Out There

Where I was and where we’re all from, now so sullenly removed, I watched it go by like a fat sacred cow swishing tail at everything, sauntering slowly across the dark dusty road in the middle of young night in the middle of summer into a black long row of endless impenetrable fields gone forever, vanished from headlights into memory gone given up lost. But it was wild, sort of. At times, some of the times in between all the slow and dull reality. The feeling of it, the mood of the night people and all that what was going on when you do it or live it like life, like nothing special and never enough. But the freedom, the freedom of being young unbounded and it was all was so easy and peaceful amid all the hurry and stress and bother of whatever older meaningless people were doing in their older meaningless world. And I was always secretly afraid that it may not be. 

Like my first time in Wyoming, through Belle Fourche hitchhiking with the truckers three days waiting and partying with the kids out there, even some guys from Michigan working there in a gold mine, of all places I’d never seen before or since and wild west cowboy bars with sawdust on the floor all night in the warm black summer far away from whatever home might be.            

Then crossing the border into the wild wide-open Montana sky of a million miles of blue and dark green hills and get this, no fences just wild wide-open, no people, animals nothing, not even birds, just nothing for miles and hours and you better not run out of gas because there aint nothing here, like telephone state patrol and wasn’t ever gonna to be, just so “look at it all, what’re you gonna do.” And what could you do but just look. Later on down the road there’s maybe a big jackrabbit or two and herds of elk, hundreds of ‘em wild free running alongside the road and open range about half mile away and me being so amazed afraid almost they’d stray in front of us across the empty highway.

Finally we stop in Lame Deer for a cold drink. That wild mountain village stuffed full of gorgeous young Indian girls so all hot and sultry and ready in tee shirts and soft cotton shorts or cutoff jeans and all surrounded by those hard mean cutthroat young men with their scarred eyes from fighting over all those girls. What I wouldn’t give for a weekend there forever and not get killed, so fresh and wild that even the air was cool and sweet in the pine mountain altitude. Places like that are hard to leave, impossible to stay in like the past like that feeling of when it was now. But that’s all fenced in now.           

Forget that. Think of a liquid warm summer of heat pouring out from the white hot day of prairie dust spilling across the dusty road into a night of running all night long under the black stars with no place to go but back into indiscernible morning. We get out of school in Nebraska and decide to go to California. Not even so much decided as pushed out forced to go like schizophrenic and people understand so little and care so little less. That last year of broken spirituality sitting in the modular study room, the social studies room, not wanting to be there and not wanting to leave.

They were mod, hip, and so uncool. The groove was you’d have modular scheduling and aside from a few prerequisites all your classes were elective, like college.  Classes were twenty minute mods, or groups of two or three mods for a test or something.  On Friday I had one twenty minute class all day long, it was religion, twenty minutes worth. 

Grady and Deke would just plain take off and go down to the bar and shoot pool.  That’s what they learned. Sometimes we’d just take off and go cruising around looking at spring come oozing out of winter snow like being young and dead. But mostly I’d just sit there in the social studies mod that was really history with an uncool name which is all this life trapped inside of books with pictures of how I felt sitting there with my desk turned sideways to the window watching the grade school kids playing outside. I watch them all day long and that’s what I learned that last year of hard lessons. Can’t even open a book, can’t even finish a simple lesson. I know it’s all gone and never coming back. I worship here, I am a godless god; this is a holy place, and nobody knows it.

In religion class we had this retreat thing where visiting young black clothes white collar priests with psychology, sociology, divinity degrees and kind eyes come and talk to us in group discussion about life. The nice young fellow asks some questions about it and nobody says anything. That’s the way it is. Everybody talks and nobody says anything. 

Nobody ever talks about what’s important. And if someone does, nobody’s ready to speak up or join in ’cause it’s uncool and they’re shy, don’t know what to say, don’t want to reveal themselves and be laughed at and dead forever. I speak up ’cause that’s what I do, it’s about all I can do. I tell him life sucks. And he probes like a psychologist, like a young priest who cares. He wants to know why and me and what I don’t like about it as if he could somehow take away the pain or take it upon himself and rid me of that. I tell him it’s dull, boring, meaningless, always the same, the same old shit, pointless, it all sucks.

My friend in class is surprised.  We hang out together all the time, we do things together. What we do is drink beer and cruise around and laugh and joke and drink beer.  “You mean you don’t like…all the stuff we do all the time?”  No, I hate it.  It’s killing me, I’m killing myself with my own life. Not what I’d do if I could…if I weren’t just a follower who just hung around with the crowd and did whatever was being done, and not so shy about revealing myself and risking death. Oh well. Now he’s bummed-out and what good does it do to open your eyes when everyone else is blind, or is it the other way around, like taking me years to figure out with logic and research what everyone else already knows without even thinking about it.

Anyway the last good thing in life was basketball season with all the little darlings in the hot crowded gym in their short sweet pep club outfits that not even the old dead people could criticize for being so short and catchy. And they were, just so mouthwateringly drooly all over down your chin just to look at these girls with a blank dumbfound and hungry look like some kind of lone wolf that has to eat too regardless of what the good people think. And the other ones, the punk girls with their dirty skin tight jeans and touchy feely tee shirts just watching and waiting and being there being watched by me. 

Outside it’s so damn cold out in the mix of winter spring with the winds of spring blowing across the remaining snow and dark black sky. And inside so steamy hot like the young girls themselves with bare skin all icy cold and distant on the parts you can see.

Yeah right. But anyway we always had to go have a few cold beers during halftime and it got so that sometimes we didn’t make it back for the second half and sometimes not past the first quarter. That’s what a losing season does for you. It doesn’t build character or make you strong, it just makes you hurt and sick and wanna go crawl away and hide somewhere and get drunk and forget about it.  Should adjust, should just find some sweet girl and enjoy and not worry about it. But can’t, want things to be perfect, want life to be perfect. Like my friends Buzzard and Leo, good ballplayers, surrounded by geeks. Can’t win, geek coach. Everything fucked up, just slip-sliding away and no one cares. Or sure they care, it hurts, but nobody does anything about it. Just let it slide.

Then suddenly basketball season is over and no more hot sweaty gyms crowded with all those girls. And nothing left, just nothing, but spring and Eliot saying it’s the cruelest month with lilacs breeding out of the dead tubers. I was about seventeen if time and age would ever have any meaning, and green as a cucumber. But I knew of things, everything by some kind of natural knowing or understanding through unspoken words and unread books. Like five a.m. sunrise bright as a stage in middle forest, the whole town asleep except me wandering around in someone’s backyard garden picking a white rose because it’s all so everything unto itself scented symmetrical geometric unmade. I want it to give it to someone who isn’t there. That’s everything I ever knew and never learned more. Sad, true, whatever.


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