Tracy Lord's Map of the Western World
Tracy Lord's Map of the Western World
Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. ~Saul Bellow
I am looking out a window, now. And once, I was looking out a window, in some such hot New Mexico afternoon. Seven years old, some 28 years ago. Me, I, my face, my body, sitting in the back of that dirty brown station wagon, face pressed against the rear glass, looking out that window into the Cannon Air Force Base PX parking lot. Saturday shopping with The Father, a doctor, military in trade and manner. And me, waiting, and more waiting. I, dragged from one random small town to another as a child. This is...Americana, though I did not know it then, and barely care anymore. The one the other half lives. The Bad Memories. That Americana ~ Louisiana, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Georgia, Connecticut, on and on. Always the new kid, always the new kid. Sitting at the lunch table by myself. Looking out, and jealous. Pained and stung by a loneliness that I wasn't, and still am not always, cognizant of. Yet I am mired by it. Me, I just want friends. I need friends. I need someone to talk to. I need someone to hold me. I need to be something to someone. I don't know what that's like. I want to know what that's like. I want just one friend. I want a best friend. Otherwise, how do I know that I'm even here? On and on. On and on. This Americana, with poor military families, buzz cuts, mean fathers, frightened children, second-hand clothes, and argyle socks matched with plaid slacks. There's me, looking out the window of the station wagon. The road goes by. Keep my head down, another new school. Keep my head down. Ouch. That hurt. What did I do? Oh, I forgot, I'm new. Ouch. My nose is bleeding. On and on. I'm 13, I'm 17. A brief reprieve. Americana. Roads. City. Northeast. A brief reprieve. I'm no longer a virgin. What is going on? Someone tell me.
Big apple. New identity. New life. Struggle, struggle, struggle. But hey, I'm a man, right? I can take it. I'll try. I just want a friend. A best friend. Still, I'm a man, I can take it. OK, I'm lying. I want a lover, a Hollywood startlet. Why not? Aim high, be a success. Big city. Big city. I had a coffee with Jack Keroauc. I had dinner with David Lynch. On and on. I love you. I don't know you. I'm waiting. Waiting.
Then. Wait. Wait. There you are. There you went. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Who knows that I could be so bad? Didn't know. You know. Didn't mean it. Hollywood starlet. American Dreams. Wait, don't go off with that guy. I'm the man. I'm the one. I've been waiting. On and on. OK, fine. Go, then. If you must. I'll wait and wait. You'll come round. You'll see. Ok, see? Who cares if we ain't high society? There, I told you. Now, lets go. We have lots to do. Ireland, Mehico, Downtown, Uptown. All around. Vegas, baybee, Vegas. Woody Allen's clarinet that we never got to see. Smoke-filled jazz in Philadelphia while navigating the Delaware River gracefully, despite our fears. All in a lifetime. All in a lifetime. Is that your hand I'm holding? Sweet smelling sheets. Is that my reprieve? You might be everything to me.
Wait. Wait. The buildings are falling. Enemy fire from across the world. Where are you? I'm lost. Security checkpoints. Gotta get to you. Lets get drunk. I was supposed to be on the 18th floor, that day. They laughed at me when I told them I didn't wanna go there. You got my back on that. That was important to me. Wait. Wait. I'm trying. I'm trying. Paying rent ain't easy. Especially with no money. I'm trying. On and on. I'm a man. I can take it. I'll find money. I hate you and I love you. Reach out and remind me that I'm here. I'll give you my heart forever if you could do that. Whatever. Whatever. The silence is so loud we can't here. Ireland, Mehico, Uptown, Downtown. Orange sunsets in the Hollywood Hills. French Cafes and London. Drunk in Covent Garden, stumbling through Leicester Square. Thank you. On and on. Thank you. Sometimes I think you're near. Wait, wait. Don't go. It came up from behind. Kicked me Westward. Don't go, I miss you so. Others kicked thine shine North. But I couldn't see, you see? There was dirt on the window when I was a child of New Mexico. Still not sure I'm cut out for this. Thank you, anyway. Yugen, yugen. What I know now and now I know zen. The bull loves you and will always ever so. Me, looking out that window, yesterday, the palms on Sunset were burning. They were burning, and the volcano was covered in snow. Happy and sad and all was well and it wasn't.
So I'll bite my lip, despite our fears. On and on, on and on. All in a lifetime. All in a lifetime. Thank you, Dear Tracy.