Tuesday, September 20, 2011
THE ROAD HOME
On the road, falling in love by text message, taking notes for a book that does not exist, seeing the graves of 13,000 unknown soldiers killed by their own countrymen at Vicksburg, in the First Civil War only 82 years before I was born, (a single man’s life span), walking over the pyramidal burial mounds at Cahokia, evidence of a complex culture that flourished and then mysteriously disappeared while Europe was drowning in the murky backwater of the Middle Ages, the heedless hedonism of New Orleans night life, (“Show us yer tits; show us yer tits!”), fast food, slow traffic, big cities and small towns—some dead and some dying, endless fields of corn, cotton and bean, serviced by giant green and red combustion beasts spewing chemicals and belching diesel, and the road, and the road—always the road, unwinding in front of the plastic dash asking questions and giving no answers—Casino America: pull the handle for health care, pull the handle for jobs, pull the handle for pensions. In Casio America, The House always wins, but the elderly, the dispossessed, the poor in spirit, dragging little green oxygen tanks of discontent, pack the Casino America and stuff the flashing, blinking clanging machines with their coins of desperation.
Surveillance surveillance everywhere: on highways, in stores, inside gumment buildings, outside gumment buildings, in parking lots, on street corners, at rest stops, at scenic overlooks (lookin’ at the lookers) , in churches and schools, in cop cars and bars. Ya better not pout,;ya better not cry; ya better not shout; I’m telling you why: gubberment is filming the town.
To quote Dennis Allen Ruen, who took the picture above and is seen with his camera in the rearview mirror, “I couldn’t imagine a better vacation.” To quote Carl Homstad, sitting in the passenger seat in the photo above, commenting on the above paragraphs, “That’s a pretty negative view, Jim, but it’s all true, sorta.”
Back to Canada tomorrow, where I will pick up my optimism at the border and return to Walden, pull the handle, and write a book or two.