overhaul / undertow

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

So lately it's been foggy around here.

It's quite odd. Fog is normal for this time of year in Southern California, but not the sort that lingers throughout the whole day, expanding upwards to merge with the low clouds, hugging the tops of the mountains into obscurity, filling the space around you--that used to be so big, such a big sky here in south Glendale by the railroad track and all the old buildings no higher than two stories--the sky opening up above you like a blue dome, waiting to suck you off your feet--and now the fog, like I said, filling the space around you so densely that you can't see clearly to things, like trees and lightposts, just a few yards away. A haze hangs over everything. From the freeway, which during my drive to work I travel on for the space of about forty seconds, the land looks as though it has been dissappeared, only a few rocks by the shoulder to indicate the presence of something massive possibly crowding in around you, unseen. All you see are the asphalt stalks supporting the overpasses and the swirls of ornate graffiti, and the tinny delicate lamps sagging in over the roadway where we all rush along, our passage both echoing and hushed by the white stuff. It's as though this little corner of earth here, by the river and in the crevice of the hills, is being annexed to some other world, but slowly so as to avoid discovery.

And when the sun sets, and I drive home along the freeway (again) and then off the first offramp onto the road that goes past the cemetery and over the hill into Hollywood, it's either a blankety grey dusk, sinking down over the valley like a tired dust disturbed from the valley floor itself, drifting grey and dank along the tops of everything, an exhausted blue wash; or it's a hellaciously beautiful carnation sunset, the sun a flare with no edges, the sky the color of salmon and sweet-sixteen roses, throwing light over the cityscape, creating a hyperreal look to everything; the fog still in the air but thinnner, attenuated, stretched out to a spiderwebby veil, as though you could reach through it and have it stick to your fingers, a screen dropping lightly between myself and the land and the buildings, between observer and observed, making you feel not of this world (or is it what's out there that's otherworldly?) the angular tangerine light straining blue-purple shadows to the breaking point, coloring the road the color of the sea at night, indigo and ink; and the sun-shot sky smeared with raspberry and the fog or the haze or smoke from a forest fire even, an illuminated duskiness, every inch of asphalt, every building and light pole and benign tree made a cool and darkened sliding screen, a ghost world, through which you imagine you could move undetected.

I sing in the car on my way home.


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