What I'm doing right now is sitting in a 1975 Ford truck on the side of a dirt road on a hill that is overlooking a golden field that goes on and on and down into a valley that is lined by a train track. There is a freight train stopped there. A little cement plant is loading crushed rocks and burnt lime into the box cars. It says Northern Pacific Railroad. It runs from the Puget Sound to Lake Superior. It goes into Canada too. I've looked at a map of it before, it looks like an insane lightning bolt. There are black rattlesnakes named after it.

I just left Bozeman, MT. I was driving my cats around in this truck on 90 WEST. This truck I got has a 420 horsepower V8 under the hood and the man who got it in 1975 only used it to haul firewood and get around his ranch in the snow. It's color is various splotches of gray with a red and green and black stripe. It sits high up like it's tip-toeing. It has wooden gates built high on to the truck bed too. This is a hotrod. It sounds like an airplane when you go fast. “tough as nails ford truck”. It gets eight miles to the gallon. I have blown the rest of the money on gas. And I pulled over to look at this train. Like I have looked at so many trains when I have no money left. I know I could sneak down and ride around for free.

The sun is about to start setting and it is shining in my face. Like a junkie I could abandon everything and disappear all the way to the end of the line just to feel free for the moment. But I've done it before. You take routs you can never see otherwise. It's awesome. You feel yourself smiling. And laughing. You get so hungry. You get off in the woods in Washington or on a mountain or a field in Idaho. It doesn't matter, and you walk and you walk and you sleep on the cold cold ground. You get really tough like nails and the sun starts to feel like the utter emptiness in your stomach. And you feel like a train is in your head. It is in your blood. It feels a lot like pain. When you abandon yourself to that kind of emptiness you end up with a heavy train in your head. That's the price of freedom. You end up having to carry about forty tons of steal around with you, sparking and grinding and chug-a-lugging, for the rest of your life. Then there's something about the sun, being like something secret you maybe used to understand but then you forgot. Jesus is real. I have kittens with me now. Brothers. A girl Named Jessica June, who is drunk all the time, from Tampa gave them to me in New York. I drove them out here in a blueberry Nissan rental car that reminded me of contemporary sneaker fashion. They are asleep beside me in the truck. I imagine they can really appreciate the sound of a 420HP V8 since they like to purr so much. I am looking over this dashboard. Tank is on E at a dirt factory and a train that will soon be in Yellowstone Park. Behind that is more gold field with some horses in it and behind that is a snowcapped mountain range which is being illuminated by a pink sunset. Above that is the wholesome face of temperance. Her and and just darkness. I know that. In America the prices of gasoline are insane. I have a record coming out on Thrill Jockey next month. And I'm about to drag race a train.



Photo by Shannon Lucy

Big Bells and Dime Songs was released this week via Thrill Jockey Records, and it's beautiful.