Thursday, March 24, 2005


This is a good time to get rid of stuff. Detachment has its own rewards, far greater then the pleasures of hoarding stacks of moldy paper, line drawings and pages of aching teenage crushes. I am not feeling sentimental about any of it... seems unsophisticated and charmless. Worse. Maudlin and bathetic.

Last summer I was in Santa Fe for two weeks. Shit, it was two summers ago... to visit a friend from high school. After a week I ran away in a rental car with an atlas, a sleeping bag, a massive library of music and a bag of apples. A couple days on the road and I stopped to camp at some lake utterly prehistoric in northeastern New Mexico. A tiny tent, a tiny fire, listening to Yo La Tengo's And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out over and over. My hair swirled around my head. It was windy and I was on a cliff and the sun set.

When I returned I started bartending outdoors during Portlands waterfront festivals. I served Coronas and margritas to tourists and gazed absently out over the Willamette river to Mt. Hood. The store room behind the bar opened to sell overpriced concessions to sunburned kids playing in the public fountain. The scrawny vendor told me impossible stories... of malfeasance, of betrayal, of the fancy cars of old wealthy Europeans. Because he had nothing to lose, because he had nothing left to remember, because he was fatalistically expatriated from the human family they took a shine to him and gave him the keys to their dangerously fast cars. The crows brought him messages from his departed mother. I didn't like him much and stole icecream sandwiches when he wasn't looking. In August he left for Florida to intern as Goofy at DisneyWorld.

I was dreamless and banausic that entire summer. Over the 4th of July weekend I made my rent and bills in tips. I barely made $12 after Labor Day. They came to tell me I was laid-off, closing for the season. I shrugged and I walked away unburdened. I hated my boss; he was a greedy, bellicose and repugnant man. Still I never got inspired enough to banish the atrocious Hawaiian shirts I was forced to wear, not even to ball them up and tempestuously throw them in the dumpster. After all just a meek memory of piped in Jimmy Buffet, over and over and over and over and over... When I moved I found the shirts still dirty under a pile of shoes in the back of my closet.


The summer after I graduated from high school I was high-pitch feverish and lived life swift and messy. At midnight I conjured up a romanticized plan and inspired John to run away with me. He was always good for that. At 1am I swung my leg over the back of his motorcycle and we tore out of town. A change of clothes, two bottles of beer, an atlas and a sleeping bag. We woke up at the crack of dawn roadside of Hwy 66 surrounded by cows. The pale bluish sky and a softmoist whiskered nose in sleepy fisheyed distortion. The sleeping bag and the crown of my head were damp with early morning dew. The cow exhaled on me. I imagined we would always live like that, it was the seed of my coercion. We came home three days later.

I find myself simultaneously drawn to and repulsed by shared storylines. Today I cant resist the urge to deconstruct, utterly destroy my dependency on the past.

Sometimes when I run I tear fistfuls of plant leaves and blossoms as I go by, crush them in my hand and breathe in what I need to keep going.

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