Adventures in Nash Vegas: The Holy Loop

Spirit is spirit everywhere.

Standing on the porch of some broke-down frat house never held much appeal for M. or I. Solo cups so the campus fuzz wouldn’t know what you were drinking even though they did know. Vomiting on the lawn. Getting fucked in the back room. Being told who to blow by your sisters. Walk of shame the next day. Bad white-boy Hip-Hop.

We would ride by the houses on our way home from being out in the world and lament, “Oh, I could have had so much more fun.”

Our favorite thing was to get lost—break free of the Vander-bubble and find our way to losing our way. We had a route southward, down 21st Ave., way past where it turned into Hillsboro Rd. All the way down to Mack Hatcher Memorial Pkwy, (whoever he was). A left turn there, past the newly minted Mormon temple we had both toured during the open house, wore the little booties placed on our feet by kneeling missionaries, and surprised ourselves at how much color was inside.

Not too long on Mack Hatcher before another left turn on 8th street. The south end a sub-burg called Franklin, old money, houses set way back—faux ranches. Better than that, northward to the city, and the overpasses.

Approaching, they looked like one overpass, but then, coming down a little hill, they fanned out like peacock feathers into an astonishing array of human ingenuity—the most profound thing in all of middle Tennessee. The checked-floor city library with the vanity mirror bulbs in the ceiling is great, but the 8th street overpasses are better. Colored by the orange street lamps. Concrete cast in bronze. No one on the freeway that time of night. Come-hither abandonment.

And after, under, forward, the greyhound bus station where the homeless hung out. Hub of the best panhandlers in the world. Rudely, passing by, we would remark, or maybe it was just me, “The garden spot of the city.” It might have been.

“Welcome to Nashville. Here our ugly is beautiful.”

-M.

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About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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