Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scintilla, no. 7 | My People

I am Mouse, and I hail from Trailerwood, USA.  When I see a photo of a man with stringy colorless hair, and scraggly beard brushing his solar plexus, in a bare room, clutching a beer, I am transported.  That is My People.  Those girls, hardly teenagers, in the tiniest shorts, drinking slurpies outside a convenience store.  My People.  An upside down American flag, an abandoned strip mall, a bikini-clad girl on a hotel balcony, a low mist settled across the floor of a wood, blue/black tattoos, rusted trucks, snow, and braids, Willie Nelson and the Meat Puppets, dogs with missing limbs, cats with missing eyes, small children with dirt smudged across their noses and packed under their fingernails, tall grass fields full of grasshoppers popping like corn.  Mutts of every kind.  My People.  Men in heeled boots and Stetsons, beer and packages of bologna kept icy in creek beds, panning for gold, bottle cap collections, nudity amongst ferns and in hot springs, wildfires, torn jeans, freckles and birth marks, roads which wind about mountains and shoot straight through desserts.  My people are always saving up for a horse.  The West, and cowboy stories, and knowing Doc Holliday’s final words by heart.  Axes and shotguns propped up in corners.  Pond baptisms in godless God’s country.  Lost polaroids in the sand, and dolls half-buried in mud.  Men selling watermelon at the side of the road, and traveling families crowded in U-Hauls buying two for the trip.  Corn whiskey.  Broad, high cheek bones.  Passing by the Redwoods when I am 10, and stopping the car to reach around a tree, my fingertips brushing my step-dad’s and my little brother’s, and still the three of us not nearly reaching all the way around the trunk.  Kittens hiding in a pile of fire wood, and being yelled at for eating the grapes off an old man’s vineyard.  And eating blackberries, too, which grow wild, so we don’t get yelled at.  Moccasins staining my feet sienna, and freezing at that sound, that rattle, feeling my heart seize, more scared than I had or would ever be, and leaping away like a gazelle, with luck on my side, just that once.  Rock hunting.  UFO spotting.  I’ve seen ant hills in the dessert taller than a person, taller than me.  Men who hoot and holler while children roast hot dogs on sticks in an open fire.  Women who daydream too much, or drink too much.  Growing up to not be one of those women, to not be old before my time, but still scanning my eye along the trailer parks beside Tryon Rd., still perking up at the name Oakridge, still telling people that once I lived on Route 66, and I found a homeless man in a dumpster.  Still riding so many buses.  Still hypnotized in the passenger seat by the high way moving under the car like water.

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