Tuesday, April 18, 2006

haunted province

Sometimes one needs to see the words written down only so that one can see them erased, typed up only so that one can hit delete, or said only so that one can take them back. Juxtaposition: sometimes a bad idea needs to be expressed only so that one can watch it flounder in a choppy sea of good ideas. Stark contrast: a fleck of black makes white seem whiter. It's like this whenever you go there.

Trips south under a fresh spring sun. Top down, and the roar of that old 318 sings perfectly in tune with tires humming along on aging asphalt. The highway's broken centre line skips by at one hundred, twenty kilometres per hour, hypnotic, while your head nods and your eyes fight to stay open. Serenaded by an endless line of country rebels. The ancient radio, with its one crackling station, plays on. You're strung out, son.

Just yesterday, you witnessed the beginning of the end of the world - but now you're not so sure. It was during one ten hour mescaline trip where the hours clicked by in double time, and the future flitted wildly back to you, stuttering like a nervous schoolboy. Eyes all black with that characteristic pupil dilation, images of the end, bright then dark, crisper than life itself, shone through to your mind on expired film stock. Glorious death and decay. Colourful, decorated armies of one million strong marching through war torn streets. Past the crumbling shells of impotent skyscrapers. Past the throngs of demoralized citizens, their faces hollow and ashen. A steady stream of neatly pressed uniforms. Firearms and battle standards. You, too, were strong once.

Today, the barren wheat fields zip by, full of potential, all too real. You're driving straight into the blue, blue sky, with each rotation of your tires finding an all new now, an all new present. Here, today, hours are hours and minutes are minutes. You're bound by time, and there is nothing you can do to make this trip go by any faster. You're locked in the nonce. Punished, like a disobedient dog. Trapped in a cage.

Sometimes one needs to go backward only so that one can go forward, be silent only so that one can someday speak, or trip only so that one can stand up again. And here's you, the day after the fall. A time traveller turned time captive. An uncommon entity turned common. Now, a guy hurtling down the highway in his car on a trip to nowhere - just a man in the machine.

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