Jim ain’t…….or is he? He’s gored on this-here die-lemma. Can he suck it up and get down and endure the crazy arms of night, those bleak beliefs of Nosferatu, or must he bail….lit out for the territories….move on down the line, buddy, to the edge of the city and wink forty with Rip Van Morrison and beat the blankets of ghosts? Best tune in next week. Hey, bubba, Jim’d be a prison guard to your nightmares if’n he only could, but something else calls, yes, something visceral and lancinating that he can’t quite put his trigger finger upon, something that his body tells him is at the end of a rainbow. And like that pot o’ gold, he wishes he was at that rainbow’s resting place, that he could live off the fat of the land, where he could dream of raisins in the sun….but enough of these David Copperfieldian asides. Jim has to sleep sometime, to un-rubber his road, to dream of shuffleboard and Olympic curling and tangled slinkies, to feed the cat, to listen to his Aretha Franklin records, to watch *High Noon*, to…….he’s lost his train of thought, that mystery train of willow-the-wispy wisps, of Captain Crunch crutches, of Neil Young’s blues, of ping-pong diplomacies. You see, Jim’d be here if he only could, but James Arness is back in town, and you know what that means. Filibusters. Office memos. Spooky staff meetings. Endless waiting for Dr. Moebius, and worthless time spent cutting coupons for stuff Jim just doesn’t need….or even want. He’s got better stuff to do. Hey, he might repaint that “QUIET PLEASE” sign he’s been meaning to get to. Or sharpen his kitchen cutlery. Or read * War and Peace*.
Neil Young Archive
Jim is thinking about what his friend Neil Young said: Somewhere in the fire of love, our dreams went up in smoke. I feel like I’ve never had a home, thinks Jim. You know? He feels unrelated to his scheme of things. Maybe that’s good, you know, that I’m not in a place where you can reckon with yourself, he says. You’ve found that what’s most valuable about peopleis that blissful http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Emilton/reading_room/pl/book_1/notes.shtml#musesecret, that http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Emilton/reading_room/pl/book_1/notes.shtml#Orebupright heart and pure view that some people seem to possess.
Jim wishes he could just fall off his “revenge-throne,” you know? Deceived. What time is it? With all his rebelling angelic energy, he aspired to…he laughed at that…he, Jim aspiring to anything was funny. Glory above his peers, maybe, but aspiring? No, he trusted his ambitions to love in vain, to go down to the train station of the cross in Lowell, Massachusetts with Robert Lowell’s suitcase in his hand and to jam with Edward, who he’d met in a botched robbery in Tennesee, all those summers ago. http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Emilton/reading_room/pl/book_1/notes.shtml#hurldOh, the bottomless perdition of it!, screamed Jim. I dwell in a penal fire, and measure day and night with my horrid crew!
I lie vanquished, confounded by my happy doom. Just then his furnace http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Emilton/reading_room/pl/book_1/notes.shtml#thirbroke that horrid silence with a transcendent bright rumble, and he thought of you and how once you went with him to a Who concert.
Jim is hiding behind the hay bales. He is planting in the orange-yellow full moon. He’d give all he has for something new, but then the light of day is upon him, like a dream, and he sees her coming and the water shines like diamonds in the dew.
He is just getting up. He’s going to hit the road before it’s light. He is trying to catch an hour on the sun.
Then he sees her rolling by. He’s feeling like his day has just begun. Just then, he sees an eagle flying high in the summer sky and the river bending down the gorge behind his house.
He searches for his companions who are lost in the canyon beyond the river. It was then that he knew that he’d had just about enough, so he burned his credit cards for fuel and headed out to where the pavement turns to sand with a one-way ticket to the land of truth, and his suitcase in his hand.
How he lost his friends he still doesn’t understand. There was nothing that they needed, nothing left for them to find. So why were they lost, lost in the rock formations which became park bench mutations on the sidewalks and in the stations. They were waiting, waiting…. So Jim (being Jim) just got bored and left them there. They were just dead weight to him anyway. He convinced himself that he was better off without that load.
For some reason, this situation brought him back to a time when he was eight. He was watching his parent’s TV, and it was some Grand Canyon rescue episode where a vulture glides descending on an asphalt highway bending through libraries and museums, galaxies and stars, down the windy halls of friendship to a rose clipped by the bullwhip and the motel of lost companions with a heated pool and bar.
But Jim isn’t stopping there; he’s got his own row to hoe, just another line in his field of time. And when she comes, he’ll be stuck in the sun like dinosaurs in shrines.
But he’ll know the time has come.
*This is a riff on the Neil Young song “Thrashers.”