XVI. "Goodbye, Susan Sontag. You are dead now."
I bought a book a while ago and it was very good. The best books begin by controlling you and then they throw you. Like the best records, like the best paintings the best photographs the best lovers the best wars and battles and arm wrestling matches and beers and whiskeys.
There is always an episode in any epic tale where the "hero" gets lost in a storm…
*The wheels on the bus go books around 18 miles the watching the wheels on the bus go round and round round 18 miles of books what am I doing with Susan Sontag in the back of the bus a dead woman and me on the back of the bus I wish she were a dog by a tree New York Jets her wheels are spinning spinning jets spinning spinning jets spinning.
*I sat I am sitting on the crosstown bus on a Tuesday night in the summer. The back. My book and me and my book in the back of bus. Cool hair, gray, cool hair cool. Slip into an ocean slip on the bus wheels going across town.
*It is night and the bus is lit up bright white in the back so I can read my book in peace, but not really it is not for me for me but for the others and all the others including me I am just another of the others. I cross my legs and prop the book on my knee and turn pages and read and bounce with the bus (bounce bounce bounce potholes bounce bounce bounce turn and bounce again) up the street past unfallen summer leaves, green, but dark at night. Glow under streetlights' light. Bright orange. White in the bus.
*Crosstown now crossing town Central Park middle of crossing town it is dark. We cross Central Park West heading for the other side and I am in the park we another of the others with others in the park dark tunnel through rock through park through dark leaves which are green in the day or under bright white bright orange light my reflection in the window when I try to look at them instead of the pages of my book across Park avenue out. My reflection is not pretty it is lazy.
What am I doing?
*Walk home four, no, maybe five blocks. There are bars and parked cars and players probably players for the New York Jets a linebacker in green t-shirts letting small dogs piss on small trees.
*"Good evening," I say like she would say.
*"Bark!" by wet bark. Smile, jetting nod. Tall and strong man. Short, weak tree. Bark by bark by dripping bark.
*My book is called In America and it is by Susan Sontag. It is a novel. I have never read any of her novels.
*I got the book two maybe three (now, as I write this, a week maybe 10 days) ago at the The Strand downtown by work. Visiting New York, I always wanted to go to The Strand. "18 miles of books" it says on their promotions and baseball hats and coffee mugs. 12.95 for a hat. 6.95 (I think) for a mug. No coffee. Like buying a wallet, it is empty of its purpose. (Buying a wallet is silly and frilly and there are no shillings or rhymes inside just empty and full of just negative money, really. One wallet from Coach, one hundred dollars – one wallet from Coach sample sale, priceless.)
*So many books at the at Strand. Some about art some fiction some non-fiction some true some fake some with pretty picture with fiction pictures with drawings with receipts from 1990 and Buffalo, New York and dead sailors and some true real dead sailors some so some so so beautiful so wallets are expensive books are cheap.
*Some books are so beautiful that when you open them an ocean spills out all over the floor of the bus. When you look up you realize you are the next one to drown in salt water.
*"Where are we going, Mother?"
*"We are Heading East on the bus with Susan Sontag (who is dead and may have once sailed probably but can not be certain) and an old wallet I should really replace but the one I have is empty and I cannot buy a full wallet for a shilling."
*"Mother, what am I doing?"
*Some writers are so brilliant they live on to be in the back of the bus and spin your mind like the wheels of a bus. So beautiful so brilliant you drown in the room they create in a hotel in a dead woman on the back of the bus who spun a yarn who sold a dead woman off mile 7 of a bookshelf on 11th and University.
*I want someone to tell me what I am What am I doing? what I am doing. Someone please tell me a story that makes sense and is true and I don't have to buy.
*"Once upon a time there was a boy on a bus and he was going across town and he was in love and he wasn't and he was again. With leaves and with her and with bright orange bright white light leaves and pages and a book and a dead woman."