Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Rinsed and faded (day thirteen and fourteen)

In a town where the mullet is a badge of honour, the Mexican kid swills from the stainless steel water fountain tower. They gather in the laundromat. Swarm in the street. Their mullet is my ipod, my laptop, my high end digital camera. We are what we own. Our possessions are our outside image. We emerge naked and nothing. We die in a cocoon of piled up papers, moth eaten clothing, TVs stacked into walls, furniture forests, tile quarries. Spanish tongues in Americana. These cheap stores, they swarm like flies on roadkill. Processed food is my ambrosia, in my striped dungarees and thin cotton V neck multipack T shirt.

Morro Bay is a powerplant town looking for an out. Industrial decline can be the spike in your heart. Look, love, one of those sweet little art galleries. Aren't those nymph statuettes the darn cutest thing you ever did see? Shall we go whalewatching? Brush that cinnamon roll awkwardness under the carpet, you only insulted his town's Fourth of July celebrations...

Just don't go back to Big Sur. Crystal sweep of buff sand curly haired driftwood churned with broken glass and kelp. Rocks saltwater scattered in the curve of shore. Sunbathed ground and lizard scatter scrubland. Here be snakes. Every flick of grass in breeze and we flick our eyes- phantom rattles of serpent's tail, they're everywhere today...

This is a town where everyone hides in their muted one storey shacks, three to a room. This family lives in the garage. Dogs run. Photos of younger, gone and done, done and gone, younger photos, days passed. Nothing will recpature those younger days. Things were brighter then, but the ink has bleached out in the sun. Father is a tile cutter. Never left the west side of America, but his humble ways are his ways, are his ways. He has a little, he has enough. The American dream opted out.

We sit and wonder what happened to the 90s film cartoon spin off. Jumanji, Men In Black, The Mask. Hollywood got its shame back.

The staircases lead nowhere and the windows open onto rooms. Thirteen, everywhere. In the panels, in the floor, in the windowpanes. They ring the bells to drive out the spirits. All killed by Winchester rifles- cowboys, injuns, Germans and Italians. The phantoms. She kept building with an endless fortune, a room for every lost soul. Some psychic told her. Superstitions and child steps switchbacking round. The walls are cracked and the rooms are empty. Earthquake weather. I guess the spirits won. No eternal life for Miss Winchester.

The plains fall away from the road, feather blonde hair shimmering in the summer breezes. They horseback rode through here. Before the roads and the cars and the lorries. On wagons, in convoys. Slaughtered the buffalo and the Native Americans. Built a myth and a saloon. Then they tarmaced and concreted and bricked and advertised, and the tourists came, so they built a myth and a saloon and the tourists came, then they tarmaced and concreted and bricked and advertised, and the tourists came. Old trees soak up the water and soak up the sun and stand on their hillside plots watching like silent sentinels. They saw the tourists come, and they'll see the tourists go.

A toe dipped in the Pacific and I say farewell to the ocean. No saltwater for two months, bar what I sweat in the desert plains. Ice cream can only keep you so cool, before you and it turn into a sloppy puddle on the motel wipe clean stained carpet pattern, a mess of cells in an ordered pattern of nylon fibres.

The national park is a communication deadland. Mobiles don't work, and the internet is a privilege to be earned, not given freely. Black bears will skitter down the mountain and rip your car open like a tin can opener does a can. No scents or no sense. They raid. They will raid. Garbage cans are an aluminium treasure chest. They raided. You wanted to capture this on celluloid, but your camera don't want to. A thousand frames and you have a tree. You cannot homogenise this. This is beyond tourist.

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