I was traveling west one time at the junction of the state of Colorado…and I saw in the clouds, huge and massed above the fiery golden desert of eveningfall the great image of God with forefinger pointed straight at me, through halos and rolls and gold folds that were like the existence of a gleaming spear in His right hand, would sayeth, “Come on boy. Go thou across the ground; go moan for man; go moan; go groan, go groan alone. Go roll your bones, alone…”
-Kerouac, Visions of Cody
My sentence is up… my number has been called…It’s come to an end- and by that I mean my thirty-two years of living, loving and losing in a small populous corner of the Earth bounded by the Hudson to the West; the Atlantic to the south and east unleashing into our care her stormy children, and finally to the north the mountainous forest stretching all the way to the icy grasp of the Arctic.
The beauty is that while embroiled in the current tumult and chaos of my life, I have had the privilege of seeing a path open up for me to go like so many dispossessed souls of the near past, out West: relationships with family and friend have become strain, new career opportunities open And I cannot avoid any longer the heavy burden of suppressing the malaise that I have carried for a lifetime chasing dreams that now I’ve come to realize were not my own, and befriending what seem like multitudes of people who never reciprocated back the intensity of the emotion I had for them.
I spent so much time alone, tired, broke and depressed walking aimlessly the streets of NYC. It’s easy to see that for maybe the most random assortment of people, looking back on these meandering walks into and out of the shadows of sky scrapers I have been part of the background in their vision of happier times, I have been the face of the ironic unperceived anathema buried in someone’s genteel memories.
I don’t know how long it will take to end up where I will end up, but already things are in motion. My apartment lease is up July 15, and I am out of a job in May. I have paid my debt to the city, to those people in my life and I am free. To quote a poet: Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. They day is coming when I fly off …
Where the Road Ends
This is a picture of where Kerouac’s On the Road ended in NYC.
So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old…
The “broken down river pier,” west of Kerouac apartment at 454 W 20th St, has been renovated. It has walkways and manicured lawns littered with joggers, skaters, bikers, picnickers and dog-walkers. There is a similar peer not to far away I often sat at to watch the sun set over New Jersey. About two weeks ago I sat on an opposing peer in Hoboken NJ looking out over the River and I was taken back by how free of what I saw. I have been out West before, but this time I will be going not looking to find anything, not looking for anyone, just content with being on the sur le chemin. Everything I do now in the city is suffused with a sense of finality which has made life and little more enjoyable.
In a perfect world this happens sooner than later, before May hopefully. But life is weird like that I may have to finish out the semester teaching so we shall see. I will be chronicling this hopeful change on the blog.