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Impossible oceans

For weeks he had been trying to remember who his shampoo reminded him of. He is coming down out of the mountains and onto the plains again. A train heavy with coal and cars chugs towards California, its whistle as lonely as a fog horn. A wind farm rises on the horizon, massive white blades tearing at the sky like falling birds. And suddenly she is in the car smiling at him and then turning to stare out at the vast nothingness of Kansas. The smell isn’t unpleasant, he likes the smell, and he puts a strand of hair in his mouth to taste it. It tastes like salt and sand and untouched wind and he tries to remember why he can’t remember her. Somehow the sun has gone down and they’re in the middle of the wind farm, red lights blinking into the dark like lost ships looking for each other. And when he turns she’s gone again.

That night, stoned and drunk and finally asleep, he dreams of one of his possible lives. He is in Rome and wearing a tuxedo with three women in colorful gowns following him up a set of ancient stairs and into an ancient church. He tells them why he likes Georgian chants, how he likes the moodiness and the sadness of the lonely monks wandering over forgotten hills looking for their lost god. And how this wounded searching is put to a trance beat by a long-haired DJ and the beautiful people of Rome dance and drink RedBull vodkas all night to forget they live in a land of suffering. The throbbing music turns into an alarm when he finally kisses the blond in the red dress and he wakes up in a dark damp room. He takes a cold shower, brushes his teeth with his finger, puts on a green apron and goes down to the grocery store to stack apples and lettuce and celery in neat piles for five dollars an hour. And in the middle of so much land it is impossible to imagine an ocean, let alone five of them.

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