When my mind wanders and I hear an unfamiliar sound above me I begin to worry about unrealistic daydreams… like bears fighting on my roof.
Or the concern that I can’t draw a bear because I can’t conceptualize its face…
But the real worry, naturally, is it’s weight on the slates of the rooftop.
How will the planks sustain such a quarrel between two such fearsome creatures?
I worry about the gravel, the sharp stones atop the tar burying themselves between the soft skin of each tender pad. It would truly be a source of annoyance, and furthermore a sore spot ripe for infection that could possibly lead to its ultimate demise.
For it’s own sake, someone should really get those bears off the roof…
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It had been 3 years since my first visit to Randy Polumbo‘s intricate and fascinating Rock and Glass house (affectionately known also as the “Trash House“) and I couldn’t help but breathe a deep sigh of relief, I was home.
My first visit was in February of 2014. Me and 5 friends went in on the rental thinking it would be a nice escape from the monotony of our 9-5 jobs. The photos on VRBO looked interesting, and me being an artist, did my best to sell them on the idea of going. “Cowboy tub guys!!! come on!”
We arrived after dark, and made our way down a dusty road to distant lights and followed the instructions on how to enter the house. Despite the cold outside the house was warm, pulsing with down-beat house music playing, and with the lights turned low, you could almost feel that this place had a living breathing soul.
The second we entered we were kids in a play house. There was a chandelier made of old flashlights, a ladder to climb to the loft area, a somewhat spooky “kids room”. The place oozed with character, childlike wonder, and a bit of naughty “peek-a-boo” holes that would satisfy even those that don’t consider themselves perverted, perhaps “just curious”.
One weekend wasn’t enough to satisfy any of us, we vowed to return, to once again witness the snow fall on the desert from the warmth of the indoor spa, to stoke the fire and find the secret treasures that inspired the artist in all of us.
This past March we finally returned. This time we came armed with costumes, and art supplies, with camera, and recorder to ensure that we would capture the magic and mystery that brewed from each of us inspired by this home.
I hope that one day I have the opportunity to meet Randy and thank him personally for building such a unique and beautiful space. In the meantime here are a few photos taken from our desert trip.
I pull down my dress, like some wild affair has just taken place, something no one will ever find out about (until now) I re-apply my lipstick as I clack my heels passed countless other hotrods and customs parked out in front. I don’t know what else to say about that night… besides, that was the fun part.
The sound of revving engines keep me up late at night, the laughing, drinking, and general rowdiness would be enough to make even a hardcore biker blush, and if you want the wild west you might not have to go any farther west than Bonneville Utah. After driving nearly 700 miles from Los Angeles to Bonneville you just might be a little farther left than the middle of nowhere, but when you watch that belly tanker be pushed off the starting line and head for 200 miles an hour blasting down the salt track, you just might remember why you came. The drive to Bonneville for me was ten hours of hitting rabbits, watching out for UFO’s on America’s loneliest highway and resisting the urge of going over the 80 mph speed limit. Driving all night can make you see things and driving to a place that looks like a different planet entirely can be a little unsettling.
The Bonneville Salt Flats, located in Northwestern Utah are 159 square miles of nothing but salt, and in the right seasons, racing. Now, this isn’t your ordinary racing, vehicles have gone in excess of 600 miles per hour on the salt of Bonneville, the “Worlds Fastest Indian” wasn’t just some movie about some old dude, it happened in real life right here in the sacred racing lands of Bonneville in the late 1950’s. There is no place else you can surf a dead sea like this place. Every August the Southern California Timing Association puts on a little something called Speed Week. That’s right folks, an entire week devoted to pure velocity. Driving on salt is like driving on snow, its also akin to being on a giant tanning bed, everyone you meet there is some shade of red. Salt is caked into everyone of my pores, every crack in every tire, and every split in every sole of every shoe. Saturday kicking off Speed Week the clouds came in, rolled in and split across the sky like some great venomous creature who had just awoken. The black clouds made for a stark contrast against the pure white salt. In the distance there was a mixture of sounds, the rumbling of thunder and the rumbling of large hilborn-injected, methanol fueled 418. The rain became a part of a larger scene, the tension began to mount that day, teams that had spent a small fortune just to race, had their livelihoods riding on whether the rain would stay or go. The day washed into late afternoon, the clouds held onto their sloppy unwanted cargo and the racing began again.
At the starting line you can hear hearts pound with anticipation. You can feel the adrenaline start to coarse through each racers body. Washed across their faces is a very real look of fear that there is a real possibility of death. The sweat beads up everywhere, the bright light puts a haze into everyone’s vision, most racers, publicly or to themselves, say a prayer before they make the run. The crowd holds it’s breathe each time a car is pushed off the starting line and the CB radio crackles with the timing towers report as the car careens down the salt. 150, 200, 225. These racers all share a unique dream; More people have climbed Mt. Everest than have gotten into the 200mph club. Being in the 200mph club just isn’t about going over 200mph, it’s beating the record in your class, which in some cases now borders into territory of the 250mph mark. Some machines are home built, some have taken a team of highly skilled experts years to complete. Each one regardless of who built it has an ungodly amount of hours put into it, and has been tuned to within an inch of its life. Because after all, at 200mph an inch really is a mile and it could make the difference between victory and the painful, salty, agony of defeat, or even death. On a cloudy day the heat still pushes its way up and off the salt. In the days before racing even the Native Americans avoided this vast salty desert, the only people brave enough to settle here, were true hotrodders.For most hotrodders Bonneville is Mecca. Those who make the long drive out from wherever they have come from find comradery on the salt. Most would say those who venture into the middle of nowhere may just be a little crazy. But there is a word for people who venture off into the desert, sleep on salt, bath at truck stops, and spend their nights and days crowded around powerful machines, they are called passionate.
The passionate are those that are building and driving these cars, these eaters of the salt, these men, (and yes in rare cases women) who spend their days and nights huddled in a garage wrenching and bleeding for the car they love. They spend all year waiting to bathe at that truck stop, sleep on that salt, and venture off into the desert as fast as their car will take them. For most builders there is no contest when it comes to the feeling of skating along that salty track. That is where they find their soul. Where hundreds of spectators can bear witness to their history. Sunday morning comes slowly, the sun creeping up over the edge of the earth, it seers its way into the eyes of every rowdy biker and hotrodder, the day is new again. Sunday looses one man to the salt, forever. A grim reminder to each racer that they are battling a beast, they are putting to the test everything they and others have poured their hearts into. The culmination of a dream and a life’s work can be realized, or destroyed, and precious life itself is put on the line. Between the nights of endless partying, spectators and recklessness, there is a purity that one can only find in the middle of nowhere. Each car is a symbol of one mans triumph, the blending of a man and machine, and there is no better place to witness it than where the sun rises early and the days refuse to die in Bonneville Utah.
I wish for the delicate delight of ecto-skeletal fracture followed by a deep delicious silence.
Everyday I am relegated to scurry about
I’m tired of the scurry.
I’m tired of mopping up crumbs from others tossed sandwiches,ditched desserts, and slurping up sweet liquids from the bottom of the glass.
I’ve roamed these streets for so long, a beast that can never cease to exist
Even radiation, poison gas, steep falls, broken glass, only make the hairs on my gentle legs stand for mere moments.
It use to be thrilling, the other roaches and I would place bets, take chances forging on kitchen floors, bathing in filth and shit and for most of us we’d always come back unscathed.
At first we would laugh, and then after the years passed we’d become concerned.
Where and when would this end?
We became bolder still, trouncing through the finest restaurants, showing up in microwaves snacking on baked potatoes as they warmed, and still nothing.
I could feel my insides begin to cook, but I recovered quickly.
Me and the boys would get drunk on the finest whiskey we could find, some days we’d even show up powder white after eating our way into plastic sealed cocaine.
Occasionally we’d stow away in luggage.
We’d see the ocean, and scale the walls of tall monuments, even in broad daylight it seemed we were in-consumable.
I was once attacked by a bird, and ever so briefly I had hoped that this would be my moment, before he promptly spit me out.
They tell me I am this thing, a cockroach, and that I have cockroach blood, I have the ability to survive like no other animal on earth.
They can have me, I never asked to be this thing, to live this life, so next you see me scurry, take a deep breath, and try, give me the boot, let the spray fly…
She levitates delicately above the blue haze of her consciousness.
Taking only fleeting moments to indulge her senses in earthly pleasures.
With eyes closed time passes slowly.
Everyday blurs into the sameness that fades and drags her inevitably back to ground.
Cars hum by,
tires kiss wet asphalt,
the wind gently rustling her hair, tangling her thoughts,
sweeping with it cold that kisses across bitter chapped lips
Where does this road go?
Will everyday make it’s long procession slowly
into a quiet oblivion,
an oblivion that will turn greens to gold and wither away with the passing days
She loftily yearns for the brightly burning passions of her youth, but the memories are sharp,
jaded by the fiery sting of hard won battles, wrong turns and scars.
Time stands still.
Hours hang meaninglessly leaving wide gaps between what once was
and what will be.
It’s time to push the clock forward.
The radio repeats the same song, skipping and fading into low slow static.
The static creates a hum
that lulls her back to sleep,
back into closed-eyed levitation,
where does this road lead?