-- It is summer. You open your window. Somewhere, the sound of
gas-powered lawncare. You know not from where. It comes from a different
place each day. But if the sun is shining, lawncare is happening. It
never fails. it never ceases.
-- You were certain this path through a
residential neighborhood would be straightforward. Upon discovering
that the road bent left, you decided to turn back. Only, going back the
way you came, you cannot not find the main road you came from. As you
walk in the summer heat, the trees somehow provide paltry shade despite
being tall and broad. No soul is on the sidewalk. You do not wish to
knock on someone’s door and ask for water. You take left turns and
right, hoping to find another main road. But there are none. You wind up
in front of your house, and look back. The houses that you just passed
-- You are fairly certain that one of the cars that just passed by you had no one in it.
neighbors purchased a Chevy Suburban. It pulls into their driveway one
day, and five, six, seven…eleven children exit the vehicle. Your
neighbors across the street managed to produce twenty children in ten
years. You have not seen a child playing on a lawn in this neighborhood
in the last ten years.
-- It is nighttime. The stray cats are out,
silently sprinting across the lawns to the next bush. You hear a
high-pitched squeal that you’re sure no rat or squirrel could make. A
cat appears beneath a bush, crunching something in its jaws. It looks up
at you, eyes gleaming in the light of the street lamp.
-- What lies
beyond the orange glow of the street lamps? What is shifting in the
darkness? Is it just the branches waving in the wind?
-- In the
distance there is always the low, dull roar. It never ceases, only
becomes more quiet after midnight. Then one day you step outside and
hear nothing. You shiver.
-- As you walk across the sunlit parking
lot, you can feel your life force draining away. Everything dies a
little in large parking lots.
-- The sunlight leaches all color out of the world. Time slows. You walk across the bright field, and it appears to go on forever.
flock of starling passes overhead, twisting and turning in a massive
flock that appears to be of one mind, as if it is a school of fish in
the air. Perhaps it IS one mind.
-- You are commanded to weed the
front sidewalk this sunny morning. Pulling weeds by hand. They hang on
with all their might, and leave their roots in. They will be back. They
always come back. They live to remind you that your world will only last
so long before the grass, and shrubs, and creeping vines, return to
reclaim what it rightfully theirs. The very trees loom, waiting to drop
their leaves. They will attempt to kill your lawn with dead leaves this
fall, the same as they do every fall. The struggle against the wild
never ends. You who wished to place your dwelling in the midst of green,
you failed to consider how green things grow. You did not know that the
green devours all, in time. You have only borrowed this space from
them. Herbicide, pesticide, lawnmowers, weed whackers, it matters not.
They are still here. They will be here when you fall.
-- You can hear
the birds, but never see them. The bird watchers have special tricks to
find them that they will only teach to the pure of heart. Also the ones
who have enough money to buy a birding guide. Surely your family has
enough money to buy a birding guide? You live in this neighborhood,
-- Are the clouds…real? They look for all the world like
some kind of backdrop animation. Very well-done, at that. The detail is
spectacular. The forms shift slowly, so slowly, yet chaotically. Nothing
in that landscape remains the same for long. But it’s just an
animation. It’s not real.
-- There’s a gigantic house that was built
5 years ago on a tiny lot. You’ve seen bright flashes of mauve light in
the night through its uncurtained windows. And heard screams. The house
was foreclosed a year ago. Nobody wants it. It is selling for a dollar.
Nobody wants it. You could buy it if you hadn’t spent all your change
-- There’s an entire neighborhood where every second house
is foreclosed. The remaining residents keep saying they’ve seen pale
figures walking right through the doors of the empty houses. They say
they’ve been getting itches all over. They keep fainting and collapsing
in hysterics. Although those last thwo are probably because of the
plummeting dollar value of the neighborhood. Nobody who remains is able
to sell their place and leave. One by one, the remaining occupied houses
-- Everything and anything happens behind closed doors.
That’s what the police reports indicate, at any rate. None of the cases
you page through have anything about an arrest or indictment of any
kind, not even for the cases of vivisection. This is a town where
everything is kept quiet. You decided to get out of the police station
before they find you and decide to keep YOU quiet.
-- A black family
moves in next door. Suddenly all your neighbors stop talking to you.
They won’t say why. Next week, your neighbors across the street have
moved out. The week after that, the house next to them has moved out. A
year later, the black family is gone too. They seemed so happy last time you talked to them.
-- There is no rebelling against this place. If you would change it, you must join it. You’re always free to LEAVE…
-- You wonder if you could just step up into those silver-lined clouds and float away, never to return.