Thursday, October 20, 2005

Paving The Way

New Jersey

New Jersey.

Its people live in magnificent mansions and tar paper shacks along roads lined with stately vegetation and discarded hypodermic needles. The people eat fresh fruit in small bowls served to them at Starbucks and dip their fried chicken into thin gravy made of water and flour.

Here, the people respond bravely, by glancing through the glass panes of their glimmering Hondas and running shoeless after our van in search of free condoms.

Business in New Jersey is booming: expansive world-class, corporate campuses seem to effortlessly share the state with quaint bodegas whose boarded windows hide wares such as snacks to be purchased for a quarter – outside of which smack and quarters can be purchased for a little more.

Lives at ease, lives at play, lives strung thinly along political lines: a woman walks the thinnest rope or maybe crawls, but most likely hangs precariously, tantalizing ravenous Fear. Sight is a gift that can not be returned and visions of two Nations in one Country occupy disparate realms of our consciousness: yours for yours and mine for mine and where they meet we’ll not tarry or cry foul, for fear that something may come of our confrontation.

A drunken frat boy lies incapacitated under a bush outside Princeton while his Trenton counterpart can no longer shiver, fetal and stoned, draped in the resin-hued glow of a flickering street lamp. Tomorrow, perhaps, they will both rise again – newly aware of their state and heedless of the actions that brought them to unlikely rests.

“I have loved, before,” he admits to himself – which is human and right and appropriate and correct. “I have known beauty and I have seen it in the face of another,” he is compelled to admit – again with the wisdom granted to all of us. “And the world I know, is,” which is valid and understandable but only a thin veil between the many sides of existence.

My feet walked from his world to his and though I myself remained consistent, I have to admit that at times I was unsure. Perhaps I, too, like the perceptions of the wealthy and the preoccupations of the impoverished, changed materially to affect the zeitgeist of my surroundings. If I am not materially consistent, then the fissure between these two neighbors is not a function of selective existence, but a sound physiological law.

Otherwise, it may seem that we are as heartless as we purport to be. Beneath our cold, distant exteriors is actual coldness and distance (not to be confused with the cold distance beyond that and at our core: more coldness and greater distance). If we can agree to act mutually psychotic, then the world is ours as we will have it and no one really suffers if no one really gains.

And so it is that New Jersey is a pioneer of great social advancement. Beyond the horizon is more horizon: an expansive plane of indifference and self-obsession.

A well known fact: New Jersey is small state.
A little experienced fact: small states are huge on foot.

Daniel Solon


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