5.10.2011

POSTCARD

Dear America.

Mark here...

I would like to break the fourth wall for a bit in this post and write with my real people voice and not my author's voice as a brief change. I will explain why in a bit. But first:

Hello New York, I'm sorry your weather has been so erattic this past winter but I have a feeling that first day of incredible weather, the one that the entire city can feel and know is here to stay, is coming soon. So get your frisbees and Margarita mix ready for sheeps meadow. Its May! Please know I miss you (and by you I mean all of my friends, loved ones, contemporaries and D.J. Reynolds Pub) dearly and I cannot wait to walk on through in July. I am who I am because I became a man in your city. And Boy oh boy do we have a whopper in the mix for that week in July so get ready.

Hi Rochester. I'm sorry your weather is the same as its ever been, frigid. Actually I'm not sorry, your on Lake Ontario and that is what you get for living in the near tundra. But its a beautiful city and raised me well, kept me safe, and at least spring will be short and summer will be here before you know it. Please know I do not miss you, but I sure will be happy to return.

Hello Family. Hi Mom...(I promise I actually know half of the people following me here so don't go calling 911 just yet). How's the house? How's the Labyrinth? Hi Matt, I can't believe you are coming out to Cali, I am so excited and you should be too. Hi Jenn, thank you for the phone, I would be lost without it. literally, its got this awesome maps function and does all of this crazy stuff.

Hello L.A. I had a brief affair with you before we left but I am really looking forward to my eventual relationship with you there come fall. The 79 degree temperature when I landed in January 17th was enough to make me propose to you on the spot.

So...

I am writing you from the R.V. parked on the side of the road somewhere near Sweetwater, (When I began this letter, I am now in muggy Houston) Texas and I couldn't be happier believe it or not. If you haven't caught on yet, this blog isn't so much a blog or journal as it is a public workshop for my writings from the road that I hope to publish in the coming year. Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to read and even kinder to share their response. I truly appreciate it and believe it or not, this is really the first time I have ever shared my writing in the public eye. Thank you.

What has been posted to date may be considered condensed chapters from our journey, written in a specific voice to convey the more existential undertones of what I am going through as we sift our way through America one step at a time. I try to write with the upmost respect to those described, often disguising identities and avoiding days and details I do not deem readable for the public interest do to its lack of. Some days just plain stink...

I also try to write as empathetically as possible with an ease of voice that is telling you a story, not teaching you a lesson. I by no means consider myself a scholar as I do not believe in spelling and agree with Mr. Vonnegut on the use of Semi-Colons. I believe he calls them Hermaphrididic Transvestites that only prove you went to college. But thankfully A.J. is a brilliant english tacticion and is always so helpful in pointing out that I can't spell. Most of the time, I am just trying to put a little poetry in to my other wise clouded thought process.

But there hasn't been much poetry in Texas for me and I have been struggling to catch that voice whizzing around in my head with my hand quick enough to write it all down. But it hasn't been working to well. There is usually a lightbulb and the process begins and I methodically begin writing in my head as I walk so I know exactly what will go down on that piece of paper, or I guess now, screen. I think it has been so tough lately because that voice is at ease. I believe some call it block...

It is difficult to poetically describe forty seven mile an hour winds bullying you into the middle of some desolate road between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Lubbock Texas for eight days straight. It is difficult to explain why screaming at the sky to stop pushing me around became common practice. If I did it would have to be some form of 1850's Irish battle cry and that is just silly. "Blowing winds! Blow to the roads! Blow me to the left and Blow me on home!". Come on...

It is difficult to poetically muse the gas station parking lots we have had to stay in more than we would like or the nachos we call dinner or the six day stretches without showering. Thank God, and Wal-Mart, for durable and sensitive baby wipes. They have been our best friend this entire trip.

It is equally difficult to poetically describe what turned out to be one of the most amazing, inspiring, and welcoming weeks of our entire journey, Lubbock Texas. I say this because I feel the people there who supported us deserve more than my clever take on the world, they deserve my most sincere thank you. 

THANK YOU LUBBOCK!!!!

We arrived tired and haggared from the most difficult stretch of our trip. A few hundred miles, only a few showers, only a few crew members. A woman named Tonja, Hi Tonja, and Bonnie Ann, Hi Bonnie Ann, met us with open arms in the industrial district of Old Downtown Lubbock, much like we were welcomed at the Zuni Mountain Sanctuary. Bonnie Ann put us up in her beautiful home for the week and really became our Lubbock Mom while Tonja, who helps run The LHCUA center, turned out to be our fun Lubbock Aunt. It was amazing.

We immediately received a tour of the complex which is beautiful! I have never in my time in New York or anywhere seen an arts complex as nice as the LHCUA center, complete with a building dedicated to pottery, a state of the art Gallery, a state of the art Black Box theatre (I am going back to do a play there I promise) and even a state of the art Graffitti museum, not to mention several others. They took all of these old auto shops and factories in an otherwise torn down part of town and turned them into an incredible facility for artists of all shapes and sizes and are working on building more residencies. If you have the chance, visit.

After the tour we were aptly presented with six Dominos pizzas (Tonjas partner owns a Dominos, of course) and a fresh keg of Blue Moon in the old gas station now new gallery run by an incredible man named Charles. You know, they just keep a keg-o-rator available for the resident artists. We were told that there would be quite a few people attending later that night for our event. What the event was? We had no clue, but we figured it out fast and soon enough A.J. and I were sitting with a micraphone in front of an audience of seventy five people telling them about our trip and what we were doing.

They stared in awe with wide smiles and open hearts. Many of the audience was gay or bi or supportive or wanted to be but Lubbock is one of the most conservative dens you will ever enter. I would have never known. The floor was soon opened up and a town hall type discussion ensued, Blue Moons in hand as it always should be, and I soon realized that most of these people have never had the chance to speak before. Most of these people had no voice, and they looked to us to be that for them. Most of these people have never been in a room with someone who they can relate to or have their support. Certainly not a room full of seventy five people. But here we all were. I heard from many people later they were planning on dropping in quick and leaving but after hear A.J., Myself and the rest of the room talk, stayed to the end and on to karaoke later that night at Buffalo Wild Wings. Yes, thats right. And it would not be our last Karaoke session in Lubbock.

After the forum, we stayed for at least two hours meeting the people, taking photos and giving my number to anyone who asked. There would be many dates and meal invites nailing my text messaging box the next morning. My apologies to anyone I missed, but we did shit down Buffalo Wild wings the night before. Video footage to come...

Boy were we fed. It is true, that's how they do in Texas. There was an incredible feast of home made guacamole and burritos at Kristi and Michelle's house, a tasty tex-mex at Miguel's (Thank you Buddy), An insanely delicious burger binge at Belly's cafe, on the house (Thank you Belly's), more burgers at Buns over texas (Thank you Bonnie Ann) and some of the best home cooking I have ever had interspersed between (Thank you bonnie ann and Buddy). My mouth is watering over the keys right now...

There was a poetry reading, karaoke, a Movie day for Jack (His Dream) and most important, rest...

One of the hardest parts of this journey is making these connections knowing we must keep walking on. Since lubbock we have trekked Texas, rocked Austin, been taken in by another incredible family in Brenham with an all inclusive Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory tour and a German Maifest and have found ourselves taken in yet again here in Houston. All I can say is wow, and thank you.

So to my Family, friends and loved ones, to anyone I haven't had the chance to talk to on the road, hello. We are doing great. It is the journey of a life time and I couldn't be happier finding out who America is and Who I am at the same time. I have a pretty good idea now but the best is yet to come. We are halfway across the country, on foot, and it has been nothing but beautiful.


I will be back to my writing soon. Texas has been beautiful, unexpected and a lot to process. But it is coming. Thank you all again.

Here's to the Road,

Mark

2 comments:

  1. Who was Buddy?

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  2. We love you in NYC, but we love you anywhere. America is lucky to have you. Our New York will be very different when you walk through. I imagine yours will be too.

    ReplyDelete