Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nathaniel Hoyt - Summer Vocation

I shuddered and died and stuttered and fell. I lay on the bricks and spilled out on the gravel highway. Names came and went, but whatever it was, it was we, and us. We climbed the trunk of a city of roots, while the advertisement beacons bid us to buy another beer, buy another beer. So we did and we did and we did. I kicked open a dumpster like a treasure chest and stood on my tiptoes to peer in. We ate dough and sand, and we ate raw bleeding hearts and minds. We were met with applause. I was outside, inside this city of blisters and infants, and I met up with the wind on two wheels, and I shrugged at twenty-two tons of rolling death. I laughed at tasteless jokes. I moved too fast, and fell, and hurt myself. I was what I wanted to be: I was a child and a nuisance.

I will hone the edge of summer to its sharpest point, to stab into the heart of November and out through March's back. I hate March. I hate November. I need December and I need January. I always forget about February. None of that matters anyway. I'm remembering, in a place where every day is pretty much the same, the trash heap on the docks -- massive, easily the size of a hill, made of scrap metal skeletons and the unidentifiable remains of physical infrastructure. Tools, pylons, rebar, gaskets, drums, bolts, bearings, casings, bits, mounts, chassis, cables, and rust, exhumed from the foundations of the little port city and displayed, for a time, auburn and cold, on the dock to wait for the Stygian ferry, the godhand to clutch and drag away. Waiting to be out of sight, and out of mind. I used to approach the scrap heap as if it were a sleeping beast, shapeless and terrible. You couldn't even touch it, every point was blood. But I so wanted to dive in, to burrow my way beneath the dome and live like some trashlord fox. One day the whole damn thing was gone, lifted away like my hat in a headwind.

We always keep in mind the silly game we are taught to play with authority, and obediently tuck our cheap beer cans into our sleeves while the cruisers slide past. They make me uncomfortable; they are reminders. They don't let me forget this isn't a lawless wasteland (although I'm not really too sure). I know I am being watched; my bravado is a frog's croak on the highway. My rebellion is met with ambivalence, tolerance, condescension too. But when they're gone, I'm back in the wasteland; back in the grit and desert of my fantasy. I just want to build a fort and forget.

I allow the question to linger. Sometimes I think I need the tension that comes from unanswered questions. Sometimes I even like it. I can be satisfied enough just waiting for satisfaction. We rarely make eye contact; our conversations are always in motion, always moving, never going anywhere. Strange, but it doesn't drive me crazy anymore. I let it be. Stet.

We see from strange angles. We have no secrets, but we know all the city's. I think I climbed every tree in this park, and I've probably pissed on every tree in that one. At some point at least one of us will be naked. How old are we, twelve? Don't think we ever grew up. Our time lines are made from movable pieces. We are dogs, or rodents. We are a pack without the politics. When it's over I'll remember how foolish it all was, how futile. But I'll remember it with a grin -- a big, gormless, shit-eating grin.


  1. I loved this piece. Your writing reminds me a little bit of James Joyce, to be honest. Except not as obfuscating. So many great images. I've read this about six times now and I get something new every time. Love!

  2. When this project first started, you threatened to write "without capital letters or commas," and I called you "a real James Joyce." I still stand by that as my favorite insult ever, but I really do love this piece. Reads like a bunch of big brass nuts tumbling out of a tool chest.


    Love it.