On The Road

This is the piece I referred to in my last post.

‘In the rear view mirror I saw Marylou touch the envelope in her pocket, her mouth replaying my last words instructing her not to read this letter until she sees my car turn right and disappear from sight.

“Dearest M,

Watching the leaves fall from the trees late yesterday afternoon made me realise I have to move on. What is the point of staying together; any memories, any experiences we build up, will become like the dried up confetti leaves drifting on the wind from the ash and the oak. Only so long as one of us remains in existence will those moments continue to be played out, somewhere, sometime. But when we are both no longer here, those recollections of love, hate, desire, hope, success, failure, expectation, life and death, will cease to be, and cease to matter.

So, I am off, to the next road, the next journey, the next sleep curled up in some motel close to Nowhere. The hours of endless driving, straight and undeviating, hypnotising in their unreachable horizons, teasing with their mirage of a meaningful destination, will sustain my life. Somewhere the car will coast to a halt and deposit me in a single room, with the necessities of life – bed, window, table and chair, a temporary family awaiting in the nearest bar or saloon, the blood ties of rye and malt as thick as any household bonds, the erratic beat of improvised music echoing through the heads of assembled jigging masses, lost from their, and my, responsibilities and relationships and obligations, living the moment which has no past and no future. I will find consolation there, new brothers and sisters and lovers, discussing the non-meaning of life across a cigarette-induced smoke, thoughts spiked by bennies whose cracked containers are scattering across table tops and littering the floor, pages from the Diamond Sutra and Ulysses fluttering back and forth, fingers searching for relevance as self-consciousness surfaces and drowns.

And so how can we settle for house, family and convention when they are but a dream, an illusion, a shadow. To let four walls determine my existence, to constrain my mind like a prison stockade, is no option. You have the children, the centre of your universe, there is no need for me. Every gurgle, every step unaided, every word half- spoken conveys a reason for your being; to me they remind of limitedness and responsibility. The dinners of smiling faces, small talk from small minds, salary and automobile comparisons outdated as the moment they are spoken, the latest kitchen technology purred over like a newborn, encircle me like chains. One drag and release and I hide behind a veil of cloud, positioned on the outside gazing down on this phony entourage of normality.

The office drudgery, dictated by morning alarms and static moments of food consumption, deadlines and contractual obligations, looms like a marriage in shape and form, empty egos always hopeful of moving up, moving on, ambition limited by levels of remuneration, dead men’s shoes a stepping stone to promotion and reputation, profit the new god to serve in a godless society, no time to disagree, object or offer alternative reasoning, correctly shaped handshakes the only bond allowed.

Fear not for me; the road will carry me away, east to west, west to east, Damascus tantalisingly just out of sight day and night, companions hitchhiked like new drugs to fuel and burn my thoughts, lost souls joining the meandering caravan, to be digested and spat out; motels the staging posts of life, the knowing stare of righteous receptionists recognising another pilgrim looking for a religion, her rooms the temporary holding pattern for travellers wishing never to arrive anywhere; a Purgatory of freedom.”‘


(Inspired by On The Road, 2012 movie based on 1957 book of same name by Jack Kerouac)