bap scwap klangedy pling.
and then there i am. awestruck on the asphalt, prostrated on the pavement (“johnny! we got a man down here!”) and that son of a pistol that popped me didn’t even pause. no, no, he just marched right on and punched it hard and went til he disappeared and by the time i get around to getting myself back on my feet, all these hooded men have circumferenced me saying who knows what in arabic and i just smile and feel a pulsing throb in my left wrist but i wave them off and i forgive them for not recognizing my invincibility (lordy how boring this life will be when i hit 377) and i approach my loved one, lying there, helpless, so heartrendingly dependent...and i pick her up and look under her spokes and stroke her gently and give every beautiful inch of her a once over and scrape away the plastic pieces of taxi van and apologize and i shake my head because for all these endless miles this is the first time it’s happened to us, a new milestone in our relationship (i’m a sad, lonely man), and i fix her up all nice with some minor (and very delicate) surgery and then i says to meself, hell’s bells, i hope that was a first and a last and i sit on my girl (steady now...) and we ride off because we got nowhere to go and we gotta get there.
and once i found a place to invisible myself from all the eyes, well i sat down and relived it all (my life is one of retrospect; present tense is just something to trudge through) and a matter of teeth skin could have made all the difference either way (and, i ask you, which way is better?) and then i got a cold sweat and so i just breathed and i thanked the everysomethingnothingvoidness of it all for sparing me for a couple more days or years or lives and as i poke at myself to make sure i’m not in heaven (or hell or in-between or reincarnated into a cricket or...), i think why y why y because it all could have ended right then and there but it didn’t and why not and what’s it all for and where’s the meaning of anything and does there have to be and oh bla dee blah blah blah and then i remember it’s all just electrons and particles in a black box and vibrational energies, but really i don’t believe that for one second so i look up and gently say, “hey god...thanks.” and after waiting a more than appreciable amount of time, i console myself trying to believe god must be too busy for a “you’re welcome,” and so i head on off (off and on) feeling a little disappointed at all these one-way prayers (and then i was disappointed in myself for my disappointment....ah, this life....(but is it so wrong to just want some sort of acknowledgment?))
and then i start to ruminate and cogitate on why this van was even allowed to hit me in the first place but this will get you nowhere and that’s where i’m heading anyway so i stopped thinking like that and went.
and the miles slide by oh so slowly with each passing car making me flinch and swerve and curse and worry and i just want to be the only human on this planet! and stop honking at me you fools! all of you! fools, every one! in your controlled-climate capsules! warp-zoning from place to place! agh!
and the hours go where they go and the sun follows its path with the moon racing close behind and i continue on my own race with all humanity from the cradle to the casket and i tap my brakes just to slow it all down.
and the world is overflowing with anger anyhow so i don’t get mad about any of it. i must love my enemy and doubly so if he is also my neighbor. peace be with us all. jesus said so. and then i looked up and said, “jesus, thank you too.” and then real quickly i said, “don’t worry, you don’t have to say you’re welcome.” and this way i wasn’t as disappointed as before. (oh, the things we do). but i did hold my breath and statued myself (didn’t even blink) just in case there was an acknowledgment so i wouldn’t miss it. because if there's one thing i know it's that you just never know. but nothing happened. and that sinking empty feeling of disappointment set in again and oh how i wish that all too often vacuous numbness i get was un-inevitable.
all these grey clouds. this never-ending road. i’m tired. and hungry. i need this day to be done so i can relive it in a couple of tomorrows and only then will it have happened and truly be behind me. where i put everything.
the worst part of the day, now. where will i hide tonight? to my left, fields of standing stagnant water and putrid mud. to my right, identical. ahead, no change in sight. road, straight as an arrow. hell’s flutes and zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-day.
where will i sleep where will i sleep where will i sleep will i sleep will i sleep peep sheep deep leap i pray the lord my soul to keep. the game i play every goldblessed night and oh allah how i want a holiday inn with a complimentary all you can eat breakfast bar (the kind where you can make your own waffles) and stiff sterile cotton sheets and eighteen bleached-white towels just for me and a plastic bucket for ice and a view of a parking lot and yes, vishnu, this is what i want tonight, how i want it all so badly and the free soap too.
but i am in a flooded swamp of oozing slime and i just go and go and go and go and maybe that’s something over there and as soon as i get off the road my bike shipwrecks in the slop and believe me (something you should rarely do) you ain’t never seen mud like this and in just trying to push out of that manky muck i get covered in it and it sticks to everything and all three of my wheels are caked with it and they lock up; i can’t even move my bike. so i have to take everything apart and find a puddle and a stick and scrape and rinse and it's all a mess and i’m befouled and i shake my fist and grit my teeth and close my eyes and breathe through my flared nostrils and i look up at the forty shades of grey and say, “is this my ‘you’re welcome’ god? is this my acknowledgment? eh? you listening? you even up there? is this it? because if it is, then i don’t want to be welcome! or acknowledged? you got that?!” and immediately there was a dreadful silence and i felt awful and i picked up a wad of mud and threw it and it landed in the surrounding sea of mud - glub phlub - and i got back to making my wheels spinnable again and under my breath i said, “look, i’m sorry, ok...,” but i didn’t know who i was saying it to.
and then i see some men selling dead goats and i ask if there is anywhere to sleep and they say no and then the rain starts and this world is out to get me and it’s almost got me.
but after all the emptiness i see a little something so i stop and the guy speaks some spanish and i define my predicament and then a different man walks up and it’s all arabic to me and i sit on the sidelines with hope in my heart because – now listen to me here – you must always have hope. even when you no longer have it and especially when you don’t even want it.
and that man that walked up whom i couldn’t communicate a lick with took me to his house and he ordered his daughters to clean my bike and i didn’t allow such a thing and so we all went out and he did most of the work and we used sticks and an old brush and there we all were in the drizzle and then his daughters brought me some clean sandals to put on and we washed my sandals and feet and and then we went inside and he showed me a room that was so sad and lonely and perfect i almost started crying and he brought up a car battery and some copper wire and a light bulb and we sat down and ten minutes later his daughters returned with piping hot coffee and tea and olives and olive oil and peanuts and bread and margarine and eggs and we all sat there and had us a feast and hell’s trombones i was exhausted as no other and i didn’t even remember getting hit by that van (until i remembered it) and then he said it was time for dinner but i closed my eyes and made snoring noises and he laughed (deep, from his belly) and i laughed (and glory be i felt good!) and his daughters laughed (it was lyrical) and there was so much joy in that moment i wanted to hold on to it forever (but everything is temporary and fading) and they understood my illustrious little hint and all turned to leave, and right before they left, he looked back at me, and in english, the first and only english he ever spoke, he turned to me and said: