Beside the Dirty River:
Reaganized and Im-Palinized Along
the Fox River in St. Charles, Illinois
Symmetry comes to your mind, but it’s hardly late enough in the hour to consider it fully, completely. More like, it’s this: Listening to a long sad aphorism by Mark Twain, once of Hannibal, Missouri, thus misquoted, misre-engineered: The hardest thing in life, the thing that really wears you out, the rub, as they say (some call it entropy), is having to spend most of your life trying to convince completely ignorant, stupid, ill-mannered, superstitious or otherwise plain retarded people that there’s such a thing as being smart.
Not to get too prideful on the subject. To think too much of your own education is no humble way to go on living. In fact, information can really get in the way. Too much information, poison. If you have too many beeping crickets in your head, if you haven’t gone completely Luddite (and therefore mad), then you are simply pushing the envelope on what the mind can actually contain. There are just too many things that if you did know, you’d wish you didn’t. If you are like one of those poor folks who are suckerfish for data, well, condolences, bothered brothers, sorry sisters. And if you wield it all like a sword, using the word (lowercase, though solemnly used) like a shield instead of a sword, well, we regretfully inform you that your apologies are not accepted.
On that opposite side of that coin, sometimes, yes, you just need the effing noise. Say you are camped along the mad boulevard of St. Charles, outside of Chicago … and it’s a Saturday morning and the motors are roaring in front of you, camped at the Starbucks, sucking down your caffeine, getting your first cig with coffee for the day. A glorious morning, with motors a roarin’. Down America’s snaky trail they go: The rented cars, the newly bought golden bows, all funded by the cash for cars program, making the whole roadway look like a new car lot running like blood from the old century into the new; the cattle trucks, the dump trucks, the pickups carrying horses to their polo games, the motorcycles, the morons and their motors, there they all go … in camper cans and brightly colored vehicles designed in the late 20th century and made to all look like aerodynamic Clorox bottles, the Porches for the Plutocrats, the Lincoln Continentals for the Republicans, the Democrats, seeking prestige, in their Priusi (hybrids of dinos, still, sucking the vampire blood from the earth, but only half as often), the independents in their silvery gleaming galaxies of wheels, the Redcoats in their redcoats, the Blues in their bluesmobiles, sex and death and terror and awestruck to the bottom of the gully in front of the Starbucks, down the red brick canyon, carting coal or gasoline or ethanol, corn oil and hydrogen and eternal air in the morning’s last pure light. Lawyers dressed as gangsta bikers. Gangsta bikers dressed as lawyers. All of the dogs and cats and homos and lesbians in their convertibles, their hair glaze getting Beatled down by the sun and blazing classic rock radio, their stereos boom boxing their personal music, their power, their Powaqua, piped in by satellites now right into their husks, into their chests, and the latter, their long blonde hair flying wild in the evil, weaponized breeze … a wind, tainted by the Fox River, on this day overflowing and reeking of kerosene … Holy Ronald Reagan! … if you are downwind today it will make you dizzy …
And there you are in front of Starbucks, with your notebooks and designer coffee, your pack of smokes, American Spirits, expensive as a vote in these Chicago gangland parts, with the strange wise guy in a T-shirt staring down at you from his second-floor window right across the street, above the pizza parlor. There you are, with your pride, your conceit. O, you have so much information flowing in your head, faster, faster, faster … esters and ketones and raging hormones, from sex denied from living in the burbs for just one week, for living among the so-called (as Tom Wolfe put it), the “Masters of the Universe.” Little do you know that, even as you think all of these wonderful beautiful mind thoughts, he is plotting against you: the Dr. Cyclops, master of all the fatherlands you can currently survey.
And he won’t pick up the phone today. He, who lured you into this state of placated freedom after a full week of endless horrors. He who knows much more than he lets on, some effing one-eyed grandmaster, He! So you thought you had one grand Peter Pan fantasy in yer head … lazy post-literate you, without a so-called “pot to piss in,” as you have heard frequently during the week. Every time you heard it you looked into your Navajo-made sacred earn for your cig smoke ash. You with you shaman pretenses, your rael as blood pink sunglass lenses … He, with his plan, working against, and yet, despite his best efforts failing … because she is basic, gorgeous, a queen, true to her times as a bee in some mysterious hive, commanding the spirits of the earth, the underworlds and over worlds, her sex divine, her Joan of Arc in full arc, her animal magnetism, fully magnetized, all sharpened by the wickedly severe engine of grief.
O yeah, it’s real. The day you two arrived in this plastic castle fantasyland Dr. Cyclops was hatching his plot against this fairyland queen and long away from home Ulysses, both barely unable to even gauge which way was north or south or east or west, save for the unfamiliar sunlight and the direction of the foul winds, blown up this north by the British Petroleum-launched war to re-take America, an undeclared war that now, not even the U.S. military quite gets yet … from the moment the divide and conquer game was on as you are carefully guided into his road raging castle on the hills of the Shire. The whole neighborhood is a military base in the meadows of the Plutocracy, homes for colonels retired but still having their use, for KGB queens, but hell, they aren’t near half as dangerous to this sacred soil as the real estate mavens in their pink Cadillacs and their busy blood for time-is-money ways and means, all meeting the endless ends, the service to the great digitized seas of that false god: The caches of electronified cash, the stolen formulas for beers, the Kentucky fried generals on their furloughs, watching it all go down in deep bunkers beneath their homes … O yeah, trust this, if nothing else: It is so effing so! In God you can trust. In Ta’Iowa you can trust the things you wished you didn’t know.