Long Riders

by dschapman

I met an old woman by the bay with a hairnet. I pushed her in the water and I held her down while she drowned. “I’m not really an outdoors type,” said the woman as she ate an apple. She throws her soul into it. I’m torn and famished. I can’t believe my eyes. It’s pure magic. Miracle science. They call him a wizard, but all he did was get lucky! It’s not science – it’s blind attrition! Shucksters, charlatans, gypsies with their hands full of sand – drank whiskey, got rowdy – wild buffalo, jamming the tracks with their corpses – came the fire and the iron and smite the old tribes down, the ghost-white face of eternal God bringing his upbringings with him. Hell was there for a while and it will probably still be there, at least thats what I’ve been promised. But I cannot trust anyone anymore, as they cannot trust me. I don’t even remember what I’ve seen. Everything is misdirection, like I’m a magician. Amnesia, hypnosis, sleight of hand; and then I am gone again. A fool for love – interstate at night with the lights on, shining like a corridor into Heaven, sweet and low. Can I trust mine very own eyes? I read the biography of an actor named Montgomery Clift every day for a month before moving onto a dead philosopher named Ludwig Wittgenstein. It was like having sex – it felt wholesome. I felt filling. That was before I moved to the city, dragging my suitcase behind me, my old leather coat on my back, my mouth full of pills; still carried a cane, then – attrition – in the ancient city – monuments rise from the earth like cypress knees, ten thousand feet high; towers of mortar and glass rising up out of the countryside, pushing up against the ocean and reaching out with sprawling fingers into the water. I’m a fool for love after all. No one ever called me a romantic, but I could have been a romantic. I could have been anything, and look I did! Like any old ape would have done. I got lazy. And I ate. And I hung on for dear life while the earth rotated around an invisible axis at 1,000 MPH through space.

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