The City Of New Orleans

Good mornin’ America, how are ya?
Say, don’t you know me, I’m your native son
I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans
I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Arlo Guthrie’s The City of New Orleans came out when I was 12. For a long time, it was my favorite song. I’m not a fan of country or folk music–or even Arlo Guthrie–but this song appealed to me in a way I really can’t fathom. In fact, the only reason I probably ever heard it was because it was a bust-out crossover hit. All the pop stations were playing it. I guess the only ones that weren’t were the classical and black stations.

Anyway, this song has been playing in my head lately, in an endless loop. Which means I could be in deep shit. See, it starts with a tune from my childhood, playing day and night. I go to sleep, it’s playing. I wake up, it’s playing. It’s like I can’t NOT hear it. Next comes the numbness. My emotions bottle up and nothing fazes me because nothing matters. Then I get the brain fog. It’s hard for me to think, to comprehend. It’s impossible for me to read. My ability to write is fucked, too. When that happens, I have no idea how I’m still able to do my job. And I can forget about trying to do creative work.

If I pass this point, thoughts of death arrive. The tune plays in the background and it’s all I can think about. I start planning. How do I want to end it? I think about crashing my truck. It’s a great idea but the truck is a huge old monster and I’d probably live. The Corvette is out of the question because I can’t drive it. My knees are so bad, I actually cannot get into the car.

But there are other ways. Knives, maybe. I have a nice collection. It was nicer when I had my Kay-Bar but I had to tell my housemate to ditch it else they wouldn’t let me out of the hospital. I told him I didn’t know where the others were. That was true–at the time. But I found them. And I hid them. So I might slash my wrists or cut my carotid artery. Problem there is that the knives aren’t sharp. They have a point–I could easily stab someone–but the blades are dull. I got them mail-order, and it’s illegal to send sharpened knives through the mail. That’s why I’m still pissed about my Kay-Bar. I bought it over the counter so the blade was nice and sharp. That fucker could cut through anything. But I don’t have it anymore.

That leaves pills. I have lots of those. More than enough to drop me into oblivion. And nobody knows I have them.

Here–take a listen.


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