Sounds unspooling from the stereo. The sky low and gray. A bit of futuristic windmills here, a homemade billboard there (HELL HAS NO THERMOMETER), over there a stretch of satellite dishes and soybeans, and over there deer after deer, facing the green grass of the interstate medium, just thinking about it. A bottle of vodka on the passenger seat. I call it my “car bottle.” Do not follow my example. Enough corn in Indiana for every man to have his teeth kicked in and replaced by yellow kernels. Possibly I appeared in Ohio casino. Very cold air, whistles and bells, and everyone either laughing hysterically or so glossy and silent as to be embalmed. So many cigarettes, watery rum and cokes, and the 14 would never hit twice and everything—including the thick carpet of neon pink roosters—drifted off like Dostoevsky (who once gambled away his only coat in the grip of Russian winter). Where is my phone? Where are my eyeglasses? What happened to the sun? Pennsylvania I forget. In New York the Seneca Nation sold me tobacco, tax free. You can’t imagine the guilt of purchasing gas on an Indian reservation—cannonballs and buffalo hooves bouncing off your chest. Almost bought a dream catcher until I saw the word, TAIWAN, so settled for a Pepsi. Witnessed Walden Pond. No, witnessed an exit sign in Massachusetts, slept in a motel with an outdoor pool and indoor oil drum of coffee, drained and empty. The room smelled like Pine Sol and spider eggs and glue. I burnt a thin cigar. Tossed in nicotine dreams of Walden Pond, so shiny, this glare and glitter, its entire surface bobbing beer cans . . . Finally, New Hampshire. What is in New Hampshire? Granite, that’s what I’m there for. Something solid, as in real. The Man on the Mountain, a serious, listening face. “The Old Man of the Mountain,” the ranger laughed. “He was pulled down years ago, by the wind and rain, at midnight. There is no Old Man of the Mountain anymore.” At four in the gauzy Pennsylvania morning I stopped to ask directions to a granite quarry. The cashier–an older woman with wonderful pink/gray hair blown out like a fistfight–looked at my six of cheap beer and the big bag of Fritos and said, “That’s a good time right there. You know, I’m jealous. You’re about to have a real good time.”

Sean Lovelace
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