Intoxication Jesse Bercowetz
Running along side the fast moving train, I hoisted myself up, my boney ribs scraping across the dirty wooden floor of the giant cargo container. I was thirteen, adrenalized and directionless- along for the ride. Feeling at home, in that cool dark echo chamber of corrugated steel.
Some say the tracks literally divided our town. Looking back I see it as a special kind of scar tissue the kind that you could flatten Lincoln’s head on.
Hours were spent in dark rural shacks where pale bodies huffed glue from wonder bread bags. We were like Seeds planted in gooey resin soaked couches -spongy carpet landscapes nurtured a Nano collage of cock roach carcasses and Marlborough butts.
Across town, a few joints would get me in the back door to the university ceramics lab. There I could indulge in tactile self-expression. I could smother my punches elbow deep in the red Kentucky clay.
Although art has been the constant through out my life. It was Christianity that saved me from trucker’s speed, grape flavored pure grain and juvenile detention. I too saw Satan in the bathroom mirror while tripping on purple microdot. -The red guy in the mirror tells the truth that no one not even God wants to hear. He is the angel that vowed never to serve man. You can find him on page 155 of Picassos’ Picasso.
Turns out I wasn’t ready for the truth.
I came to on a school bus that had been roller painted blue, not sky blue and not royal blue. It was a dark Pentecostal blue.
That first tour of duty was a messed up gathering of tent revival love. You could witness epileptic prophecy and you could see the furniture fold and float.
It was the Kentucky Derby and religious tracts, cigarette packs and little plastic bags littered the streets. Dusty scuffed Donald Ducks preached redemption time.
The smack of antiseptic hit the back of my throat. Next door: there was some praying going on and I was doing it. I told a paraplegic boy he would walk again! How horrific of me!! Misguided, insane, teen-age chemical disaster. False prophets and charlatans times ten.
I was a fountain spilling violet chunks and yellow neon strands . With the toilet in a bear hug I stood up ripping its guts from the floor -twisting at the hips with one foot of the ground- I tossed it out the window.
Shards of glass raining down, chasing their porcelain brothers. American Standard.
My gloves were made of stop signs and ruby plate glass droplets.
After the tornado my eyelash swept the spot of sidewalk right above where my cheek had landed. The texture changed twice with each blink: smooth chewing gum, sand paper sidewalk. I was paralyzed, hog-tied in some type of leather and chain police get up.
The letters came out backwards, upside down and mutated. Numbers transform into topsy-turvy monoliths of dense carrot cake confusion.
My marks threatening to make up their own snake-handling language.
An impending doom ignites an impulse to draw-- anything: a rock star, a barbarian, pot leaf, crucifix, color-field in the palm of your hand.
Draw a girls face reflected in a vile of suspect liquid.
The post intestinal thud of balled up pizza and cookie dough overkill kept my thinking busy and bowls like mortar. My tablet is a junkies hazed out everlasting index of movies and episodes. All consumed since this course began. We’re talking about bullshit junk like all 5 million seasons of Californication and NY Ink, LA Ink, Miami Ink and Fire Fly.
While Planting trees. the gritty dirt scratched and mingled with my sweaty sunburned skin. It was a manifest destiny etched in crusty soil and peeling flesh. Trees would be planted from Kentucky to New York. Under the green interstate flicker -highway men wore tights and women held tools. They all wore capes and clean up was their plan.
The battle is to finish. Compelled to morph cursive and then slither and jive to stay in the lines.
Jesse navigated a completely foreign world he felt stuck in the mind of Richard Dreyfuss - he was building Devil”s Tower from mash potatoes and shrubbery. Eventually he would leave the family behind and board a neon saucer headed for “no turning back”.