Saturday, October 07, 2006

After the harvest, after the departure, before the arrival

thoughts rendered by the smoke lounge at mccarran int'l:
the endless dings and pops of the slot machines in the b-terminal. the occasional hiss of a successful slot i have not heard.
can't tell the ash of my cigarette from the dandruff round my collar, down the backwards stitch of my inside-out tee shirt.
the thin, miniature gambler, his long strides, assured plastic grin, stalks in for a match.
this marvelous toothache of a town.
there is no beauty here.
like a strainer with no holes, the bile at the surface, here.
her makeup, her tired heavy eyes are no match for the grim, florescent lights. from the immense, circular snow-hued pillar in the middle of this room, this perpetual terminal, there extends 25 panels, varying lengths, of harsh unfeeling light. each panel points in directions we might hope to travel, hope to leave this glossy hole.
what would captain cook find here? no cannibals certainly, as the only fights here are the insufferable odds of the slot machine, which serve as the same odds he would face on the great white-capped mystery he took head on. This place would render him dead in a day.
we are fat by every desire nourished, and surely our enemy wouldnt keep our jawbones as the tahitians did, wouldnt post them on his marae, his temple, but for the shame of such a sad-sacked saddle-bagged foe.
that the first tahitians who met the West thought us goblins, they were right, and gods who saw from the back of our heads, wrong; but that we row facing backwards, pressing ahead blindly, our faith in the man in the back of the boat, of that they were right.
our ingenuity and our curiousity will undo us. first, by boat, our pale ancestors, sick of rain and rock, they longed for lush and moist and fertile stuffs, and by sea power, found that.
then the wright bros took us farther, left less to mystery.
now, only faithful ignorance leads us anywhere but the despair of nothing to discover by impending complacency, and a bigger belly.

but have fun, they say. lighten up, they say. quit smoking, cigarettes make you depressed. quit worrying, your dandruff will go away. get a job, find your niche, or forever relegate yourself to the wanderings of a bottle rocket with no guide stick. prone to burn out mid-air, and like icarus, it's not the climb so much as the fall that hurts.

the boarding call comes for my chicago connection. then, my detroit flight. but finally, to the volvo that takes me to the toledo funeral. to the thunderheads like sinuous fat cut from the bone; how they greet me there with rain so thick i squint for unblinking bloodshot taillights until the clouds bath wet ohio cornfields with the unreserved yellow of the naked sun, and my cynicism is silenced.