. But nothing of value to buy, so…

Alternatively, one might say, “thus always to tyrants” – though I’m not exactly sure what we are getting at by that statement. Perhaps, a merger is in order.

Thus always to tyrants, open for business.
Appropriate, I’d say.

Among those fake shutters and long dead roads where everyone ends at the same corporate conclusion, there are vultures quick to lend a hand to your decaying body. Crows ready and waiting for the taking. Jays who disguise as beauties, there to tear your dead bits apart. A dead dog on the side of the road run over by our careless pass is gone within the night.

Nature, it seems, moves continually forward.
While we are figuring out how to beat ourselves into the outer vacuum where no life has existed, ever.

Do we, honestly, believe we will be the first?
How many dead planets hiding vast oil fields below their surface do you think there are?
How many have made our mistakes in the past?

Will we be the first? Will we be the last?

Another world is possible, but I’m beginning to think it orbits another star.

My star in this lantern is burning down. My lone road is coming to a close. I am beginning to see the dawn. A star rising as I set my outlying nature down.

I am ready to resume where I had left off.
Here’s to Buckminster for the inspiration.
I was not silent two years, but I might as well have been.