Rave On: postcards from Slow Trains


Rave on words on printed page... rave on fill the senses...

-Van Morrison
Rave On, John Donne

from The Inarticulate Speech of the Heart CD
Thursday, August 30, 2001
the state of desire

They say that lust is a deadly sin, but how could this be so? Lust keeps you alive starts your day ends your night brings you love & keeps your passion bright. Perhaps God could replace the sin of lust with something wiser still -- say, overuse of the remote control. Lust creates children breeds devotion inspires great music brings you to your knees writes lyrical poems of joy and madness and sets your spirit free. Who ever wrote a sonnet about television?

(See fiction in Slow Trains Volume 1)

Monday, August 27, 2001
Batterymarch Street

Bad Hand

It was a bad hand that Monday morning walking Batterymarch Street in front of Jimmy O'Keefe's. A deuce of spades, an eight & four of clubs, the Jack of diamonds, & a crushed pack of Marlboros. I could practically see them late the night before sitting at the high tables in front of the windows flung wide open, memorizing to the best of their abilities the bet, the pot, the winnings, & if any of them had a hand like that, the losses. Cezanne would have cramped up trying to portray that many cheap bottles of beer. Somebody flung what he got dealt last out the window in disgust, having to pay up from way down. Funny, though, on the way home from work I saw a few more cards as the cars changed spaces. There, tossed under the back wheels & trunk of one parked to the left of the bar, the Ace of clubs & the Ace of diamonds, as if one of the friends in the Sunday group wore the lure of long sleeves in the heat of a July night.

(See poetry in Slow Trains Volume 1)

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Highway 17 Southbound out of Sault Ste. Marie -- past
Garden River, Blind River, Serpent River.

I'm going home. I've got these two transport trucks ahead, and they're really moving, pushing everyone on the road to go faster -- and we do. They bear down on the unsuspecting like something out of a Stephen King novel. The ones behind try in vain to pass. There are plenty of passing zones, but each time we reach one, they both pull out, blocking the way and when we get to the part where it merges back to one lane, we find ourselves in the same order that we started in. There is a divided highway with two lanes both ways just west of Sudbury...this is where we will make our collective move and pass them both. When we get there, right there, we find a detour. The local police, puffed up with importance behind their reflective sunglasses, wave us off down a side road. I lose the trucks and am soon lost myself.

Highway 69 looms out of nowhere and I am off again -- past Estair, Bigwood, Pointe au Baril.

I hit the farthest reaches of Highway 400 -- 3 lanes now both ways -- and up ahead I see them. The same
two trucks, still taking turns riding each other's tailwinds. But I've got them. I gain and blow past on the left. I couldn't be happier. I won. I would do a little dance if I could. I've been behind these guys for 600 kilometers -- now I'm ahead. I win, I win, I win.

"Slow down," he says. "You're going 160k."

I am stunned. I slow to 120k. I have spent the last week barely going over 60K.

It sneaks up on you; the speed, the noise, the urgency. The closer I get to the big city, the faster I go -- we all do.

Sunday, August 19, 2001
River City

A storm is somehow more personal when you're walking, and therein lies the tale. This one blew up under cover of a grey-green sky after days of too-hot and too-humid-to-genuinely-enjoy summer weather. My discount store umbrella and I were trudging happily on our prescription walk under unmistakable storm watch clouds, guessing at the exact point the storm would catch us.

The storm teased us haughtily for nearly half a mile -- a drop here, a sprinkle there, umbrella up, umbrella down, umbrella up again, certainty of being drenched fading to conviction that we'd reach shelter in time to wait out the storm's fury, returning to certainty.

Then the storm arrived in all its frantic majesty. First a sustained gust of hot wind, bearing with it the unmistakable smell of the rain backing it, straining the resolve of the umbrella to hold up against it, even pointed properly to resist the wind. Then rain in sheets, wind veering to the right, then sheering to the left, the umbrella suddenly sprung clear out of shape, then fighting back to half its former silhouette, flapping ominously, but resisting with all its might. Twelve blocks to the first possible shelter at the gas'n grab up the road -- lightning, sizzling around us, thunder booming and receding, rain continuing in sheets, coming so quickly the gutters were filled and the storm sewers choking.

We arrived with exhilaration and great dignity at the glowing fluorescent shelter of the home of overpriced goods, the umbrella flapping crazily but proudly, me soaked but for a few square inches. Somehow I just couldn't resist quipping to the folks shivering under the overhang by the door. "Hey," I said, "I hear it may rain today."

Thursday, August 16, 2001

When I was in Miami I went skydiving for the first time. I was not terribly afraid, because I like to be lost in time & space -- transatlantic flights, scuba diving, long train trips -- any place where people can't easily find me. I went skydiving because I was at the World Air Games in June back near my childhood home in Andalucia, where there were freeflyers! cloud dancers! skysurfers!, and I wanted to be one of them.

When I jumped for the first time from 11,000 feet and was freefalling, it was a better rush than any drug, than any midnight club, than any dream I ever had about how things could be. By the time I landed I was, for that moment, everything I ever wanted to be -- the most powerul woman in the world, more seductive than the flamenco dancers I idolized as a little girl, stronger than my friend who climbs ice-covered mountains, and a graceful and brave maestro in la fiesta brava of my life.

Monday, August 13, 2001

One I Wish I Could Name

In the next chapter a butterfly, one I wish I could name, black, & at just the right wingspan angle against the sun, a vibrant blue hue, lands on the silver granite. She rests. The frill of white lace, a little yellow & red at the edge proves she's a dancer, more abstract & beautiful than Sargent's El Jaleo. Her proboscis tongue licks salt off the stone. Sexy castanets serenading. Her dress flies up, black thong tugs at the long cleft between the small of her back to below belly. Toast a thimble of sherry. The desire to possess the unpossessable all dancers are. Did Nabokov kill butterflies? The inevitable arrives. She's setting out for home. Spain is a long way off. She flutters toward me, & with a quick, seductive glance behind a fan, leaps out across the vast Atlantic, the lightest ripple on the sea.

Friday, August 10, 2001
New Orleans

"There's a moon over Bourbon Street..."
I can hear Sting crooning softly in my mind's ear as I look out my large hall window at Our Lady hovering over the New Orleans nightscape. Yes, it is Sabbat. The moon is hanging pregnant. Tomorrow she is completely full.

Ah, we are quite haunted here.
You almost have to close yourself to it. It's a bit intense. You must visit sometime if you haven't already. This place is sacred, decadent, and ephemeral: in two hundred years we will be underwater. We are below sea level and sinking...a doomed Atlantis of the New World.

Tomorrow night I will go into the Quarter, head first into humid night heat, and dance drunkenly, wildly under her gaze. It is my offering to the night, to Our Lady, and to my home. Sabbat ends tomorrow after Our Lady blooms. Like our fair city, she too, will soon wane.

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Denver, Colorado:
Sunrise: 5:59 a.m.

"Inspiration move me brightly
light the song with sense and color,
hold away despair "

Terrapin Station

I sit at sunrise in Silo Park before I begin meditating and let the questions and the ideas and the feelings of a new day flow slowly through my mind. I face west and sit with my back to the sunrise, watching the light begin to illuminate the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

There are not many questions that truly matter in an ordinary life -- what are you most afraid of? what will you contribute to the world this day?… but today, one of my favorite questions stands out for me…What are you most excited about?

I often ask this question of teenagers that pass through my home -- what are you excited about? They tend to look at me in surprise, pause, say they don't know…but then they'll dig a little deeper, reach for the buried contemplative life of the mind, and come up with something that they are excited about, becoming momentarily a little wiser and happier for having considered the things that matter to them.

Today, I am excited that my Siberian Husky puppy can finally interpret the true meaning of stay…at least when she wants to. I am excited about learning the art of ritual drumming; excited to watch my oldest son enter his senior year in high school with confidence and optimism deep in his heart; excited that most days I can remember to slow down enough to sense the rhythm of sunrise and sunset.

But most of all, today I am excited about the launch of Slow Trains, and grateful to have the opportunity to bring out into the world some wonderful writing, ranging from the love of music to lyrical, prismatic poems. From Pamplona to Las Vegas, from baseball to Vietnam, with the humor of pigs in the bedroom and envelopes that speak, the premiere issue of Slow Trains travels into some of the most fascinating and vulnerable territories of our lives.

This Slow Trains journal, "Rave On," will be written by many correspondents from many locales, while at home, or on an adventure, and also in reflection of past and present journeys of the heart, the mind, and the body. The journal will be updated at least on a weekly basis, and often more so.

So, welcome aboard our literary adventure, and we are excited to have you here!


Read the earlier postcards in the archives.




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