Equal parts fire and gasoline, water and dust, mud, sparkling ash, bent lights, impatience and blood. Equal parts half-deserted passions and overly indulged appetites, forgotten, lost and burning bored like blue fire…yellow lighting streaks, the scent of oil. This is the time of night when the moon really shines its brightest, when it really shows its teeth. Hanging high up there in the middle of sky, casting long pale lunar shadows behind our feet and trailing behind the red red taillights of our speeding car. The blond head we had witnessed turned out not to be the one we sought but just another tired kid, turning corners and banging around blindly. Not our lost friend back there in the in-between dirty alley behind an out of business liquor store and the family services center. It is in fact quite likely that Dover could have left town on foot and could be as far south now as the National Forest, hanging around by the lake.
Traveling, chunky, loud, riotous, the dirt peeling off the sides of the road as we swerve and scrape the guard rails outside of town. Big open pits in the Earth, filled up with wildly bright blue water (unnatural), polluted breezes blow off the polluted ground, water, piles, dead equipment, weed trees like Box elder, cottonwood and red cedars growing up in thick clumps between the gob piles, we drive through these awful foul deserted valleys. We drive through them to get through them…to get away from them…like everyone else does. All of it lying open and blank…coal ripped from the yielding Earth still waiting in stacks. The whole place has the look of a black and white, grainy, depressing documentary…like a film student’s final project (hoping for an A). The pilot light in the blast furnace of Middle American working class industry, a pilot light now gone out and what replaced the flame…coldness…despair…acholoism reigns supreme here in these hills. Alcoholism, drug abuse, broken homes, forgotten talents, worthless dreams….coldness…despair. An alkanet basin, a dug out pit, filled with brackish filth and 20th century rust.
We run along the guardrail, sparks flying as we randomly hit and bounce, we run parallel to an old creaking railroad track. We drive over it at times, back and forth over the same line of track…we pop and jumble each and every time, heading our heads on the roof. The roof over our heads is covered with drawings and words all scribbled up there in fits of madness in red ink…some things stand out more than other…some things fade. Each time we hit the metal railing or jump roughly over the tracks, I find myself staring up at a big red Buddha head drawn in the almost middle of the roof. It shakes when we shake and it appears to grin. It always catches my eye.
By now the dark green tops of tree begin to whiz past the window and the smell of real things, the smell of breathing trees, the smell of moist warm natural air…air worth smelling…worth breathing, smells start to make it their way to my nose. My face feels clean out here in this air. The trees grow their grasping hands up to the dark dotted sky and hold up all of our thoughts. Some things fade.