for Bob. M.
Mark the first page of the book with a red marker.
For, in the beginning, the wound is invisible. - Edmund Jabes
And so it was I entered the broken world to trace the visionary company of love.
- Hart Crane
'A man of many false starts...'
- Opening line from the manuscript spoken about below.
Mon Cher Marcel Meursault, homo viator **,
tumbleweed rumor, post-war roamer,
son of Cain, Biblical stain in from desert storms,
Petrochemical companies flare just cross the highway, multi-lane signals of Mammon Cathedral in the Wasteland, it's neon void promises a Velvet Jesus, a Velvet Elvis to a desert kingdom of the far flung, you being one of them, now home from the war in exile before and after, returning to the beat up but beloved truck that also tells a story and leaves a stain. Black puddles beneath write the names of God:
Jake, his slow breakdown while breaking into those stately mansions of the godly rich; hard lessons of earnest Private Dodge wanting approval and love ill sought from the gold-toothed, refugee Drill Sergeant Tomaso, late of Liberia, a wannabee Jehovah with too much power over America's young game boys shipwrecked onto military shores.
This tale staggers. An overly educated veteran of the Iraq war driving his bondoed cab - the 'Great Spackled Bard' he calls it - here and there in Texas edge town perimeters of Mammonopolis where the money is compelled to dirt roads, back streets one would never intentionally drive if not for need of money forcing a military jacked, peg-legged hobo's freedom of sorts, shattered leg below the knee ignominiously left in the sands of the Shahs to make mutually agreed upon brief commitments with strangers to destinations ending with a discharge and a fare-thee-well.
Between nocturnal addicts, the usual after hour customer, arrives the graveyard-shift nightly migrants; Waffle House, respite rituals of grease and gravy, the Medusa-wigged anorexic waitress with echolalia loudly repeats every order to the ash-tipped cigarette cook, a stubbed butt on a busted lip; she repeats overheard conversations at dirty tables, customers politely pretend not to hear the gossip-large confessions of littler lives pasted Hopper-like to the diner windows glaring reflections without error there where the only self-reflecting going on is the scribbler in the pink booth perversely taking it all in, thinking, feeling, penning it down in notebooks looking for himself in those echoes with your stolen shades on, eternally cool in his capacity to tolerate what you call 'the great densities' - immense absurdities de le quotidian.
Love them. Love them all, even those monolithic chemical companies, those justly reactive radio heads, their words blown out of cab windows - 'the wind blows away our words' - heard all the way to East Coast night up on the roof under the orange sky holding your manuscript in hand, flashlight New York City, words discarded or dragged screaming from a passing car compelling compassion, curiosity, hinting a calm eye in the center of eternal return's static-pitched dispatch to the corner of Crackhurst and Waffle House and back again, all 'amor fati'. The eye observes, swerves to miss the Mexican kid chasing the ball into Same Ol' Street ('same as it ever was' - David Byrne) , notes it with caffeine amphetamine laced and traces 'the visionary company of love'- stubbed cigarettes, sputum maps coughed and spat.
Indeed. Chase that company, chemical visionaries, down streets missing a few teeth, the bent antenna unfurls a remote prayer flag from coldest Himalayas fluttering, flung from gypsy cab windows, wordless hiccups of eventing into the oblivion of the obvious - flutter-flap ancient technologies of cloth strung holey in bleak majesty, gesticulate, pleading 'Mercy' for all the species, eventually our own, obliterated by human tracings. In another Buddha tongue:
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
GONE, GONE, GONE BEYOND,
COMPLETELY GONE BEYOND-
Keep going with all this, the other bric a brac. Three-legged dog pants, knows only that scented tires owe him a leg up in the world. At least one. All opening lines are strung up years ago when you were that freckle in 'Father Bob And What The F*ck Land', all the books (never false starts) read and to be read written since then and now and to come during the insufferable hours, forlorn miles in the merciless cab all jib jab flap and flutter real voice about poor human choices which even at their worst vote for visionary company in those universes revealed even in glittering Texan and Iraqi sand.
It is so brilliantly human to find the diamond in the sh*t.
And no need for genius which used to mean something but not any more.
On with the boring center line endlessly dividing though broken on purpose suggesting a way to veer. No guide needed here. Fear is the drive shaft, and longing turns the wheel.
Damned good you are inspired then amidst progress's smoking mirror, like Blake, a wake-dreamed jeweler mining away in-breathed while sucking those cigarettes and lovers, the endless hash browns, along Texas highways and byways waiting for another dispatch to Bumf*ck and Divine.
The psalmist says it right, no matter the blight:
'Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.'
I await another dispatch prayer for the far flung tracers.
**homo viator means, man the traveler, man on the way,
the latin name Gabriel Marcel uses to designate the human species
especially modern, now postmodern man.