I don’t own a hammock. When I want to cat nap in the sun, ride the waves of repose, cradle, I walk to the parking lot. It’s downhill – a slope in the city, at the river’s edge. I walk to the parking lot and climb onto the hood of my Truck. Leg up, give a bit of a hop. I look like a little kid, I’m sure. And here’s my hammock: back against the windshield, noodle arms loose, legs long and lounged, feet that almost reach the end of muh sexy boy’s snout. He holds me. My Truck. I’m sculpted perfectly for the hood. And I rest under I-64 and watch the barges on the river move mountains of coal from behind my sunglasses. Hear the traffic up above like waves, like a conch shell to your ear and your eyes closed. This is how I do peace.
Hammocks are shaped like 1994 Ford Rangers. This is also the same shape as my heart.
(My heart is shaped like a truck is shaped like a hammock? Sure.)
In a tunnel I can hear his voice – my Truck, Daniel – the sound of his engine reverberating along the walls, the waves making a circle around us. It’s a bluish purple thing in my ears, in my chest – the color of a V6 4.0 (please take a few seconds to be envious, yes). It’s not a purr or a growl or anything catlike – he rumbles, murmurs. It’s geological. He makes a drum in my chest, colors the inside of my whole brain in the purple indigo. And then Etta James plays in every single nerve-ending that I posses. I am made of jazz. Daniel runs on jazz.
So: the sound of traffic is an ocean. The sound of my Truck engine is jazz. Small parts of the ocean could, therefore, be made of jazz. And I hear it all. All the sound-waves. And tonight, all of us can hear this:
Launching this eve with the first episode, Car Trouble (I don’t have this), 89.3 WFPL will begin a nightly radio fiction series that brings together two writers and one common theme as writers treat the airwaves to a reading of their short fiction. Called Unbound , the first season starts at 7pm, airing weeknights June 17 – 28.
Tonight’s debut, Car Trouble (again, I reiterate, I completely lack this), will spotlight the writers Frank Bill and Jamieson Ridenhour, as the pair choose selections from their work that compliment the theme. Upcoming episodes for this week will include Nightclub Jitters with Justin Torres and Holly Goddard Jones, Bad Luck Charms with Patrick Wensick and Gwenda Bond and Crime and Punishment with Roxane Gay and Alex Taylor. A full list can be found on the 89.3 WFPL website. All stories will be available online the day after they air.
Tune in tonight for a dose of literary listening. Somewhere in the city I’ll probably have my ear pressed to my Truck hood – a conch – my heart sizzling like a snare drum, throbbing with music. If you ever asked me to read my work over the radio, I would just play the sound of my Truck engine in a tunnel.
Image: Courtesy of WFPL website www.wfpl.org