I’m almost an American in Baltimore here tonight, drinking my train bourbon and going to see my baby, even though I’m not an American and she’s not much of a baby (and wouldn’t want to be called one) but, all the same, I’m getting to her (just not fast enough).
Beside me the real Americans sit, or at least the politicians of them, the peoples’ representatives, here in the expensive car, the true thieves perhaps, who are so taken with their vocation that they steal into Washington in darkness, on the rape, discussing their agenda for treachery while sucking on the lollipops of greed.
But (I am telling myself urgently) only love has real power here on the Metroliner, all else is exhaustion, blue shirts, and this guy who’s talking about the cancer caught in his throat which is trying, as he sits here rigid behind me, to get out. We all have needs after all, but this is the fellow who has twice already talked about using his disease as far as sustaining the voters’ favor.
“C’mon Pete, I’ve got an esophagus full of rot and death’s on my campaign poster. I’ve been like an Uncle, a Brother, to them. Get with it.”
Another guy, who’s pretending not to go bald, is bullying a woman in a soft voice, and as I have a thing for women tonight, and especially women who are being bullied, I feel like leaning over to his ear and pulling out the hairs he’s got in there with my big yellow teeth, which wouldn’t be an elegant process, but, and as I’m thinking about it, the cancer boy in his Brooks Brother shirt, stumbles up and heads for the bathroom, muttering dammit a lot, and it comes to me that this is the death train moving and I did nothing more than get lucky, hitching a ride, but getting off way before D.C. comes.
It’s a thing to see, bad fate close up, but I’m also reading the James Lord doorstop biography of dear lost Giacometti, a genius who made iron-sculptured faces far worse than any of these these and died himself so long before. So fuck them. Trying to weasel their way through to some kind of personal freedom, while all the cameras are at the other end of the line, up there in Boston. My Daddy told me to always look the other way.