Ill begin as I never do at the beginning.
These are notes from my Train Journey, your interest in them, feigned or otherwise ,is appreciated in my most least appreciative way.
We woke, early , the engines roar in the looks of my son’s eyes, Sun rising as it always does, but not. We were being pulled Southways, sky burnished umber , twilit aura of purplosity and pinkisity , the mixture of colors whatever I need them to be to describe what is mine. Sky mountains.
Towns passed: Discarded trash on hillsides, gathered as if in clandestine meeting. Trying to formulate the lives behind these discarded heirlooms, I stumble upon a metaphor of new birth. As if rubbish were a chrysalis ; somewhere a couch has sprung wings , has become the uber mensch of couches.
Leaving Marshall ,TX and everything is moist and lichen covered, graveyardy. My wife takes note of the passing of a cardinal, her voice small but remarkable,infectious with secret.
I yearn for Longview and a smoke, some anthropology, perhaps some poet ill read and be irritated by either his or her talent or lack thereof.
God placed a stranger who wasn’t a stranger in my path named Maria from Portugal. We discussed Fernand Pessoa a long dead writer friend of mine. We part ways but I give a halfhearted promise that will be made into a lie by my hurry to debark , to gift her a book by Bely the Russian symbolist author. In reading back over what I’m typing I must sound like all of the culture Nazis I hate and their Paul Therouxesque way of doing travelogue, forgive me if this is the case , or rather piss off and try to enjoy.
Don, the drunken guy who liked Nickelback and Kid Rock and tried to sing them to me with his out of tune guitar on my last train ride, whom I hugged and prayed for because of his dying father in Chicago happened to be riding back on the same train. We parted ways in Longview , his long braided hair, Willy Nelsonesque, his voice; the raspy smokiness of the east Texas to which i’m accustomed. A voice that is less like saying goodbye than saying hello for another time guaranteed by God, but at a time un-noted in the annals of fate.
Ill soon make reservations for lunch on the train, to eat as the country passes by , the ponds , the alloys of cityscapes, fill my brain to popping.
The black conductor seems a suspicious man, he keeps counting bags, and referencing some pad, calculating something I know to be redundant, to be filed away in an equally redundant database. In my mind I can almost see the digestion of these figures by the said machine , its need for information almost existential, its lack of purpose, like some shitty plot in a Sartre novel ( a medium he should never have attempted). I fall asleep with Sartre’s all too knowing ass of a face in my mind.
We have a mediocre lunch in the dining car, the train shaking , our drink mysteriously not flying off of the table with its paper dressing, a single serve table spread. My food is in my stomach now, and I’m trying to shake off a pre-lunch nap.
Finally! The green grass and the hurl from the city’s tentacular womb, to the trees! The scope of where men were meant to graze. Cows water themselves by sparkling diamond pools. Live Oak and Mesquite. The trend of the sky seems to be blue, the calciferous coral like growth of tree, sprouting its Spring coat, we responding. We denying our response.
I now Know why men take notes on trips. So they can edit them and make things seem as clear cut and great as they wish, and themselves seem as if Chekovs wandering the continent with these formulaic allusions and the ability to apply them to strangers. Wish i could lie to myself and let that be what I was writing, but then id be doing what was against my grain, and that’s most everything, maybe even you. But I digress.
Let it be known that we arrived safely in San Antonio , and debarked , my father and younger brother Conrad waiting politely and right on time to help us load our bags and let us stay at their home in Belcones Heights, a niche area, deloused of crime by gates and guards and certain losses of freedom, we’ve come to equate with freedom. We grow no grain, we harvest no milk , and hide behind gates, but we did arrive, helpless and fat like pink ignorant infants.
Here is the itinerary for the week:
- Zoo and Riverwalk Piano bar ( met a funny piano player, they’re all funny , its their job)
- Guadalupe River State Park Camping Trip- I just returned from this trip so I’ll elaborate.
We’ve arrived at the River , it is named Guadalupe which roughly translated means River of the Wolf , the bluffs here are like grandfathers who will never die, the wind their breath, harsh,quick. The storms of cold surprising, unexpected and all words in that family since I hate a thesaurus. I’m sitting on a bald cypress jutting into the green river as my kids fight and play and my wife lies next to me. The overarching branches yearning towards the water, as if in some spiritual need.
( The Messiah Speaks ) A Cheyenne Poem/ Song
I am coming in sight-
I bring the whirlwind with me,
That you may know one another.
I feel this messiah, he is the rise of the hill, the eroded limestone, the very holes which the water has traveled through its igneous structure, the reservoir beneath our feet. The lives of mollusk’s , strange and crepuscular beneath the waters of the river, he is there too. The sounds we hear are the growth of God, I know this , my pulse races, i think of all the wasted effort of forcing objectivity.