Sunday, 1 February 2009

01 February 2009

thinking their parents had lived smooth well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot, of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless nightmare road. Juices inform the world, children never know. “Goodbye, goodbye.” Neal walked off in the long red dusk. Locomotive smokes reeled above him, just like in Tracy, just like in New Orleans. His shadow followed him, it aped his walk and thoughts and very being. He turned and waved coyly, bashfully. He gave me the brakeman’s hiball sign, he jumped up and down, he yelled something I couldn’t catch. He ran around in a circle. All the time he came closer to the concrete corner of the overpass. He made one last signal. I waved back. Suddenly he bent to his life and walked quickly out of site. I gaped into the bleakness of my own days; I had an awful long way to go too. The following midnight I took the Washington bus; wasted some time there wandering around; went out of my way to see the Blue Ridge; heard the bird of Shenandoah and visited Stonewall Jackson’s grave; at dusk stood expectorating in the Kanawha and walked the hillbilly night of Charleston West Virginia; at midnight Ashland Kentucky and a lonely girl under the marquee of a closed up show. The dark and myserious Ohio, and Cincinnati at dawn. Then Indiana fields again, and St. Louis as ever in its great valley clouds of afternoon. The muddy cobbles and the Montana Logs, the broken steamboats, the ancient signs, the grass and the ropes by the river. By night Missouri, Kansas fields, Kansas night-cows in the secret wides, crackerbox towns with a sea for the end of every street; dawn in Abilene. East Kansas grasses become West Kansas rangelands that climb up the hill of the western night. George Glass was riding the bus with me. He had got on at Terre Haute Indiana and now he said to me “I’ve told you why I hate this suit I’m wearing, it’s lousey---but that ain’t all.” He showed me papers. He had just been released from Terre Haute Federal pen, stealing and selling cars in Cincinnati. A young curly headed kid of 20. “Soon as I get to Denver I’m selling this suit in a pawnshop and getting me Levis. Do you know what they did to me in that prison?---solitary confinement with a

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