What strikes you first is just how much emptiness there is. Luminous desolation, a vast unanswerable. Anything can happen in that void, everything is permitted and nobody much minds how or when. A small drop of neon-pink paint balanced on an anthill.
You can shout as loudly as you want and still be completely alone. It is a landscape of indifference, and also one of secrets—moving past
carelessly and without friction, giants striding softly in thunderous
footsteps through the land behind the veil. Sometimes, when the sun is
high and the air is thin and hazy, when everything comes to a standstill
and the world breathes a sharp silent breath in, sometimes, you can see
just the hint of an echo of a glimmer of a whisper of a movement behind
They sometimes call it the hyper-real, where the world coheres into a
thing that is exactly itself but also exactly beyond itself, sublime
infinity straining and embedded within the boundaries of the real. I
call it the dreaming.
In these moments of stillness the world expands its borders. The incomprehensible infinity of
it all, laid bare for a moment in all its sublime glory, the roaring
rush of pure being. These moments can only last a micro-second, the
blink of an eye, a quick stitch in time that leaves shimmering echoes
The curtain flutters in passing, the air is electric. Not
one thing happens. Blink, and you’ll miss it. America is sallow and vast. Sing sorrow and joy, and resilience, and
fortitude, defiance, sing songs of the land. Forgotten places,
overgrowth, sun-baked sand-rotted carapaces of desolation passed
through, passed over, simply passing time.
There’s also the
closeness, the thickness, the embroidery of decay, of rot, the stillness
of pale brown water caressing roots in perfect mirror symmetry. There
was once something below, but now the entire world is contained within
that layer of silent glass that fills all corners and crevices. You can
begin to understand why we put ourselves into the things in the world,
and guard against the inscrutable.
The memory of pain is soft,
sharp, swaying without motion, inscribed on figures that play with the
sun. They stand testament to the eternal track of the world’s turning,
to the traces of light in lobotomy drive, to the relentless passage of
time. There’s an inscription like a body, made like a body, formed like a
body, holding witness to the world.
A time-thin smear
glowing sharp across the windshield and then American concrete snaps.
Three sharp cracks, gun shot void. That’s okay, I guess. That’s okay.
Sometimes when the wind blows hot and dry from Tonopah I can feel it on my skin.
The closest two words I can use to describe the far west are “indifference” and “love.”