Sunstorms again. Solar wind. I am worried about the names in New Mexico. Magdelena, the Blood of Christ, Angel Fire, Crossroads and Coyote, White Signal, Los Lunas, Socorro, Truth or Consequences. Why have we aimed so well? And why is there a yarn Ojo de Dios in the windows of all the Texaco Stations in New Mexico? Sunstorms again. Solar wind. They are selling Scapulars in Stuckey's. These people in the desert must speak Trigonometry They are not confused. The Injuns near Los Alamos have centuries past sealed shut a Turquoise mine and Cursed it. So no man would understand again. This is Mystery. So no man would ever again find the Trinity Mine, unresurrected in the Sangre de Christos, man dug, man thunk. Sunstorms again. Solar wind.
It's some Time in the Summer in 1977. Lou and I are heading for the Santa Fé Trail and we're first making a pilgrimage to Kit Carson's Grave to get the Injun Killer's Blessing. Then we're off to find the Trinity. It's hot in the American Deserts so Skippy's cruising at 85 to generate his own Wind.
Lou and I have endless arguments over where this picture was taken. Pooler Jones took it and I suppose I could just ask him and solve the Mystery. But why? Max Weber was right about Solved Mysteries - they bring on the the Grey. There must be 15 places on our continent which claim to be the Pork Capital of the entire fucking world. Which theoretically includes places like Poland where Pigs were once raised as children. We love the sign. It's so Aserious. So Bathetic. We stop at every place along the road like this. Collecting data on the Amerikan Semiosphere. But the Desert is its own reward. The Desert is exactly Serious. And beautiful. Motorcycles were created for Desert Roads and long, long, vistas. It's Dry and our lips are cracked. Every morning we pop out of the tent and head for the Oil of Olay. Mesquite. Black Chaparral. Yucca Gloriosa. Yucca Radiosa. Adam's Needle. Joshua Tree. Something or Someone has emptied out the Bible in New Mexico. He's up in Taos, at the Pueblo, buried in the middle of the Injuns he loved and killed. He's so Amerikan that Skippy tears-up just saying to himself the Name - as a Mantra, to overcome the Wheel Noise - Kit Carson. Kit Carson. Kit Carson.
Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson. 1809-1868. His father fought in the Revolutionary War and had 15 Chilin' what lived. Kit was number 11. The family lived on a piece of land which was owned by the sons of Daniel Boone. The Carsons and the Boones interbred like Scots-Irish Stoats. The old man died when Kit was 8 - crushed by a falling tree while clearing his land for Civilization. The family plunged into poverty and Kit was Apprenticed off to a Saddlemaker when he was 14. He hated it. But the Saddleshop was at the East-Ass End of the Santa Fé Trail which had only recently been opened and it attracted `Interesting Men' - Trappers, Traders, White-Slavers, Injun-Fighters, and Mountain Men. They filled his teen-aged head with the kind of stories 14 year old boy-men find more immediate and piercing than Sex. Tales of Adventure and Criminality. Tales of Men who take what they Need - or Want - with no Corruption from Grey things like Morality. Or Right and Wrong. Tales of Testing and Bravery. Rape, Pillage, Plunder, and the Indulgences to do them. Kit skipped out of his Apprenticeship and headed West on the Santa Fé Trail. His Master must have wanted him to go because he waited a full month to post Kit's Absconsion and then offered the Grand Reward of exactly One Penny for his capture and return. By the time he was 16, Kit was working as a Mule & Oxen Tender for a big merchant caravan heading to Santa Fé. Then later, in Taos, he learned the Fur and Trapper Trade from Matt Kinkead, an old friend of Kit's father in Missouri. While in Taos he added Tongue-Skills to his education by learning Spanish, Apache, Cheyenne, Navajo, Paiute, Ute, and Shoshone. It was the last language which brought him into the company of the man that we call: Pooler Jones.
Skippy had to lift this image of Taos Pueblo off the Web. The camera which Lou was using to take these Speed Limit in America Images was a Throw-Away and most of the pics are too blurred to use. The Motorcycle which Skippy calls Sol has a curb weight of 700 lbs with the 5 gallon tank filled. By the time Lou and Skippy climb aboard and lash their Summer-Shit to the Sissy Bar, the total package rises to over half a ton. So there is no room to bring frivolous things - we travelled Paleolithic, with only what we needed to survive on the road for 102 days. Skippy once made Lou give a bulky radio away to an extended family of Missouri Coon Hunters. Kit would sure know about travelling light. All day we've been smelling Rain but it drifts off somewhere else or drys as Virga. We've been riding for nearly a month and the aches and pains have leveled off. Skippy's broken Throttle Hand still radiates pain but that's the price you pay for crashing cycles.
Taos in 1977 was not yet overrun or overbuilt but there was too much Turquoise for sale on the streets and the locals were having a spat over how to regulate all the Injuns squatting on the streets selling gris-gris to the Johns. So they were still having "Indian Wars." When Skippy was in the Army fighting Commies on the beaches of South-western France, the US Army carried about 229 Battle Pennants on its Corps Guidon. All but a handful celebrated "Indian Wars." Hitler got everything he knew about Genocide from his study of how Amerika cleared out its pockets of Injun Infestations on its Manifest Destiny march to the West. He used the gnosis on his Lebensraum Drive to the East. Kit was conflicted about killing Indians. He married two and genuinely loved and respected most of the tribes he met. But still. Skippy had read Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and never minded that the book was less Historical and more Impressionistic. It had rocked him back and opened his eyes. In those days he thought a lot about Arty Zimiga his Bestest Buddy in Orleans France. Arty was full-blooded Sioux. That was in 1964-65 a full half-decade before Brown's book and Skippy could see Arty reading it in his mind's eye. He doubted that Arty would ever want anything to do with a Prussian like Skippy after that book. Arty went to Harvard and got a Ph.D. Skippy saw him once on CNN and Arty was very eloquent, and very angry.
The Yucca unfolds. It drops a crown of blades around itself. The Yucca stands up - unassisted. But for Time and Sun and a Moth. The bloom rises with an ancient dignity, and the white bells tremble. The amplitude of desert life is condensed into brittle stalks gone bone in a total society. Now behold the massa damnata - conserved, stored - the Yucca Radiosa, the Yucca Gloriosa - ringing a billion small bells in the harmonics of the desert, too high for most ears, the horrible and wonderful song of Ozymandias.
We are a larger stand of lizard under an angled, tin, government shade station, off Us 380 - above the lava spill in the Valley of Fires. We are north of Oscuro on the straightest line to Alamagordo, place of the fat cottonwood, the mangrove of dry seas. There is a spot in this lifeless bed where all the Angels from Göttingen wrote their names on the head of a pin. Lost again. We're lost again.There are no Signs leading to Ground-Zero, no national monolith has yet to be dedicated at Trinity Site. And no one in the Texaco Stations remembers the way - "Out There." And so we are adrift in the Jornada del Muerto searching for the place where they changed the sand to glass. The prick of ground where we unfilled an Athanasian Sea. Lost Again. Dancin' Harry's got his whammy on. Oremus. There is nothing on my map to indicate where Trinity Site is. Even today - in 2009 - the site gives off 4 times the recommended daily dosage of nuclear radiation. So it's not a surprise that the government wants to keep the site buried like the old Injun Mine that the site was named after. Buried and Cursed. So no man comes near.
Lou looks good under the Saguaro, she's 23 in this picture and probably weighs 95 pounds. Skippy tips in at 140 in 1977. They're thin and so is most of America back then. Or at least, thinner. And there were very many fewer cycles on the road back in the day. And you never saw anyone riding much older than 40. Today the roads are filled with fat 65 years olds on giant bikes that go 2,000 ccs. Street weight a Ton or more. In 1977 the roads were not full of Motorcycles; they were filled with hulking RVs the size of Ammo Dumps. Winnebagos with their own climates. Caravans of them riding the Santa Fé Trail following the Route Kit Carson. Chubby kids sitting in the windows giving you the finger as you passed them. None of them are looking for Trinity Site. No one is. Except Skippy and Lou. But no one is telling and they're off road too often - Sol is too big to like gravel and 2-tracks - sniffing for the trail. Lizards flying across the sand and stones. More and more the sparse flora thins out until it simply disappears as we move into the White Sands. 99° and 1% humidity. There's a Sign along the road: Watch for Water.
Oremus. The Yucca Moth handles Sex for the Lily in its name and describes the distance between any two desert blooms. All of us are followed by our blood. We are at menopause in New Mexico, moving in Triangles, symbiotic, the noise of the angles unfolding - jug jug - at moon-pause in the red arroyos of Christ's blood, searching for a hole we have been forbidden, an Introit we have ungirded and plugged with adultery.
Hey, they laughed at Noah, too. Gypsum roads, gypsum hills, gypsum dunes - no Palmate muthafukin' leaves here, nothing but Needle Leaves and bracts, rough textured to catch and hold water. When it comes. Brittle. All of life is Brittle in the Jornada del Muerto and the Tularosa Basin. 70 million years ago the earth's crust upchucked the Gypsum in an upheaval of biblical proportions. Rain and Melt water from the mountains caused the Gypsum to percolate up and out of the mountains and hills and wash down to an accumulation basin called Lake Lucero, the Dead Sea of New Mexico. Winds carved the gypsum into grains and blew it into dunes which crawl across New Mexico like slugs.
That's Lou writing in her Journal on top of a Kiva at Coronado's Ruins. We are talking Don Francisco Vasquez Coronado and his Conquistadors on their Sacred Quest for Eldorado - the fabled City of Gold. The 7 Cities of Cibola - the whole Mythic Structure of Amerikan Lust for Gold. It was Coronado who named the 150 klick tract of lifeless desert the Jornada del Muerto. The name, in Spanish, means: "single day's journey of the Dead Man." A later myth says the tract was named for a German who had fled into the desert to escape the Spanish Inquisition which the Conquistadores had brought with them. Instead of the 7 Cities of Gold, Coronado stumbled onto Injun Pueblos. The first one he found, after he led his men across the Jornada del Muerto, he named Socorro which is Spic for Aid, Help, Assistance, but which really means: to give suck. 32 years after, I am right now reading that Red Journal you see balanced on my helmet while Lou is in New Dehli, India, taking a bit of Beau, our dead cat, to Varanasi for his puja in the Ganges on the Burning Ghats for his Resurrection.

The Yucca Moth knows this song of synapse and epiphany, of Socorro and its Consequences:

Everything lost is met in the desert. Everything caught is freed in mathematics. All things unheard are a melody in glass. Whisper, brief farmer in our syphilitic ears: I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds. The perfect rounded tones of disassembling things. I'm worried about the Names in New Mexico. Sunstorms again. Solar wind. Magdelena . . .

Before we left Taos and headed South to look for Trinity Site it rained for a complete day and we hunkered down in our small pup-tent where Skippy smoked a joint and contemplated the Sex-Cycle of the Yucca and the Yucca's Dick - the Yucca Moth. In an undergraded environment characterized by vast open spaces mostly impossible for vegetation, Sex gets Handed-Off to things with more control over direction than the winds. That's Skippy on Sol in the back of the Taos Mission Church of San Francisco de Assisi and you can see the mud. The Spanish brought Sad Jesus the Crucified to the Injuns of the American Southwest. It did not improve them. It did not Save them. Most of them died of Smallpox. Kit Carson killed his share. The rest, the ones who are left, have gone Pseudomorphic now that their gods have deserted them and gone off to sweeter water.

The monument at Trinity Site is new - there were no markers or monuments in 1977. There's been a lot of second-guessing about using A-Bombs on Japanese Cities. Skippy's father was in the 1st Armored Cavalry - Custer's old outfit - and was scheduled to invade Japan in 1946. So the bombs probably saved his life. Kit Carson hasn't faired much better in the 2nd-Guess-History-Kamp. It's nearly impossible to get beyond all the Injun Killing to see the true Hero that Kit probably was. But, in truth, Carson killed more Injuns and Outlaws in his Fictions than he ever did in History. But then if you read the "unders" you already know that when Fiction collides with History there are no survivors. Take a page from Oscar Wilde - when your fame catches up to your Sitz-im-Leben you need to Pop Smoke or get Steganographic like Pooler and Barber and Hide in Plain Site. In the 306 days that Skippy and Lou lived on the Bike on the Road in America they got to know Kit Carson. He knew what our country smells like and he knew how to read the skies on the constant watch for weather. As soon as Skippy bought Sol, his Yellow-Haired 1000cc Long-Range Cruiser, he started to understand the lure of Horseback - with a Continent in front of you and the winds all around you. With lots of time and no particular place to go. Freedom is the Road, my friend. Freedom is the Road. Skippy sang all those Jackson Browne Road Songs as he opened up Sol's throttle and they split the air at 95 moving west along the Santa Fé Trail. Tasting the Sage and the dry desert air. Lou fell in love with Yucca and would tap me on the Helmet whenever there was a spectacular bunch in the viewshed. I kept thinking about Kit Carson and what he meant. His Myth, his Legend, his fat Semiosis. Kit was a Natural Born American Type - he needed no molding and no elaboration. He was as large as his landscape in New Mexico - and as haunting. Semiotics will show you how the Land molds the Man - so that Myth can return the favor.
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