A Weirder America

By E. Nolan

A collage of images, flowing, ebbing, bobbing, weaving, a close up of you walking through a woods, pushing away branches from pine trees that block your path, block your youth, when other images take over the focus: a moody ocean, a boy climbing down a ladder, a steelworker welding in a factory, sparks flying, sparks from a sparkler stick at a parade, a spinning basketball, a candle in the corner of an attic flickering, the music coming out of an extended synth intro, the analog character slightly distorted, meaty, a little dirty, the chords droning, vintage yet modern, cowboys sitting on contemporary furniture, a weirder America, a stranger, more welcoming setting, your voice, the lyrics, the nonsense, the chorus, the instrumental section, the fingerpicking, the cadence, the swing, the gentle way you hold that thing, your voice front and center, not hidden at all, not tucked away, but offered to the listener like a gift, you’re running in the woods, the spinning camera on the top of a building in Brooklyn, the boy still at it on the ladder, flash cuts, dodging and burning, the burning sun on the waves of Jones Beach, the jangly iron sculpture welded and unwieldy, a fire in a trashcan under a bridge, the heavy, final chords lingering, fade out.



E. Nolan, whose work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Passages North, and X-R-A-Y, as well as other magazines, teaches English as a New Language in a public school in the Bronx and can be contacted at @normanunfirom.


Art by Andre Dos Santos, a photographer who can usually be found wandering the far flung, industrial, and (increasingly rare) desolate areas of New York.