Trapped in an Album Cover

Dessicated in mind and body by long flights I wake at 4.00am.  In my underlit hotel room in one of those endless urban spaces between Californian cities, I pace away an hour.  At the first hint of dawn I walk to the end of the corridor and look out of the window there, to find that I have woken up in the cover art of Hotel California. The morning light has a dusty haze, but one flushed with acid yellow, both sharpening and blowing out the edges of the leaves of the fray-leaved palm trees lifting their arms like some dust-washed street-corner messiah exorcising chemical angels on a hope-parched, car-washed intersection. Right by the window, where the dust cannot catch the light before it reaches me, the matt lime leaves of the old pine tree are washed with the colour of maple syrup. A little further still a maple in all its autumn majesty splashes red against the walls of the corrugated canyons like the uncleaned residue of a drive-by shooting. The muscular light seems to pause in every layer of distance, as though the entire view is filled with slightly unclean panes of glass. In the distance the sunlight lies like dried brown sugar on the tops of the small folds of the hills, but leaves the furrows dark, making the bald landscape look like the neck-folds of one of those good old boys leaning out of the windows of their trucks. Strange trees mark the skyline like straight-line cracks in a scarred perspex sky. Leafless citizens of the electro-magnetic forest, irrigating and eroding the long dead watercourses with data. I look, wondering why the scene seems strangely desolate. There are no people here. Every living soul, encapsulated in a metal box, from the tiniest cars, to the grandest malls like termite hills, is hiding from what remains of nature here, and well they might. The light remains but the legend of California sits cross legged in the malls with a cardboard sign around its neck, begging for cash.


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