That was the town where the houses loomed precariously right up to the road, a high speed ribbon with loud tractor trailers blazing by every morning, coked up truck drivers or maybe the reds of yesteryear, maybe just meth, the only shortcut through those spread out and slow moving towns. Some of the driveways were so short that they were only big enough to fit a compact car tucked right between the front door and the asphalt, the back tires barely out of the road with no sidewalk scrolls to speak of. When I was younger we would walk one part of the road after skinny dipping in the woodland lake behind Snyder Park, dark hair dripping down sun streaked bodies, and it’s a miracle we didn’t get hit. Later we found out that the water was polluted from leaky sewage, literal shit.
We went to the ayahuasca church like everyone did in that decade. It appealed to repressed recovering Roman Catholics like myself. The Mary statue at the bottom of the hill was a miracle that was softer, and both of us knew it but neither spoke of it.
I lived in a high house as wide as a Soviet block, the building smelled of many different colored molds, but was painted an assortment of pastels like an Easter egg. This was common practice in that town, a mix of elderly hippies and also some college kids who had majored in liberal arts like I had, they came here to die. The street was littered with decent ideas which had never manifested for whatever reason, too soon or too late, too small or too great.
There was the community apothecary where I had helped clear space for a garden and performance space out back the summer before, a rare moment of volunteering my time, unless you count listening to people talk about their problems. I lugged sharp branches and weed tornadoes out on my bony shoulders, feeling prouder than the brief exercise really called for. But that’s the way it was in that town. Doing anything, you felt pretty useful, as anyone could easily get high and watch television for hours, a habit I never got into, the latter I mean, not the former. Most of my life I was high, I just changed how I did it, and for many years it was only on mania and some sort of gripping spirit fever that tended to affect the females on my father’s side.
April is aggressive, showing off too soon, pretending to be willing when she’s really still cold to her core. She smacks you with wind and sheets of endless rain. Sends patches of sunlight out to fool you into showing her your thin, pale skin, almost blue on the bottom, the rivers that keep you wanting to move. You shiver with your face tilted up to the fiery ball so far off and (as though) alive. But you’re the one who’s really alive, the one with the pinpricks and sharps in your belly, the constant sharps in your heart. Anything dried out and dead can be set on fire to curl up and out into a quick burst of light.
I’d already spent a year or three as a comet, my darting mind would travel down any charged pathway it found, and every path was charged in those days, I was in love with anything and everything, even my fear, especially that. When I was a comet I thought I could solve a thing by thinking about it, I would heat up the circuits too hot and every few days or weeks a regular meltdown would happen, and on those days nothing I said would make sense, so I’d try very hard to stay as quiet as possible. The ways I flew were sometimes horizontal, when connections were still helpful and logic could still be called upon when needed, but mostly vertical and straight up through the roof. My heart would get to pounding, time began to tighten up, inflamed and red as something running from death.
There were gentle places in that town too. The mountain that walked straight up, so you could easily look down onto the entire town, the hurried water and Art Deco bridges dividing it, the careful ruins carved into the rocks, the ice caves with their air conditioner breath, the gray senior citizen complex and the trailer park where I would walk the dogs and the big generator behind the shitty grocery store with limp lettuce, only iceberg, I would hear it as we approached and try to pull the dogs away from their sniffing because I could tell it was melting up something vital, and it was only years later I would read about how the conductors kill people a little, which I guess is why they put the trailer park near it, so it would kill poor people which is usually the way they work these decisions out.