Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Freedom Cocksmoke Ltd by Mike Lyon

Houses seen from a train window reveal their private nature.  An unfinished expansion stapled over with plastic.  A dismantled car, rusting, unidentifiable make, some long forgotten pet project.  Garish plastic playground furniture.  Birdbaths filled with mud.  Sequestered behind high fences, hidden from the neighbors; the train passenger is afforded a special glimpse into the quiet, pathetic moments in the existence of a house.

Graffiti changes from town to town.  Underpasses and corrugated metal retaining walls burst with beautiful color here, suffer beneath shitty monochromatic signatures there.  Some towns clearly house artists of a finer caliber: discreet shading, gorgeous goofy characters, clever koans in mock typeset.  All glimpsed in the fraction of a second.  Absorbed, forgotten.

The forests are never beautiful.  The train tracks act as a magnet for the limitless junk littering the edge of the wilderness.  Discarded folding chairs, suspect barrels of ...? plastic cups by the millions, a crushed laundry basket, a Connect Four game board.

There must be a whole race of weird itinerant trash haulers, bundled in limitless layers of mismatched clothing, wandering through the woods, weaving close to the tracks in a perpetual sine wave, arbitrarily depositing refuse that overburdens their gargantuan rucksacks.  They all wear goggles, invisible if they want to be, mostly nocturnal.  It's no wonder you've never seen them, but they exist--who else would abandon that big red beach ball in the middle of nowhere?  The Trash Nomads played with it.  They tossed it in the air, jogged comically to bump it up like a volleyball.  They laughed and clapped sarcastically when it got stuck in a tree.  It was a little too pretty for them.  It made them depressed about their lifestyle choices, so they left it on the edge of the woods by the train tracks, so you could look at it.  

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