matt pond PA

November 7, 2017


I wake up in the wild panic of a deep dream, a state of extreme anxiety, a place beyond Iowa, where an unfathomable abyss fits neatly within the subconscious description.

I’m in a submarine diving, saturated red lights flashing. The overwhelming flail of complete powerlessness. Sweat rivers run over eyelids, breaching eyelashes, salty and blind.

The director shoots from odd angles to accentuate the dread, the camera trembles for tension. Some lost lovechild of Martin Scorsese and Tony Scott behind the lens, as I blunderingly act and climb to meet the consciousness upon my pillow’s summit.

Ahoy. These are the submersible dreams of a broken redneck.

To some, the word redneck implies a thicket of backwoods ignorance. A hick, a hillbilly. Unruly thoughts, camouflage overalls, loads of ammo and party-packs of enlightened beer. It’s true, rednecks taunted me for wearing boat shoes. Rednecks laughed at how I baled hay and always assumed I was gay. Their cars had to be both deafening and supersonic. They only knew what they knew and the rest was irrelevant and exhausting. My favorite quote: “That cotter pin couldn’t hold up my pecker.”

Though my vernal experiences were often fraught, I grew to appreciate my friends’ fathers up in New Hampshire and across the river in Vermont. I could see through the barbs, the colors of impatience, realizing that rednecks weren’t worth my textbook scorn.

A redneck’s nape is crimson due to the work that’s been done in an unforgiving field. A redneck knows how to fix anything with some copper wire scraps and mangled duct tape. A redneck isn’t quick to familiarity, but when they do finally let you in, they’ll speak in poetry about their lucid, beautiful world. Simple, staccato truths.

A redneck will cover up inexperience with crass laughter. Perhaps rude jokes or uncouth anecdotes add to the contours of the mask. (Please note: those who attribute rednecks with racism and misogyny are mistaking them for racists and misogynists. There are good and bad librarians, too.)

To feel the speed of a field, surrounded by windy waving trees, the gear shifts, the foot clutches in an unseen, singular lapdance. Down logging roads, the stone walls bouncing, carousing in the headlights. Terrifying, thrilling. Hell bent on finding the balance between life and death.

There is a compromise between the wildness of youth and the acceptance of life’s looming responsibilities. A redneck will shirtlessly embrace and wrestle these states of being until their motor oil heart becomes too weak to speak. When the lungs have consumed their last gulp of driveway dust. All beings, all beasts resting beneath the growing light of a withering night. Empty, apoplectic cans of beer sleep along porch railings, the only monuments that make any sense in a life that was stunningly brief and infinitely impossible to understand.