I hangout in the space between the Three Sisters of the Coastal Range west of Williams and the Sutter Buttes neither of which you can see from Highway 5 because I blur the view confounding freeways, cars and trucks while time waits.
Where The Air Is Clear. Where? Mexico City? Carlos Fuentes revisited that myth a second time in Christopher Unborn, a novel all about me. Could have been about the Sacramento Valley or the San Joaquin, Central or San Fernando—I’m omnipresent.
I’ve become particle bored, symbiotic with the air, sporting a tinge of yellow in my hair. I invade, envelop, permeate.
I’m pro-life on economic growth. Growth is good. Greed is good. The more the better. We can never have enough. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Give everyone a chance.
Metastasis is my forte. I contain multitudes. Unlike Blake, I celebrate the dark Satanic mills. Hooray to the blurry-eyed. I’m nature’s cataracts. Give me an opening, a tiny foothold and poof: asphyxiation by progress. I destroy lungs, I alter DNA. Come out and play.
Italo Calvino loves me, made me the title of his 1958 novella where he said this about me:
At this point I saw the thing. I grabbed Claudia by the wrist, clasping it hard. “Look! Look down there!” “What is it?” “Down there! Look! It’s moving!” “But what is it? What do you see?” How could I tell her? There were other clouds or mists which, according to how the humidity condenses in the cold layers of air, are gray or bluish or whitish or even black, and they weren’t so different from this one, except for its uncertain color, I couldn’t say whether more brownish or bituminous; but the difference was rather in a shadow of this color which seemed to become more intense first at the edges, then in the center. It was, in short, a shadow of dirt, soiling everything and changing—and in this too it was different from the other clouds—its very consistency, because it was heavy, not clearly dispelled from the earth, from the speckled expanse of the city over which it flowed slowly, gradually erasing it on one side and revealing it on the other, but trailing a wake, like slightly dirty strands, which had no end. “It’s smog!” I shouted at Claudia. “You see that? It’s a cloud of smog!” But she wasn’t listening to me, she was attracted by something she had seen flying, a flight of birds; and I stayed there, looking for the first time, from outside, at the cloud that surrounded me every hour, at the cloud I inhabited and that inhabited me, and I knew that, in all the variegated world around me, this was the only thing that mattered to me.
I’m the “beast you couldn’t stab … cunning and silent” according to Smogtrown. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Eliot made me a cat in Prufrock:
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep
I like the cat thing, but sleep? I never sleep.
I’m The Nutmeg’s Curse by Ghosh; mellow yellow, electrical bananas, yellow submarine, the Affluent Society’s rain forest, Amazon in Pesos.
Perhaps you haven’t noticed you’ve been Shellacked by Standard Spoil. Time to Mobilies the troops. Again. Read the Dow See Ping for drips of philosophical wisdom.
The business of Amerika is business. Find the Cool Edge. After all, at General Electric profanation is our most important product.
Being There is where it’s at. I like to watch. Who cares if you can no longer see the Three Sisters or the Buttes? It’s the effort that counts.