Sunday, August 30, 2009

on a motorcycle

On a motorcycle you get a better sensation of what a road is, and in this country the vast majority are hard, unforgiving slop-mixtures of rock and fossil fuels. Nothing grows on them... or, I would wager, under them.

On a motorcycle you can smell a road much better than in a car: its grease and grime... its spills. You can smell the other drivers and their exhaustive passage. Long before you can see them, you can smell the piles of flesh, gristle and fur that line these roads. You can smell the fertilizers on the fields you pass, and the sterile impersonality of the suburbs you cringe through.

On a motorcycle you can see the impatience of the drivers as they risk your life for one minute closer to a job that will allow them to pay the taxes that will pave this road that they will zip unthinkingly over on the way home to sofa, TV and refrigerator. You are closer to your own death this way, but it also makes you think of the deaths of others... the forty-thousand a year in this country who die on these marvels of modern civilization, these black snakes of death.

And on a motorcycle - seeing and thinking these things - you wonder at all the thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of these snakes, writhing all across the continent - tendrils of death that have worked their way out from the cities and now lay heavy upon this land in a dark, inescapable web through which nothing grows and upon which many, many living things die.

You wonder, then, at your tragic complicity with this culture that has made this thing, this web. You wonder if perhaps you are nothing more than a very small, willing bug... zipping along with the eyes of your soul shut... waiting for the spider.

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