Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Tumbledown ramshackle hovels (day thirty one and thirty two)

Frank's pizza was never the same after it burnt down. Not to the ground, nothing that extreme. But it burnt down all the same. The arcade machine a blacked out husk. No Pacman for the drunks any more. The table football players are no longer playing for the same teams. The red is nor, or brown, or mottled smoke damaged red. The blue is grey. One goalkeeper is melted down, he twirls no more. An old video player is discarded on top. The baize on the pool table burned away, discarded cookers scattered in the dirt, rusting in the desert sun. A nail goes through my sandal and tetanus fears are neon bright. Pews in blue and red are set up facing a screen stretched across the side of a bleached wood shack. All the shops round here died. The railroad goes through Green River, but it doesn't stop. Rustling and shuffling can be heard on the other side of the piled televisions and computer monitors. Let's get out of here, things live in this divetown, by the side of the tracks where the mile long locomotives chug by to one side of the country, or the other.

Swelterblisterheat. Utah is all red sandstone pillars and monuments, lines sweeping through faults and cracks. Fins jut out bold into the desert, sun shimmering mirage makes the road disappear into pale blue haze. Blazing down, sweat drying crustlike onto scarlet skin. Water only helps so much. The air conditioning gave up 5 miles back pumping out muggy air with a stenchfoot smell.

Standing in four states at once don't feel that special. Just another spot on this blasted landscape, eroded lakebed, dinosaur graveyard. The Navajo charge $3 for the photo opportunity, surround it with stalls selling jewellery and jerky and sit in the shade.

That was the most perfect rainbow I've ever seen. All those colours there- red, orange, yellow and all the rest, as well as all the mid shades and half shades where blue merges green. The arch is full, bold against the pale cerulean mountains and dark grey clouds, sunshining behind refracts the light into spectral sharpness. There is no gold at the end, only Flagstaff.

Inside there are a hundred sad platform goodbyes, and now the howling trains bring it back, mournful howls as they rattlerawl on rusted rails through the town, bisecting it with a sweeping line on a planner's map a century ago. I want to be in an old carriage like a bearded bum with a canvas rucksack of threadbare clothes riding on out.

Monument Valley is a famous visage ingrained in us by the spaghetti western, John Wayne. All the horses are dry bones in dry soil, killed by 4WD. Rains come at last, splatting nickel sized drops faster than wiper blades can smear them away. Arizona is damp for thirty minutes. Everyone has swine flu back in the UK. Nothing lives here but crisp yellow grass.

This suitcase has been dragged too far. The clothes are crumpled and battered belongings are crumpled and I am crumpled under a crepuscular sky. Rainstorms are calling my name, but no cross ocean plane is flying my route, so i scheme and i scheme and i scheme, and it don't come to nothing cos it never comes to nothing, so I travel/drive/walk further on. Always further on.

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