Wednesday, 11 March 2009

11 March 2009

on a June night in New Orleans. All up and down the street whole families were sitting around in the dark chatting; occasional girls came by, but extremely young and only curious to see what we looked like. They were barefooted and dirty. We leaned on the wooden porch of a brokendown general store with sacks of flour and fresh pineapple rotting on the counter with flies. There was one oil lamp in here, and outside a few more brown lights, and the rest all black, black, black. Now of course we were so tired we had to sleep at once and moved the car down a dirtroad to the backside of town and flopped off to sleep. It was so incredibly hot it was impossible to sleep. So Neal took a blanket and laid it out on the soft hot sand in the road and stretched out. Frank was stretched on the front seat of the Ford with both doors open for a draft but there wasn’t even the faintest puff of a wind. I in the backseat suffered in a pool of sweat. I got out of the car and stood swaying in the blackness. The whole town had instantly gone to bed, the only noise now was barking dogs. How could I ever sleep? Thousands of mosquitos had already bitten all of us on chest and arms and ankles, there was nothing to do but give in to it and even enjoy. Then a bright idea came to me: I jumped up on the steel roof of the car and stretched out flat on my back. Still there was no breeze but the steel had an element of coolness left in it and dried my back of sweat, clotting up thousands of dead bugs into the cakes of my skin and I realized the jungle takes you over and you become it. Lying on the top of the car with my face to the black sky was like lying in a closed trunk on a summernight. For the first time in my life the weather was not something that touched me, that caressed me, froze or sweated me, but became me. The atmosphere and I became the same. Soft infinitesimal showers of microscopic bugs fanned down on my face as I slept and they were extremely pleasant and soothing. The sky was starless, utterly unseen and heavy. I could lie there all night long with my face exposed to the heavens and it would do me no more harm than a velvet drape drawn over me. The dead bugs mingled with my blood, the live mosquitos exchanged further portions, I began to tingle all over and smell of the rank, hot

No comments: