Skid Markz’s photostream on flikr – Curryville, MO
i’m not from this side of the tracks with it’s pastel colors in pink and cream colored tones. i just decided i’d dress up and play a part in this charade and forgot to take off my costume.
the home i’m from should have been condemned long ago. i think it only exists because it’s revolving around inside of a black hole that can’t get rain and the corn fields where the children play are all burned, scorched, by the never ceasing summer sun.
the floors tilt and seem to be sinking in the earth like a grave plot unattended, the windows duck taped with plastic wrap for when the uncompromising winter comes.
the train that runs through the town might as well have bigger neon signs than vegas, read: Do Not Cross … i’ve heard stories about people who have crossed and ended up just as bad as the beggars in pioneer square. but i guess they didn’t wear the right costume and didn’t sell their morals for the price of a 1/4th the life of those that lived on the other side.
they look at us as no good here. we have no shoes on our feet when we play in the forest because we like to feel the earth in our toes and the tadpoles swimming around our feet in the creeks down by the reservoirs. we have tough feet because we can run on the rocks and on the tracks without breaking a stride, tough as our skin, tough as our hearts.
we’re fighters and survivors. we don’t know what it’s like to lose something because we never had anything. i think that’s our biggest fear, the fact that we might get something to lose one day.
some days there are those that see inside of this costume, i like it when they say that i’m different. but i don’t think i’m any different. i don’t think i want to be. there’s no difference between me and the others, other than the fact that i was prepared when i snuck across the tracks and am a better actress than most. but i know if i went back over to the other side, taking off this silly paint, i know i’d go to those back streets where the houses are all falling apart and the cars sitting in the driveway don’t run for nothing and there might even be a fridge tilted on it’s backside letting flowers grow out of it instead of a pot or a garden because no one cared to take the fridge to the dump or didn’t have the pennies to do it. i know i’d go back there and the people would be on their porches drinking their cheep 40oz beers or sweet summer tea, and they’d all smile and they’d wave and call me by my father’s name. because we are all known by our fathers and their fathers father and so on. and they’d ask from where i was coming from and i’d say, “over yonder by those tracks” and they would laugh and laugh and clap me on the back with their sooted callused hands done in by harder labor than the folks on the other side would ever see. i would smile and tell them the story about the clowns with their painted faces and the jesters that tittered here and there.
these people who know nothing of unagi, jasmine rice, thyme, or a medium rare steak. these people who have never heard of any other shop than a walmart, know of no other restaurant than a place known as Crystals 10 miles up in the town they would call a city which would be no more than a parking lot in seattle, and the best thing she would sell is a slab of fish that probably came from the IGA down the road. they’d never guess whether it was wild or whether it was grown in a farm. i don’t think they’d even know what a fish farm was.
and i’d love them for their ignorance and for the bliss they find when they aren’t afraid. i’d think about what it would be like to give the kids running around without their shoes in the grass and in the creeks, a couple dollars to go up the street and buy some greasy home steak fries cooked in the house down the road, or a orange soda pop from the one gas station in the town that still sold Zero bars and cokes in glass bottles.
but this is the side of the tracks i’m from. where the world seems dark and hot and stingy and the only god there seems to be is in the church down the street where i used to get a five cent piece of candy for reading a chapter in the good book. and he always seemed to be late comin’ and forgetful.
you can’t get over the tracks with anything you might have from where you came from. you have to keep home in your heart and pack a brown paper bag lunch with some peanut butter and jelly and maybe a few crab apples. you have to wait till the train is far in the distance and make sure your costume and your makeup is just right before dashing over the tracks and past the silos with the weapons from WWII. you have to be quick and you have to wear shoes. and when you get to the other side you better be scared. cause this isn’t home where your going and it’s a cold dry hospital compared to the dusty streets and sandlots where i used to play. and not for one minute can you take off the costume or wipe your face with cool water because they might recognize you over there and decide you aren’t fit to be on that side of the tracks and toss you straight over and back to the yellow burned grass with it’s blackened corn fields.
i kept thinking this was a better place for my son, so he could grow up with some promise in him i knew might not ever exist out there in the blackhole with it’s sideways houses. but sometimes i look far far off at the railroad and i wonder if all this mechanical mess is good for him. i wonder if he’ll ever know what it’s like to run around without shoes on his feet because he’d like to feel the earth in his toes and the tadpoles swim around in the creek beds. i wonder if he’ll always be afraid because he’s always had everything and he knows what it’s like to lose it all.
yea… i’m not from this side of the tracks with it’s pastel colors in pink and creme tones. i just decided to dress the part in this charade and forgot to take off the costume.
(I’m home now, I still wear a little makeup but I like my bare feet.)