Thursday, October 18, 2007

geography vs. everyone

coming down from the mist above rural montreal in a CRJ the earthenness of the landscape bounds upward, solid, undeniable, even in what little light is available. patches of brown and green cropland, choking pathetic rectangular patches of hemmed-in forest. the roads are dirt. the structures are well-intentioned jokes: corrugated metal beat by the wind, sun, snow, rain, mist, ice, etc. etc., without suggestion of permanence or dominance. canada is its land. hints surround the cities. the truth is out there if you want it.

fast forward to los angeles. the promise of the west looms large as soon as the plains end and the rockies begin. nothing but immemorably complex, reddish and rugged majesty until the clouds over the coast. descent, touchdown. the surface of the earth bears all the empty promise of ten years of useless dating. everything is designed to look filthy. gray and graying and sometimes grooved concrete is smeared over everything, across the surface, sideways, in columns, in curving linear shapes atop the columns. the grooves trap grit and oil and grime. chain stores everywhere; the only majesty to be found in the thousands of refinery lights atop fractioning towers and steam-spewing structures between long beach harbor and the road. car lots everywhere. land of in n out. a system of small cities designed for the automobile, whose flatness defies everything east. the promise of the west? nothing hasn't been fucked up.

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