Wednesday, 11 June 2008

11 June 2008

Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land, way there beneath the stars, across the prairie of Iowa and the plains of Nebraska, and I could see the greater vision of San Francisco beyond like jewels in the night. He balled the jack and told stories for a couple of hours, then, at Stuart, a town in Iowa where years later Neal and I were stopped for suspicion in what looked like a stolen Cadillac, he slept a few hours in the seat. I slept too; and took one little walk along the lonely brickwalls illuminated by one lamp, with the prairie brooding at the end of each little street and the smell of corn like dew in the night. He woke up with a start at dawn. Off we roared, and an hour later the smoke of Des Moines appeared ahead over the green cornfields. He had to eat his breakfast now and wanted to take it easy, so I went right on into Des Moines the rest of the way, about four miles, hitching a ride from two boys from the U. of Iowa; and it was strange sitting in their brand new comfortable car and hear them talk of exams as we zoomed smoothly into town. Now I wanted to sleep a whole day and go on until I reached Denver. So I went to the Y to get a room, they didn’t have any, and by instinct wandered down to the railroad tracks—and there’s a lot of them in Des Moines—and wound up in a gloomy old plains inn of a hotel down by the locomotive roundhouse, and spent a wonderful long day sleeping on a big clean hard white bed with dirty remarks carved in the wall beside my pillow and the beat yellow windowshades pulled over the smoky scene of the railyards. I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, that I didn’t know who I was…I was far away from home haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the crack of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared, I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost…I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future, and maybe that’s why it happened right there and

2 comments:

Jannie Sue "Funster" said...

What a great place for me to stop for today, his ponderment of himself as a strange ghost in his own life.

Whatever will happen next?? Ooo, chills...

Emily said...

Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land, way there beneath the stars, across the prairie of Iowa and the plains of Nebraska, and I could see the greater vision of San Francisco beyond like jewels in the night. He balled the jack and told stories for a couple hours, then, at Stuart, a town in Iowa where years later Neal and I were stopped for suspicion in what looked like a stolen Cadillac, he slept a few hours in the seat. I slept too; and took one little walk along the lonely brickwalls illuminated by one lamp, with the prairie brooding at the end of each little street and the smell of corn like dew in the night. He woke up with a start at dawn. Off we roared, and an hour later the smoke of Des Moines appeared ahead over the green cornfileds. He had to eat his breakfast now and wanted to take it easy, so I went right on into Des Moines the rest of the way, about four miles, hitching a ride from two boys from the U. of Iowa; and it was strange sitting in their brand new comfortable car and hear them talk of exams as we zoomed smoothly into town. Now I wanted to sleep a whole day and go on until I reached Denver. So I went to the Y to get a room, they didn't have any, and by instinct wandered down to the railroad track- and there's a lot of them in Des Moines- and wound up in a gloomy old plains inn of a hotel down by the locomotive roundhous, and spent a wonderful long day sleeping on a big clean hard white bed with dirty remarks carved into the wall beside my pillow and the beat yellow windowshades pulled over the smoky scene of teh railyards. I woke up as teh sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, that I didn't know who I was... I was far away from home haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the crack of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared, I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost...I was halfway across America, at the deviding line between the East of my youth and the West of my future, and maybe that's why it happened right there and