Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars (day sixty nine and seventy)

On every road trip one must pay their respects to the master. In a quiet cemetery, south of town and away from it all, rests the plaque of John Kerouac. Ti Jean, Duluoz, Jack Kerouac. The self denounced 'King of the Beats'. A small turquoise Buddha sits atop a hidden note. I nod my head, wishing that one day I shall be as successful a writer as he. There is no posing of photographs, just that quiet contemplation your brain always sinks to when it enters a graveyard, overcome by the masses of dead and damned underneath Massachusetts soil. The skate kids in the memorial park don't know who he is. Think they've heard of him at some point. They film grind tricks, jumping over the benches and falling, skateboard sliding off at angles. "At least my cousin did one thing right with his life." There is no telling how much of a porky pie white lie fib this is. Speaks of a family not to sad that the boy pickled himself to death, alcohol taking him at 47. Lowell still looks the same. The Merrimack, black flowing past the redbrick mills, some abandoned, old Boott still commanding the riverfront, some historic landmarks, national park service run. Walked here as a boy, splurging words into a typewriter rattle ding and throwing pigskin. We near the end with his end, reading his final chapter. You never read your own.

Persecution blues make a tourist industry make a destination make preservation of old houses make child friendly. There are books about the Salem witch hunts. Volumes filled. Tonnes. A history graduate wants to write an essay. I left all that behind in another country. Hanged the afflicted girls, accused by a child playing power games, hysteria driving it higher and higher. What happens when good men stand by and do nothing. Wars. This is what happens when the good men lose any sense of perspective. Research equals complex social causes and elaborate academic sentences of multiple clauses. The beech panelling of a library has not been on my retinas for months. These cheap dioramas haven't taught me anything.

The Super 8 sidewalk is a domestic scene and we are the audience. Hurry hurry, back to your separate beds - 'Cereal Bridges II' is on and they're carving rice krispie cakes into the most impressive shapes. My palms are sweaty in anticipation for the conclusion of this trilogy.

This is the eastern extent of our journey - out on an eastbound spit, whispering into the breeze. The road won't take us any further, only backwards, homewards. Flick to rewind on the remote control. Atop a giant sand dune, basking lizards, shoes down the slope. Grass holds it all together. We skitter down again, feet plunging deep into the viscous thick grained sand, dampcool between our toes. Provincetown is gayer than San Francisco - rainbow flags strung across the street. The minority of couple are heterosexual. Most are all male, ticking off the stereotypes - bald, tattooed, over preened. That they can be so openly together makes me muchly glad. An overweight Midwestern family stand amidst the human traffic, staring all around them - a lost and vacant gawp stuck on their faces, They look at the sexshop, posters for masturbation, lube proudly emblazoned. Nobody knows how they ended up here. Sold a lie in a travel brochure. "Provincetown sounded so nice, but then it was full of fags. Couldn't stand it. We lasted half an hour. Linda felt sick."

Independent shops dominate, clapboard wrapped houses in varying shades of grey, silver and white and guesthouses proclaiming their vacancies to the cycling contingent. Trellis separates us from the leather shackles of next door, eating vegetarian cuisine under the whitegrey clouds. The Karoo Kafe feeds us up. The Atlantic is away in front of us, an ocean that separates us. Heart strings stretch over waves.

Another ball hooks right, a rusty swing sending the ball low and lost. Head came up, feet too close, bent too much, knees too rigid. Never going that far, but some glorious middle, straight to the hundred metre sign. The child in the next booth does not take to the teachings of the driving range owner. He can do it if he wants, could hit it to the two hundred mark. Just doesn't want to, Papa, my golf lessons were wasted. Stuart taught me well. I've still only ever crashed one golf cart.

Rachel's house burnt down so we are staying with Sarah in a pothead hideaway - Kerouac would be proud. The basement has to be deep cleaned before it is habitable, fragments of herbage spotted onto every surface. House party sweatstains / smokestains / drinkstains - a ballyhoo old ruckus sweet vibe goodtime. You can feel it. The space is quiet now, bar the cricket chirrups sounding outside in the sandy forest, far away, chirrups, and everyone gazes at the same stars from different telescopes, sighing, whispering hushed tones and scrawling into notebooks, empty chirrups, staring upwards at old constellations, twinkling arrangements they all named ages before, before Galileo and everything going wrong, when he scrawled into notebooks, on the sun and the moon, where the crickets hid underneath in the sandy forest, chirruping.

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