2010 le bel homme excerpt: The Northwest v. Mid-West v. KY v. HI
THE green of the Pacific Northwest is like a dagger. Yet it has no point, and no edge. It is gigantic, and you can walk right up to it. So you do. You walk right up to the deadly sharp point and you find that it is nothing more than a soft moss. You walk around and through the moss, taking off your shoes because it asked you to, to the gleaming edge of the blade’s cut. You find that it is only the bark of a great and arcane tree, older than the first footprints made around it. It is always green, this tree, and it cares not for you. It wouldn’t even care if you cut it down. It would just come back in the distant millennia, to be gigantic still and care not that footprints no more ring its one great leg. This tree is the ultimate snob. Snubbed, you follow the blade’s shaft down to its base, to see the handle. The handle is almost endless and quickly moving. It is first grey, then black, then white, then unseen, and then everywhere. You try to touch it, and your hand comes back cool and wet. Hail and rain spatter your face. Quick flashes of rainbow color blind your eyes and instantly the swirling grey white masses paint them back in. The handle is a cloud, and you could never hold it. So who the fuck is holding it, you wonder, for otherwise why even proffer the handle at all. Before you even finish the thought you know, knowing before you know the knowledge scrambles up your spine with rodent feet and your hairs reach up in praise of the doom ghost god. The volcano holds that handle. The volcano holds it for a very long time. Holding it so still, the volcano looks like the pure edifice of whatever glory could adorn whatever might be glorious. But out of the corner of your eye, as you grocer, as you promenade, as you velocipede, when your mind is focused elsewhere and only the misty ends of your senses catch it, your hairs stand up for the doom ghost. The doom ghost of torrential continents of violence, the doom ghost you know for a fact will rise again, the doom ghost mountain is holding that dagger. It is holder that dagger tight.
THE aura of the Atlantic Mid-West is that of a proud middle-aged woman being kept in a windowless, locked basement where she is periodically raped by someone she once considered a friend. There are worried wrinkles and frown lines mixed with uncannily extant timeless beauties and untouched graces. Dirt and detritus chaotically and superficially pollute a ruddy, healthy and heady complexion. You do not have the courage to talk to the Mid-West. They will come down to the basement again. The Mid-West is silent and grim. But were you to hold her – were you to come close – you would know that mysteries and innocence still remain: how fireflies weep the dew in the night to bathe the grasses for the morn in early summer. You would feel the deep power of contrast she holds in her gaze from the sweltering, wet, insect-infested high summer tortuous with life and green to the low winter months of endless brown fields and legions of leafless, lifeless sticks, verging on inorganic in the bitter grey wind. She will fuck you, and then she will beat you. The same was done to her, in what may have been a natural reflective spite. You walk through what once were cane fields but now are abandoned concrete masses. No water but mud. No tree but younger than a human life. No air but a collection of gasses. No sunset without the orange tracers of civilization. No land but title. No animals but scavengers. Only the orange thunderstorms of spring have held on to their aristocratic robes. The Mid-West will fuck you and then beat you. The very sad thing is that that can start to feel homey, like a dirty blanket or cold cereal in the morning.
NEITHER KY nor HI go in for flat chested landscapes. They both go in for the earth that puts out. Going to Kentucky is like climbing into a vagina covered in horse hair. It’s either too wet or too dry and it smells like horse shit, pollution or nature depending upon your position. The trees in its national and state parks are dwarfed by the trees lining the pompous lanes in its central cities. The northern three counties pretend they are really in Ohio, as the southern counties pretend they are in Tennessee. Large numbers of central counties like to pretend they’re not even in the United States of America. And they’re not. Because Kentucky isn’t a state, it’s a Commonwealth. For example, to fly into Northern Kentucky, you land at the Cincinnati International Airport. The airport is actually in Kentucky, but it took forty years for the Commonwealth to have its name added as a subtitle to the institution’s placard.
NO one picks you up at the airport for the first forty five minutes. Even though you have over three hundred family members within ten miles. This is partially your fault, because you don’t like them, and partially their fault, since they don’t like you either. Eventually a three hundred pound seventy three year old man with diabetes pulls up in a late model domestic minivan, and takes you to the drugstore.
HAWAI’I is more of an island nation used as a trading card between nations on larger islands than it is a state. The big island is littered with foot long centipedes that bite and mongooses slowly devolving into weirdly cute rats. The big island is mostly empty aside from lava rock, volcanoes, jungles and resort towns, and full of open air buildings where smoking is nonetheless still verboten. The moment you land, you walk through an open air airport where you are prevented from smoking. You walk the walk of shame to the corner across the street to smoke where a giant Hawaiian man steps on a giant Hawaiian centipede with his giant Hawaiian sandals.