Monday, August 08, 2005

from Pamela Lu's "Ambient Parking Lot"

from "Ambient Parking Lot"

We were born in the back of a moving vehicle, gliding softly past the fields of titanium and clover that marked the settlements of a bold and indolent tomorrow. The pleasure of this moment was transitory, yet persisted long enough to color the squawks and intonations of our first words. We surfaced from slumber, gurgling impressions of truck horns and carburetors, ham signals and telegraph buzz. Ours was the first generation to realize the sentimentality of artificial repose. When our favorite projection machine was declared obsolete, we wept with a bitterness that enfolded the greater plots and vistas of our childhood. Art shadowed us with all the fidelity of a non-negotiable accompaniment. We were humbled by literature, by the narrative eclipse of city planners who named boulevards after engineers, cul de sacs after planets. Sidewalks made a lake of silver to park our seismic unrest against. Could we possibly survive the vacancy and cold passion of a landscape novel that contained no people? Pylons became our chorus, the overpass our hero. The conflict between eucalyptus and smog would never be rightly resolved. And yet out of this gridlocked tundra, there emerged a solitary figure, silent and unloved, who stood at the center of each of our lives, who canvassed the non-pedestrian terrain and found hospitality in thedesert drone of midnight traffic. This was the soul of our early compositions, which wore the unsocialized absorption of parched tongue, blistered feet, shuffling gait--everything, in short, that stigmatized the walker as an enemy of progress. The official note was resignation, the official tune estrangement, as we distorted and mixed chromosomal harmonics to coax our avatar out of exile and back into the hum of human events.Mentored by his wrath and guided by his sorrow, we became bad subjects, perfectly ill-suited for day camp, standardized tests, or weekend play-dates. Shunned by our peers, we lapsed into a general delinquency characterized by consumption of Goethe studies and other controlled substances. In the end, preliminary foundations prevailed. El Nino reintroduced us to the warmth of concrete. What new emotion was this, and would we recognize ourselves in it? We succumbed to moisture; we reorganized our sympathies around the civic drain. By springtime, nature had raised a sound structure whose stroke and responsiveness far transcended that of our diesel sonatas. The walker had arrived. He entered a city steeped in gray and troubled tones, with nary a trace of commercial pity. Blazing a trail to the mezzanine garage that housed our sampling stations, he paused to clear his ears. He faltered. He fell against the upturned cone to listen.

*****

Author's Note: "Over the past year, I've been working on and off on a mid-length prose piece called _Ambient Parking Lot_. I've just transitioned from the chiefly narrative part of it to a more lyrical interlude, composed of prose blocks which could function on some level as rambling prose poems. At least, this is what occurred to me when I took a few of these blocks out of context and readthem individually. So I am sending you one of the blocks to digest as you will."

*****

Biography: Pamela Lu is a prose writer who grew up in Southern California and nowresides in Northern California. She is the author of _Pamela: A Novel_, whichcan be ordered through Amazon.com(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1891190040/qid=1120856459/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_ur_1/102-0638788-8535345?v=glance&s=books&n=507846). When not compulsively surfing and commenting on blogs, she tends domestic animals andwrites computer manuals for a living. Her blog is http://openreader.blogspot.com/.

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