(Editor's note: My reports from Zytron were interrupted in order to help with the big Jack Saunders Philly reading. To be honest, I no longer know which planet I'm on, or where I wish to remain. I'd become completely disgusted with earth and with most who inhabit it-- sick conniving opportunistic individualists for the most part. I've met a few interesting folks on Zytron, despite the planet's overwhelming problems. I'll be posting unconnected Zytron journal ramblings. Here's a recent note.)
The weather on this planet has been sweltering, hotter than I ever experienced on earth. Is global warming a universal malady? The broken-down hotel in which I live, filled by beaten-down people, is so hot (no air-conditioning) many folks keep the doors to their small rooms open for all possible air flow as everyone sprawls sweating on their beds in naked torpor.
This may be the city's last unregulated dwelling place-- no questions asked when you register. Most residents are barely making it, a half-step away from the street. Others are hiding from enemies or authorities or themselves. I have a tiny room with a sink and a toilet. My possessions are a few clothes and a couple library books. Home of the unpropertied. Across the hall dwells a crazy old black veteran with a flag on the door and a note saying "no service needed." He seldom is seen. I hear his occasional moans and grumblings. Down the way lives a fat guy in a room full of little kids. He lays on the bed as the kids play around him, while cartoons jabber on the small TV ($10 extra a week) night and day. All the people who work in the hotel are residents, serving roles as housekeepers desk clerks maintenance to keep the valued roof over their heads, and this place of refuge operating.
High up in my eighth-floor room, I feel like a writer in a garrett; like I've finally arrived! Up there I've cut all ties to the corruption and falsities of the ordered world. Maybe I can find as replacement the humility of art.
I value the cell most for its narrow unscreened window, from which I lean out, feel the heavy air, and see from my high perch the old eastern half of the city spread toward the river, the maze of streets and alleyways, old wooden structures, historic sites, cafes, restaurants, churches, and the vast rowhouse neighborhoods to the south. In the morning and through most of the day the orange sun blazes intensely over all; then blue then purple sky squeezes the heat into a reflected red band merging with the shimmering river-- the red vanishes into nightfall; the restaurants which had sat silent now bustle with the noise of trays dishes silverware, of activity; conversation, laughter, life; crammed-in humanity, shadows and dark gardens; beer steins and wineglasses. Then silence for a couple hours before roaring trucks signal the approach of another hot dawn.
No better venue for a writer or observer than this! I feel like Hugo contemplating Paris from the heights of Notre Dame. I understand the moods of Balzac. A city in its vitality and variety is mankind's greatest artistic creation. When I step outside I plunge into the midst of one.
(Upcoming: The Forbidden Zone.)