County Lines by Bob
I recently received a letter from a reader who asked if I purposely
use symbolism in North County Lines.
Not knowing what symbolism means, I pulled out my hard, thick dictionary
and flipped through pages, like a hot locomotive thundering into
Reaching the S's, I plunged past an avenue of expressions, leading
to a valley of idioms and antonyms, a place where a writer could
wander happily, losing track of linear time.
Clocks. Watches. Dials ticking seconds. Digital displays. Calendars.
Ascending numbers on paper squares. Boxes enforce order. Time categorized
keeps you hypnotized. Chains of accepted illusion broken by what
Time travels in circle. You've been where you are. Deja vu? No.
Memories of past soon to be present? Exactly.
You're perfect. Let go of guilt and sin. The Divine lives within.
Always will. Always has been.
Silent voice: "Stop dreaming, find symbolism. Don't get trapped
in Webster's web." Too late. Eyes transfix on sexuality.
From Latin sexualis. Male and female combined. Variation of Yin
Yang. Nothing profane. Cries of "Profanity!" exit mouths
of those trying to conceal lascivious desires behind guise of self-righteousness.
Fastback Barracuda parked under Southern stars. Distant neon blinks
Topless Bars. Foghorns in the night. Moonlight dancing on Atlantic
waves. Trojan soldiers, wasted and spent, in crooked line at end
of rutted path.
Ancient ceremony begins. Modern nuances arranged. Lynyrd Skynyrd
through correctly configured speakers. Sand crabs scurry into holes.
A beachcomber yells, "Crank it up!" Another voice yells,
Nothing to get hung up about. Just drunks searching for happiness
in bottle, where it can't be found. Liquor, beer, pill or otherwise.
How did those lyrics go? "Jokers to the left of me. Jokers
to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you." Appropriate
Mellow mood with song that fits. "Bankin' off of the northeast
wind. Sailin' on summer breeze. Skippin' over the ocean, like a
Blood slurping mosquitoes swarming. Roll up windows. Intentional
misconceptions. Reptile brain in command. Secret bliss swallows
thought. One and one equals one. Fire consumes participants. Beating
drums cease. Ancient ceremony concludes. Split apart in two again.
Masks reapplied. The creatures climb back into situational pretension.
But where was I? Still lost in S's, searching for symbolism. Perhaps
I could avoid being sidetracked again. When I reached snake, I knew
I was kidding myself.
Although I searched diligently through the definitions of snake,
verb and noun, I didn't find anything about snake that tricked Eve
into eating an apple from the Tree of Knowledge.
What was wrong with Webster? Didn't he believe serpents talk? Didn't
he believe Judaic fables?
Perhaps a different belief system flipped his switch. Perhaps he
was a Rastafarian, rolled into a passing number, buzzing through
Jamaican fog, riding Mary Jane wings down circle stone passages
in cascading rainbow sky.
Regardless of Webster's religious notions, however, I still didn't
know if talking snake in Garden of Eden was the same snake Morrison
referred to in Doors song.
According to Jim's lyrics, the history of the world is written
on the scales of the snake. "But you won't know a thing till
you get inside." Mr. Mojo Rising described the snake as seven
How could a snake be that big? Was it the same snake the Lizard
King referred to later in the song? "The minister's daughter's
in love with a snake that lives on the side of the road. Come on,
girl, we're almost home. Let's run. Let's run, run, run. Let's run."
But what was I doing lost in thoughts of running home and the
minister's daughter and the Lizard King and snakes when I should
be looking for symbolism?
Perhaps I'd get there this time. But sunshine interrupted my trip.
Sweet, glorious sunshine, immaculately conceived, Apollo redefined,
intensified illumination. Radiant light providing warmth for plump,
ripe tomatoes that explode in mouth like firecrackers, spreading
tender, sweet juices that make taste buds sigh, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh."
Orange sunshine. Memories of the sixties. Flipping. Skipping. Dripping.
Tripping. Colors swirling from 8-track speakers. Windows obstructed
open. Reality not real. Purified vision. Bell bottom paisleys. Head
bands. VW vans. Navajo moccasins stained with Woodstock rain. Hendrix.
"Castles made of sand fall into the sea. Eventually."
Free love. But there is no other kind. "The love you take
is equal to the love you make." Revolution. A Thousand Light
Years From Home. Ruby Tuesday. Mother's Little Helper. Why Don't
We Do It in the Road? Helter Skelter.
Sunset Boulevard. Strawberry Alarm Clock ringing. Incense and Peppermint.
Drunken star in shiny car shouting sexual invitation at hippie chicks
on each side of me. Where did they come from? Where were we going?
Where was I going? Mental note: Drop back in to see what condition
my condition is in.
Flee before destination forgotten. Ride Harley to top of Sacred
Mountain. Drink from Mother Earth's eternal well. Escape LA before
wingless vultures with fake smiles devour my bleeding brain. No
barefoot vagrant saint there.
No barefoot vagrant saint anywhere. Maybe he'll reenter life later.
Maybe he'll remain where he is.
Silent voice: "Find symbolism." Too late. Morpheus awaits
Sole passenger on a midnight train, spiraling languidly down to
Land of Nod, slowing chugging through a kaleidoscope fog to the
sanctuary of dreams within dreams.
The dark angel whispered, "Neptune's child, magician clown,
your ride awaits beside River Styx. Perhaps you'll find the key
before crossing that way again."
Perhaps I'll find the meaning of symbolism before shedding human
form again. Perhaps I won't. It doesn't really matter.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570