Saturday, July 08, 2006

moonlight mile

it is hot in los angeles, my favorite kind of weather. yeah, the days are sweaty and miserable, and even though i am religiously wearing sunscreen, my arms are getting a trace of color -- horrors! but the nights are comfortable and sort of magic, although lately i am seized with a persistent melancholy that puts a patina of blue over it all.

like the summer-night blue as i drove home from a brief stop at the doc's last night. i'd put the top down to enjoy the short ride under an open sky. about two-thirds of a moon gave off a golden glow high above, with jupiter a small bright, whiter disk keeping it company. seemingly so close and yet millions of miles away.

the stones played on the stereo. i turned onto fountain to make my way back up fairfax, and mick jagger began to sing:

when the wind blows and the rain feels cold
with a head full of snow
with a head full of snow
in the window there's a face you know
don't the night pass slow?
don't the night pass slow?

i downloaded this song from itunes recently b/c i don't seem to have a copy on CD. i heard it in a sopranos episode not long ago, and it keeps coming back to me. i loved it when i was in my teens and 20s. i'd still say it's one of my favorites. it belongs to that class of tune a rock band inevitably begins to write as success leads to endless touring and that becomes their world: road songs. but the sense of isolation and displacement in it is breathtaking and gorgeous; the song is suffused with a feeling i can't resist, of an almost bodily yearning for the thing you cannot have: at the moment, or ever. and a weariness of awaiting a destination you never seem to get to. but still you move toward it.

sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind
just another mad, mad day on the ro-oad
i am just living to be lying by your side
but i'm just about a moonlight mile, on down the road

and it somehow opens up my mind and makes me envision the world -- the history we are living right now -- as a road, one pointing to darker days and more dread to come. (is that what they want us to think?) for, as much as i feel we are being manipulated, by trumped-up terror hysteria created for ... i don't know why, actually. i really don't anymore. whatever sense -- even the illogical logic -- might have once been applied to the actions of our government, i can no longer remember the whys and wherefores. WMDs? IEDs? STDs? i know that it is not for any greater good. is it really just for political gain? all this death and destruction, this diplomatic mess, the escalation of long-simmering conflicts, the escalation of long-settled ones, the polarization of everything, the hatred and bigotry and increasingly savage promises to wipe each other out?

maybe it really is to hasten armageddon. on the fourth of july, the doc and our other friends came to the canyon loveshack for dinner and fun. while sitting on the patio, in the finally comfortable twilight, a hawk swooped low and snatched a snake from the ground, perched itself in a nearby tree, and proceeded to eat its dinner. naturally, the doc was quite taken with this extremely striking image. (they also saw deer, twice; we could hardly have arranged a better wildlife show, let alone got one at random.) then when we were hanging out yesterday, he was trying to recall specific historical instances in which a bird of prey capturing a snake was considered a bad omen. and the idea that rulers of whatever ancient world you wanna think about actually called in their soothsayers and puzzled over the "meaning" of a raptor doing its natural thing, as though it were a sign from the gods, made me laugh a bitter laugh. it is a wonder our motherfucking species has survived this long. and still the powerful decide their course of action based on shiny superstition and the hubris of their own perceived place in god's plan.

made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
gonna warm my bones,
gonna warm my bones
i got silence on my radio
let the air waves flow,
let the air waves flow
for i am sleeping under strange strange skies
just another mad, mad day on the road
my dreams is fading down the railway line
i'm just about a moonlight mile down the ro-oad-oad

i think this song is pulling on me b/c i feel even more alienated from my kind than usual. in part it's the same old, "what fucking country is this again?" thing. but also i am just distant right now. i am not so much feeling like i hate humanity as just simply distracted -- probably thinking too much about personal quandaries far too boring to get into here. but in a way that makes me more like my kind. i mean, for most of us ... isn't it easier to get lost in the details of one's own angst, or the troubles of one's friends, than to really dwell on the details of a world that seems to get madder every day? better to stay engaged in your own trip, tunnel-visioned down the path to wherever you're headed ... hopefully someplace tasting less of death and cake than this one.

i'm riding sister and i'm dreamin'
i'm riding down your moonlight mile
i'm riding sister and i'm dreamin'
i'm riding down your moonlight mile
i'm riding down your moonlight mile

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