So our Million Dollar Highway drive took us down and through sights and heights and split-pin turns, we could’ve flown with the eagles if we’d made a mistake on those corners on cliff tops and drops. We sucked in our bellies on the narrowest parts that twisted and fell with the mountains, we paused now and then to regain concentration, to make sure we were keen-eyed for driving…
With the red dust of Strangeness, Oklahoma behind us, we tacked west and made our way up. My face stung from turps as Texas plains gave way to upended earth and Colorado crept up on us to cover our tracks.
The aim is Colorado with ambitions for Denver. We take an $18 stop at an Air BnB, Oklahoma to step out of Texas just ‘cus. Our hire car runs and rattles down pigtracks, spitting out clouds of dust and kicking out a red mist right behind us. My mind plays out North by Northwest and X-Files movie drive scenes and I have to remember not to have too much fun.
Austin. Achingly hip and alarmingly cool. Coffee bean fetishists, thrift store hi-glam, nu-age craft ales in gleaming clean structures and retro set wide-eyed fresh faces.
Hot dog and burger bars tower their meats with all kinds of sides, only skyscrapers outside match their stature. Weed’s offered out by bar maids and waiters and I don’t feel young, pretty or thin.
Mamma Fay waves off her green gypsy dress,
Pulls the next cigarette to her humming bird lips,
Picks through the cards and the beads in her bag,
Fingertips through her voodoo and prayers…
Mamma Fay walks to the water
Lovers, hold on to your loves
Fathers, hold on to your daughters
Mother’s, keep hold of the ones kept indoors
Back home I had intent and purpose. I made shapes and sense of music and words and all time was divided, devoted. I made time to draw lines from without to within and direct them back out in new twists. People around me helped me build a home studio and they’d switch out the songs mine to ours. Back home I made time to make something with all of my tools at my tips.
Here we move place to place with a speed and a greed that breeds barely no time to take in. We breathe in the air but don’t pick up the scents, time to reflect slim to none.
Typewriters clack with their meat cleaver keys,
Stamping their feet in red letters,
White ribbon scriptures hang cracks to the walls,
And I cant catch a break of a word.
Fragments hang backs to the rafters,
Sheets pass their last owner’s best incantations
Up into my skin with precision.
Polka dot dresses swirl through the mind in tail finned gas swilling automobiles. Iced beers drip in sunshine, drive in movie screens show black and white flicks over slicked back black hair and blonde lipstick curls. This is cherry coke sweet. Polished like high chrome in saccharine shades.
We’re still star-fishing our way in and out, back and forth spikes out of Panama City Beach, moving on interstate spines. This is last trip where we go out and back before leaving our friend’s nest for good. Three New Orleans nights and return then it’s not so straight lines to nowhere.
New Orleans is glistening voodoo jewel jubilation with rhythm and heat in the pit of its soul. New Orleans sleeps rough in the dirt of it’s past, it’s disasters and racial divides. It’s truth is a sweet spot between.
Nashville has an ego. Lights, signs and neons all big as that ego with history gone to it’s head. It’s been ‘Music City – USA’ since WSM AM radio cast out it’s shout over 38 states with weekly live shows and recordings. Broadcasts began in 1925, name was claimed 1950 set against rock and roll. ‘Birthplace of bluegrass’, ‘home of country music’, ‘songwriting capital of the world’; There’s plenty of others to pick from.