Some of you want to know what all has become of Poe. The questioning, the wondering is fair enough. And the silence and all has been unfair. But some’s too much to tell. But now you can have it. We can carry on.
We – Mazie, the bird and I – we left Barstow at dawn.
But not before absconding with some boiled egg and bread and sausage from the Best Western breakfast nook. Once on the road, Poe set to caching his food amidst the newspaper in his carrier.
We blitzed California, racing up the 99 through that industrial farming hell, past warehouses, processing plants, sprayers, herbicide distributors, and miles of enslaved trees, genes, and soil and vine, Poe the raven himself bearing witness to the near incomprehensible machination and subjugation of all life to sate a specie’s hunger.
I told Mazie that her grandmother came to California because of a book written by a man named Steinbeck. It was East of Eden and had been made into a movie by Elia Kazan and starring James Dean in which he became movement and life and desire incarnate. It was about old California farming communities, and rivalry and lust and inheritance and the inevitable despoiling of the world through our actions. About the Monterrey morning mist and the fields outside of Gilroy, and about old honor establishing itself in a new land. My mother had wanted, I think, to be part of California before it was all gone and now it mostly was, at least this part of it.
And in this moment, we, my daughter and I, came to this place to be the bad kid, to find wildness and prove it upon the world once again.
Ashley, our GPS guidance system gave us a few bum steers, out of malice I think, because we hadn’t been giving her much due. We passed out of the Central Valley, now draped with box stores and outlets for extruded meat, potato and corn products and descended into the Bay Area. Past those quixotic wind mills, harvesting that relentless mass of air pressing itself eastward from the pacific. Past Livermore, that cesspool of life and death, beginnings and ends, where Edward Teller, in all of his fin de siecle Mitteleurop sensitivities, gave birth to the hydrogen bomb. Is that what this state, in so much that it’s a state of being, is good for?
Of these things, though, I couldn’t intimate to my daughter. And lest of all the bird, fragile and innocent and all-knowing intelligence that he may be. Mazie was cranky and tired. The bird was cooped. And so relentlessly we pressed on.
The Bay Area. The Area of the Bay.