chase scenes serial #9

I haven’t grown up much. I am not going to turn back the pages to see what the last real subject I had been writing about was. I will merely go back to Bismarck, Friday morning, momentarily. To our stroll around the little capital city. I was expecting it to be like Rapid City. A frozen in time high plains town, divided into blocks with utilities running up the alleys and Mayberryesque storefronts from all the eras until the storefront succumbed to the box. Why open your store onto the street, display your goods, if your sign is draw enough, BestBuy, Walmart, Target. Your logos say more than a pyramid of toilet paper ever could. I thought it would be pregnant with a satisfying nostalgia. Yet Bismarck is Rapid City without the self-consciousness‡. It doesn’t pretend to care that someone who doesn’t work at the hospital or the Provident Building might be passing through. I am dying to look back to how I started this and why I am just now getting to Bismarck. I sha’n’t though. I’m not sure if I made that pact with myself. I think it just started at the top of this page. Although there is a sense, with the pen, the misspellings, the general formlessness of the text, that it is seeking an analogous relationship to

chase 05

‡ These places aren’t so different in the end than somewhere like Athens, GA or Olympia, WA with their planning structures and aesthetics. What changes is the role of the sun, or at least my perception of it. I feel as though we are closer to it. Which may physically be the case but not significantly enough to alter climate [I do not plan to do this anywhere else as there is no reason to countermand my own thoughts and impressions, but as I typed the previous sentence I have come to believe that it is factually inaccurate and that the distance away from the sun caused by the Dakotas’ distance further away from the equator than Athens, and therefore physically further in space as it is ‘further back’ on the spherical globe, is greater than the difference in elevation between the Piedmont and the High Plains, so that Bismarck is most likely further away from the sun than Athens, although possibly not Olympia]. Bismarck and Rapid City feel so exposed, as if they are on a collision course with the sun, having just entered the proximity at which the radiation would bleach everything into sandy consistency and flash shadows burning into the sidewalks. I am laying on my bed in Georgia attempting to perform this comparative geographic analysis. But as these relationships, or the formal relationships of these towns suggest, the comparison is not so easy. I feel, although I distrust my thoughts and memories, I don’t know if I can even picture Bismarck now, especially now that I have mentioned Olympia, that I am picturing all of the same images, for each town, and pulling filtering screens before each with different pallours of memory, isolation, disinterest, love, capitulation. And the image turns from a streetscape, to a sheet of glass reflecting different suns, to a washed out gird of squares, empty washed out memories that I struggle to inflame with melodrama before I lose interest and turn out the light above the bed.

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