Man, you gotta go…

I’m sorry for the name droppings in this post, but wasn’t it some French philosopher who once said “Our nature lies in movement, complete repose is death”?

And then you have ideas similar to this repeated in David Wojnarowicz’s terrifying memoir Close to the Knives (1991): ‘Transition is always a relief. Destination means death to me. If I could figure out a way to remain forever in transition . . . I could remain in a state of perpetual freedom..”

Thinking about these ideas after playing too much Need for Speed, perhaps travel doesn’t annul disappointment as much as it suspends it, thus giving new meaning to the old saying that it’s better to travel than to arrive.


And here is one of Thom Gunn, the leather-donning English poet who could always turn revolt into style; with “Man You Gotta go” (not one of my favourites, but the opening stanza is good)

On motorcycles, up the road, they come:
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boy,
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh.
In goggles, donned impersonality,
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust,
They strap in doubt–by hiding it, robust–
And almost hear a meaning in their noise.

Exact conclusion of their hardiness
Has no shape yet, but from known whereabouts
They ride, directions where the tires press.
They scare a flight of birds across the field:
Much that is natural, to the will must yield.
Men manufacture both machine and soul,
And use what they imperfectly control

To dare a future from the taken routes.

A minute holds them, who have come to go:
The self-denied, astride the created will.
They burst away; the towns they travel through
Are home for neither birds nor holiness,
For birds and saints complete their purposes.
At worse, one is in motion; and at best,
Reaching no absolute, in which to rest,
One is always nearer by not keeping still.


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