Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 28. Off the Rails, and Return to Reality

An Ode Owed to Re-Finding the Fields of the Frangipanis

In a whine and a bump, the train shunted out of the station.
The monoliths of Minsk shrunk and sank beneath the hills, as if the city was suddenly swallowed.
As we rolled along, the rafters underneath the carriage rumbled in rhythmic consistency to the thudding clunks inside my chest.
B-dm, b-dm, b-dm…continuous on both sides, yet somehow without depth, devoid of all but the solitude of silence.
B-dm, b-dm, b-dm, b-dm…

The carriage was dolled up almost like somebody else’s motor home. Quasi-Persian rugs reached along the corridor, hiding trapdoors and crap stains and whatever else for which a train from Minsk could possibly use a Quasi-Persian rug.
Furry blankets out of granny’s cupboard shimmied down from their receptacles, acting as makeshift shade-cloths for the late-afternoon glassy glare.

In this train, opposed to the last, the passengers were sectioned off from each other, cordoned into individual blue patterned booths. These were perfect for diving into an undisturbed doze, but a spoiler for any amount of people perversion you wished to partake in on your lonely way back to base-camp.

Not that there were floods of other persons anyhow- a toddler squealed a tantrum three rows to the rear, and the occasional boulders of a middle aged redhead rolled around the aisle.
Our hostess was a cougar.
Her shimmering pink lip gloss emboldened only her mouth, leaving the rest of her faded features to face the havoc caused at every curve or canter the pink lips pulled.

There were no shiny statues singing from this corner either. The twine stitching was tethering.
The luggage beneath my eyes was all bloated at the seams.
In numb facilitation, I turned them to ponder the scenery steaming past.
Again, we encountered the slideshow projector changing the image at rapid rates.
The landscape outside now ran like what I imagined were Welsh valleys, out in a sprint to the horizon until they hit the pillaring pine forests halting them to a dead end.
A Dead End.
Minsk rode through my mind like a masquerade: A brilliant ballroom blazing from the unknown. The communist city skirted within me, making me marvel at how I could probably never reach behind its many masks.
I pulled out the pocketbook and began jotting jagged notes.
The City of the Red Star…’ and I began to scrawl and salivate.

Distance and time spindled by, and energy ebbed.
Twelve or so pages of haggard handwriting later, I phased out, in pure just, nothing.
Staring into the glass rather than through it, it reflected a curious waste.
What had happened?
Without caring to dwell on the wreckage waiting to keep me hostage, I flipped a few pages forward.
The fresh paper sat stagnant: the gaping rock face of a clear white one, blinding me like a blizzard without a word as its imprint.
Villages unwound outside, and I wondered what would happen if I got off and stayed there, forever, but I decided probably nothing reasonable or worthwhile.
So I pulled up my posture, which was slumped and folded, like a rotted drawbridge to an abandoned castle.
And I peered out into the backwoods of the Belarusian fields, which were washing to purple from the onset of sunset: or rather, I pierced my peering through them too.
All I could see was one shining ember pulling apart the cobwebs of my consciousness. And she wore a straw hat.
And she shimmered like the Sun when you stare at it.
And I wrote and I scribbled a million mishandled consonances, exclamations and vowels from the curls of my bowels, to the Girl of the Frangipanis.

The pen was perspiring, rather than printing, and continued to drip out all the sorry story sorrows which one can only muster once the custard sweetening the brow has disappeared and left the being to fear and frowns.

Then as if the time machine had touched down, the slide projector was trapped in a spin-cycle and the whole system was slipping out of my grasp, we were there, pulling into the station, back in Lithuania.
Back to Vilnius: where I’ve called my home for the last how many months.

Sweeping myself and mystuff out of the wagon in a flurry of forced movement, I began to trail my steps out of the station.
“Back from the mayhem of Minsk. I made it,” the thought wanted to win. “I’m home now.”
Though there was something not especially homey about it all, but I couldn't quite work out why not.
And then the loudspeaker lauded out in thick Lithuanian:
“The train on Platform One is going to Moscow, via St Petersburg. Now boarding, Platform One, Moscow via St Petersburg.”
Wow. The cusp of real Russia. Was I really so far away, from where I once was?
What does it even mean? How did I get all the way out here?

The automatic doors steamed open in answer, and beckoned me out to the last of the light. I craned my head to look down the Crescent.
The exterior of Vilnius station was abuzz from clacking faces checking clocks, grinning, greeting, grabbing palms in pleasure, happy haunches heading to their shacks of shade and safety.
The loudspeaker announcement echoed through my memory. A group of latecomer Russians bustled past to purchase tickets.
As they swore in Cyrillic I wondered again, how did I get all the way out here?
B-dm, b-dm, b-dm, b-dm…

I could tell there was a sense of The Ending in the air.
The rain began to tumble down, and I laughed and removed my hat: as if ready to begin busking to the heavens.
I began to whistle dixie, and turned to trundle back up to The Blocks: ready for a new week, ready for anything.
The Sun was in my mind, the raindrops racing down my jacket.
I soon became saturated as the monsoon marooned me further, which seemed to trigger an unreasonably hilarious internal tickle.
The meaningless drinking, stinking, and pelting every which way but homewards: All parts of the Litho-Mania: was soon coming to a closure.
“YAHOO!” I bellowed it into the wall of water, and tap-danced the rest of the route back to base.

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