still a railroad earth
Our family is provided the grand privileges of life in a fast world of art, fashion and material – a world often inspired by the beauty of the modern offerings of what I consider a future that is now. In a day where reports of billionaire’s asteroid farming is actually plausible, it’s tough to consider a life headed less in the direction of hoverboards and personalized billboards where anything wished for is even less than a search, click and credit card number away from being yours.
I’ve loved many a story by beat generation poets Kerouac, Burroughes and Ginsberg, often drawn to their tales balancing an accomplished urban life with the pursuit of something bare and long winded where time can tic slowly alongside the free flowing thoughts that question a usual way. It’s something that in 2012 you can’t help but think has been lost over the last half century; tuns out it’s not.
Two years ago, a friend told us she was taking off to ride trains across the United States. A fanatical decision to become a dharma bum on the road and rails with nothing but a stolen back pack, sleeve of cigarettes and what we thought was an innocence that would have her back home in no time. On Sunday, the Q124 train from Danville rode into Chicago carrying with it a new look warrior poet street kid that I once knew in a way different light.
Cancelling all other plans I wanted to take my littlest hobo to dinner and hear about life on the rails and what followed was surprisingly inspiring, in a ‘no chance in hell’ am I going to do this, series of anecdotes. A story of a young woman out on her own finding herself a culture of kids who rally around artist communes living out of refurbished box cars in northern california finding odd jobs to make limited mean in order to ride State to State hunting warmer climates to sleep outside, make art, and live in a world far from ordinary.
Oddly safe, organized and free, it was a series of tales I wish I had recorded but instead will just use fantastical imagination to make more of than the surely unglamorous reality that tests modern patience and solitude while waiting and riding shipping trains coast to coast.
I was inspired by the art, the music and the freedom shared, giving me great faith that life without convention as we’ve all come to expect is, most certainly, still possible. Again, no way in hell Im doing this myself, but the street kid style as I thought I knew has been greatly twisted and I wish her all the best on her continued travels.