Findlay, Ohio. February 2011.

You remember only the small details of the small trips to small towns.
You sat in a coffee shop called the George Street Cafe and it felt like a creaking library
it snowed gently and peacefully outside while you sat by the window for hours
you were reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and you ate a blueberry muffin.
You were missing a friend's birthday and called her while you smoked by the back door.
You forgot to buy insurance on the rental car and drove all the way back
to the airport in Toledo below the speed limit teeth clenched and worried.
It never stopped snowing and it was beautiful
you always loved taking off in a storm
the land disappears quickly and there's nothing left to do but fall asleep.



Cedar Rapids, Iowa. February 2011.

A few years ago the river took this place over, merciless
they've plowed the streets but these neighborhoods you drive aimlessly through
are still gutted.
It's Valentine's day
the landscape is cold, silent and unhappy
just like you.


Denver, Colorado. February 2011.


Oakland, California. February 2011.
The writer, I think he was English, confessed to the hunchback how hard it was for him to write. 
All I can come up with are stray sentences, he said, maybe because reality seems to me like 
a swarm of stray sentences. Desolation must be something like that, said the hunchback.”

-Roberto BolaƱo, Antwerp


San Francisco, California. January 2011.



San Francisco, California. January 2011.

Your hotel room's window opens onto an "atrium" that is a thin hole in the middle of the building.
You spend most of your time on the roof once you find the right fire escape.
Up here the city glitters and feels quieter, calmer.
You can almost see the bay.


 Liza Ruzer, Berkeley, California. January 2011.

San Francisco, Oakland, and the bay from Berkeley, California. January 2011.


Paradise Valley, Arizona. January 2011.


Memphis, Tennessee. January 2011.

A calendar year of travel begins in Memphis
one day after a storm passes through.
It is 11 degrees outside. There is a thin layer of frozen snow in the city
the people are frozen stiff.
Your camera stops working properly as your hands begin to freeze to it.
There are very few signs of life, even at Graceland.

A highly amateur and drawn-out iPhone doc of this trip:



Laura Overton. Blanco County, Texas. December 2010.

Maggie Overton. Blanco County, Texas. December 2010.

It is important to see your family and get your feet back in the dirt when you have some time off.


Austin, Texas. December 2010.

They send you home for a month for the holidays.
You are unsure of what to do with yourself.
You walk aimlessly at night.
It is beautiful and quiet in Austin.


Miami, Florida. November 2010.

The elevator flies up a cold monolith in a tropical city.
A woman's voice announces the thirty-sixth floor through a speaker
the doors ding open.
Quiet halls, closed doors. Half-finished food and yesterday's newspapers.
The room is sterile and automated, lights and all, but not uncomfortable.
You watch tugboats nudge a massive container ship away from the port.
You toe the glass of the expansive window
feeling the cold and resting your forehead against it, eyes down
imagining the glass bending imperceptibly against your weight.


La Perla, San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2010.

nothing in life ever changes
and I want to tell you so

- Charles Bukowski

"Stasis is itself criminal for those with the means to move."
-Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity!


San Juan, Puerto Rico. November 2010.

Living on a cruise ship, lifeboat hanging outside your window
more dress codes, absurd glimpses of polished surfaces
only a brief moment to walk a city so far from home
a blink of an eye with the ocean on all sides.



Four Days in an Airport Hotel

Orlando, Florida. November 2010.


Cancun, Mexico. October 2010.

When you land in Cancun a driver from the hotel is supposed to pick you up. The pickup area is 
swarming with Mexican men in white shirts, all of them yelling, some holding signs. None of them
have your name on them. It is more humid than you thought possible and the air smells very, very
unfamiliar. When you finally arrive it's late and everyone on the staff insists on calling you 
"Mr. Cade". Your room is stunningly palatial and the floor is marble. There's a bottle of champagne
chilling in a bucket of ice and two glasses, which seems like some kind of cruel joke. 
You sit down and drink the whole thing. The week is nothing but fifteen hour work
days with quick breaks for food. In the mornings you swim in a strange ocean the color of a
swimming pool. The sun rises slowly a few minutes after you wake up, and you get to take it in from
a private balcony. At night you wander the hotel, all marble and stucco and glass, your shoes clicking
and echoing down the cavernous halls. You find strange things, staircases to nowhere, carpeted 
ballrooms that smell of salt water and humidity. A tiny chapel in the basement, empty but unlocked.

A resort meant for couples and filled with nothing but is no place for a lone traveler. You find yourself
alternating between jealousy and satisfaction, depending on what you're witnessing. You wonder
what the city of Cancun is actually like; there must be a life away from the hotel strip. You
may never find out. You're stuck floating in this cartoon, and you might as well top it off with
as many free margaritas as you can handle. Hung over, you cross the Gulf in another direction
and fill out a customs slip above a blue ocean that looks so gentle from this height. You make your
connecting flight in Houston, lost in your headphones as you walk. Another dream woken,
another ethereal landscape of mindless days and curious nights.



Palm Beach, Florida. October 2010.

In William Gibson's novel Pattern Recognition, there's a character who describes jet lag as
"soul-delay". She pictures some kind of weird tether or string spooling loosely out behind
her as she flies, a sort of rubbery bungee that takes time to get taught and then gradually spring
her soul back to her body. Jet lag is only cured when the soul catches up. You sit alone in a hot
tub at a five-star resort and look at a clear blue sky. You catch yourself wondering if everything
is happening somewhere else. Is this soul delay? Or is it black coffee at five in the morning
next to a pair of mannequins? Or is it the fact that your passport is getting stamped tomorrow
morning? Is it a hot tub without another human in sight and the sound of the ocean in your ears?
Or maybe it's an aerial view of a place where lots of humans exist and are going about their little
lives. Is it fear? The knowledge that your bungee is going to languidly unspool behind you as you
sleep, your body on quiet, helpless standby in the dark tunnel of a 747's cabin? Maybe it's the dully
anonymous landscape of your home country, your own shorelines panning silently and slowly
underneath you. The waves crashing in miniature on empty beaches.

You haven't been on the road long enough to cure your soul of inertia but you're beginning to understand the concept.

The terrain at the resort in Palm Beach isn't helping with any of this, of course. You drink a beer
on an immaculate lawn and watch people play croquet. At dinner the chef comes to the table
to make sure everything is perfect. Elderly couples dine around you without speaking. Your 
co-worker flies home to Boston, back to his own life, back to where you once lived. You wonder
if it will be difficult to get through customs in the morning.



Palm Beach, Florida. October 2010.

Nothing is real.


Miami, Florida. October 2010.

Miami is a foreign country
you walk seventeen blocks to find a sandwich
you float thirty stories up and it's all rooftops
reflective glass, mayhem
glimpses of the ocean, a view of the port
in the evening the sky catches fire
down below the taxis are screaming
and the patios have dress codes.