I bought a green and red striped lampshade in a small shop on the corner of 5th and Main in some battered and bruised American town. It made my lonely place look like Christmas, but more importantly, I needed something to shelter me, from the rain, coming in my windows, running down the walls, it’s even chasing me, down and through the halls. Can’t remember what to see, I was looking for something to just say, something beautiful, something truthful, wondering what parts matched your eyes, your crystal-blue cornflower eyes, that made your face a place of peace, like high-country grass beneath the better parts of space, like a white farmhouse, a red barn, a green lawn, all ringed by a wooded place of trees and quiet and the amber hands of some Summer God, reaching down, parting the canopy and letting in the light.
Clothes void of bodies, flutter in the winds of my crowded and unkempt closet, the one over there, on the wall full of bullet holes and big, red hearts all shattered and astray. I got venom in my pocket, I got a bottle rocket — “don’t shoot your eyes out,” the maniac under the bed, said, and Charlie Chan stares in through the window, biting down hard on a skeleton key. I was getting way beyond damaged… Much too soon and much too hard by the tollbooth dictator via Kansas way, that hot sway on the highway and the hunt for a Motel 6, somewhere near Lawrence, where Burroughs used to live and where he died, but it got too late and hazy, the lust wore off like bad medicine and I went on driving—to Kansas City, Amorika, via the fatal stroke of midnight.
Sleeping pills and mind medicine sat on the bedside table like jewels. I could not sleep. I rattled my feet. I stared at the white ceiling, where there cast was the shadow of a one-eyed alien lamp, and then I thought it would be a good time to take a ride in my vimana, and I put on my flying pajamas, wrapped the dog tags around my neck, and then carefully crawled inside. I closed the hatch and ignited the mercury, and we went up, up, up and out through the retractable skylight of night like Mr. Wonka and his magical elevator. I looked around as I rode over the world, the rooftops all shimmering and wet from the rain running down your face, and the Earth an electric grid, with some places very dark, these, the dens of the poor and hungry and forgotten—and some places very bright, these, the dens of those that do all the forgetting.
So, my vimana and I flew around undetected, no one knew us like I know them, if she only knew, what I know, what I know, what I know, of everything back then—and the sun began to creep over the edge of my destiny, and I felt it was time to bring her down. The vimana landed in some other world, looked like the realm of De Smet, South Dakota in the late 1700s. There was a great meadow of tall, yellow grass and it swayed back and forth a bit in the light breeze that they had there. I shut the vimana down and crawled out. There was a chill in the air, and I put on my long, black coat I kept stowed behind the seat. There was a howl of emptiness in the air—as if I had been the only man that had ever been there. The sun was not orange or yellow, but a bluish white. It was a steely sun, a cold sun, a sun undone by time and space itself, but it lit the world around me, no less than the sun of my own.
I buttoned my black coat and put on my Moroccan cowboy hat and lit up a Marlboro red. I looked around at the landscape, seemingly vacant of any man or animal. To my left, a great, long wall of gray yet bedazzled rock for as far as I could see. To my right, that sea of tall, yellow grass crashing against some invisible shore like the feathers of tender Eve. Then straight ahead. There was something there, on a small rise of land. I wondered, if it was the grandmother vimana, waiting for me on the landing pad porch, ringing the dinner bell with the tail of a comet, hanging out the clothes for proper dying, ready to depart to my new world of love and peace and long sleeps in bone-bleached sheets in some white house on a clean street in small town bizarro-world Amorika. I crushed my smoke out with the sole of my cool boots, the boots I bought in Albuquerque right before all that madness began in the Nob Hill pub, and I walked on, toward grandmother vimana.
As I got closer to it, I realized it was no mother ship at all, but instead, a grounded structure hewn from sturdy, gray wood, now bleached by the blue sun. There were four sides, a roof, a porch, rectangular windows with crisp white curtains, and a door. I walked the perimeter of the place and looked around, over my shoulder, no one to be found. I peeked in the windows. There was something there, but I could not tell. It was somewhat dark and hazy in there, so I went for the door. The white knob was cold to the touch. It turned. The door was not locked; it opened with a nearly inaudible squeak. I stepped inside, the wind outside blew in. I walked around slowly, quietly, like an uninvited guest. The floors creaked. It was just the one room, that is all. The walls and the air in there were void of any signs of life. There was but one thing in the whole of the entire place, and that was a wooden chair; it was set near the window that faced the direction I came from. I sat down in the chair; I adjusted my Moroccan cowboy hat and lit up another Marlboro red. I stared out the window for a very long time; it never got dark ever again. My vimana was gone. The wind shook the tall, yellow grass for as long as I stayed there, which was forever, like her crystal-blue cornflower eyes, melting winter’s dawn at the very moment you leave dreams and enter life.