Homeless Town

The city washed away in the darkness below me - the sound of the harbour tugs pulled at the blue bridge and the lights of Victoria basked in the clarity of the sky and the southern cross on the pacific horizon; the frost of changing season washed hotly over my ears and the clouds of breath were punctured by the invisible pulse of my heart; by the mark of hard stars. The path towards the bridge spread out, crushed limestone and all; there was comfort in the unsteady sound of traffic on a Wednesday night with the smell of salt and the measure of peace.

This western realm is nude on the face of the sprawling globe. The height of the sky is blunt and the distance of tracing stars is present in mind like people can never be. With all this, the roads to this place have wound through experience and now they are exiled to memory where the probes of excitement are blunted by some distilation of poignancy and fact. It feels very fine to stride along this dark path towards the scene of so many recent crimes; the house of cards, the palace of waylaid regents, glints in mind like five years savoured reflection in mirrors, in spades. The smiles of allies and those of acknowledgement all deal hands of reputation. There in the city, washing away the tide with the weight of people and melancholy is a puddle formed as the remains of old friendships die and new ones challenge new feats of psychological inherence. Where have you been, brother? What have you seen?

The black leather of these old boots has bound their English soles to the motion of passage; to the process of grinding out the mileage of memory. It seems so near, that day, on the onramp to Pensylvania southbound U.S.A. and the mad citation howling as it stopped five hundred drunken feet away. The oldboys inside all laughed when I asked if there was room for me -- "anyone goin' to Kentucky's good folks by me" -- so off to the races, as the oldboys proclaimed eternal love for the women that were with them. Between beers they promised new dresses and fresh starts. The car was destined for a Pittsburgh flop house and it washed out the details of birch trees as the wheels spun us through iron hills and industry towns marked by shotgun shadows in speed limits and place names.

So goodbye Pensylvania, you're in West Virginia now, and by the coil of a narrow bridge near the end of an unrelated day I am following the sun into the cab of one truck towing another, to Lexington and sleep. The conversation ranges across the endeavours of freedom and baseball, and what it was like when Dawson rode with the Angels in the sixties... but its the nineties and he wishes he were in Alaska and puts me up for the night with his glazing crew and drops me off with the sun in Tennessee at a cloverleaf artery that spread us out with the direction of Chance and Nashville behind me and Texas flavouring a horizon bleeding with possibility, like whipped steel set in the swath of hot amber.

Those memories of sand under boots worn smooth; these rubber souls in Golden Gate Park. The Pacific ocean is pounding the shore a hundred feet below, daring the earth to give. Michelle's dog is rocketing through the pines beyond the path and the air is humming with the velocity of flight in the guidewires of soaring hangliders. Out over the open space of the static charge of the ocean, powering the collumns of sky and thunder and the surf riding my mind with fantasies of North America spreading out behind me; and me, orphaned with dreams, and free to be with a voice to throw away, to give to the open space, to carress the careening projectiles of imagination and hope -- the wonder of living in the realm of myth and drawing her soft body into the closure of a dry moment of laughter in bed, warm and smelling of fabric softner and smoke.

Here I stand now, in the same boots, but tied only by the tread to the frost marking a trail behind and back to the bridge, crossed on the trussels with the harbour yawning below -- dead fish and drift-wood, dry docks and the closure of a season of moments and experience -- a parade in my passage across the country and into this town with its churchyard memory of pissing on the wall and sleeping by the fire between the ocean and the twinkling lights of this homeless, human, town.


All words Brian O'Reilly