Sunflower Skins

June 15, 2010

Sketches, Experiment 6: Power Lines

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 7:37 pm


When I was little I used to believe that aliens were watching over the people of Earth, protecting us. I thought they took the form of UFOs, Northern Lights, miracles (specifically in the form of speaking in tongues and other related religious phenomena), but mostly, I believed in the power lines, a stoic army standing guard.

Now, flick away my cigarette, shove hands in pockets.

The grids across America have produced such cultural phenomena as strip malls, fast food restaurants, subway systems, and used car dealerships. Mass amounts of electricity, sent at high voltages to minimize the energy lost in long distance transmissions, now beyond any nightmare I had as a boy.

I wasn’t much beyond acquiring language at the time of the oil spill, but I was perfect for producing the next generation of Thalidomide babies, war amps, PTSD patients. AIDS. Bubonic plague. Unknown outbreaks, particularly in the northeast. New York City, or what remains.

Spare some change?

Cynic, someone sneers.

I have been watching, been part of it, all along. Part of the machine, just like you. When I was little, even, I believed in something constricting. I was born into a tyrannical world—a choked, ruthless, conservative world.

Crimes against humanity?

Yeah, right. What remains.

Do I have the energy to tell this story? My exhaustion seeps like sweat and smoke from my skin. Pockmarked. Slight jaundice. There’s little vegetation readily available. If I can find something to revive me, maybe find a place to spend the night before returning to Toronto. Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I go home again. Back to my own city, where no one has missed me—but I can’t afford to be caught across the border, and urban sprawl ensures watchmen, so I must keep going. Keep walking, stumble through the alleys. Beware of strangers, dizziness, and air planes.

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