Stroll with Me on the
Sidewalk of Neon Shards.
October 1, 2002
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas to a man who refuses to chunk his cash into the fire is a glass window between desire and resignation.
Lights are glowing on desire's side of the window, and the full force of wretchedness fuses pain to pain, and the man understands the abject senselessness of it all, and sees desolation as a reflection on the glass.
A crowd of thousands makes a meandering stream of humanity, which courses on all sides of the solitary walker, who connects to no one. Six weeks into his journey, wandering cautiously, he remains stunned by the perception of failure. He couldn't become certain that he would be able to rise above it.
The bindings are loosening. He can't remember the last time they were tight. He pictures the stumbling mummy in a shallow mirror. What a pity to be resurrected as a thing dead.
The Cruelest Oasis Imaginable.
From the desert hamlet of Rachel in a sweeping arc on Sunday he raced into the deeper desert, and through it, climbing and diving, to arrive after three hundred and thirty miles of circular contemplation at the cruelest oasis imaginable. The hard stone beauty of the treeless mountains became an etching in the rearview mirror of El Camino, images stretched like the range of peaks across the thin slice of reflective glass, images fading fast like sketches in wind and sand. No turning back, no return accepted, nothing. Nothing.
He sought a counterpoint, but saw only a solitary flake of hope, melting, melting like the last snowflake of a flurry and the disappearing dream of one praying for the whiteout.
He would disregard the rest, and rise up as if from a coffin, and be dogged and willful. He would create something, an everyman, then put words in the mouth of his creation. The words would appear as curving tubes of neon, glowing streaks of mock profundity. The words were glass, the tubes glass, the path he walked a glass path like thin ice, like the treachery of a curse.
Baby Blues, Crystal Greens.
He would command his creation to look into the windows of eyes, the baby blues or crystal greens of any one of The Others, gamblers or hangers-on who might be strolling or stumbling along Las Vegas Boulevard; he would do this in the prevalent mood of cruelty, fully knowing that the laser beams of anyone's soul would blind the newly created everyman to whatever shards of truth might reside there in the windows of the soul on the other side of the glass.
If he were unnecessarily cruel in the desert dusk....
— and he might be cruel, just might be as mean and heartless as the dying sparks of vanity and expectation, which fall like hot and sputtering rain upon the gamblers —
....then some masked henchman from a circus tent would catch him in a tiger's snare, cut off the fingers of his writing hand, whack! with a quick blow of the cleaver to prove that competition exists. You, the one who still believes: You can pick up the severed members and put them on ice, rush them to the neurosurgeon. I could care less here on the wide and smoky sidewalk of broken shards.
A Tooth for a Crown.
The Eiffel Tower is a mere boulevard removed from the Statue of Liberty on the Strip in Vegas Town. The ocean has been dried-up and ripped out and stuffed in an archive. That way, the people can stroll from Paris to New York City without getting their feet wet, change continents in the flash of a eye, extract a bloody tooth for a crown, throw the useless enamel in the pool with the sinking and the sunken.
Something is over. Thank you, I know you mean well, telling me I'm good at this, but it's just not f**kin' good enough to be good I want to be great, great at something, the one something that isn't over.
To my creation, I toss a warning onto the brushed felt of the ancient playing field. The warning tumbles and crashes against a wall, spins and settles under the glare of the serpent's eyes. Here is the warning: I'll drive a Gold Spike through your heart. Just as soon as I find someone, maybe even a henchman, to strap you down to the sidewalk and jerk the neon from your mouth.