Mobile Metal Churchland

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of Scott Tienken’s regular column entitles Mobile Metal Churchland. Look for the latest each week!

Our bodies congregate in the rolling metal bins to suffer the hips, biceps, and rumps of others. We sit, stand, and rub up against one another. Windows of multi-dimensional city-stained glass roll on by and we observe together. We are pray to the slogans and mottos of advertisers, the civic-minded, and the local TriMet godhead; though we have already tithed. We have chosen or been forced to come here (this, too, is inescapably tithe-related, the world pressing in on us with plates proferred and mandated) and will make of it what we will.

Only the dogma within this holy roller sideshow of a freakshow of a beloved brethren is jam-packed with. In fact, we often argue or go full on preacherly. (This often results in announcements from the head priest and transportation sub-lord who is our driver. Tinny static with garbled pronouncement. Whatever he said it sounded authoritative.) This isn’t ‘liberalism’ or a ‘reform’ church or the new agnostia or ‘democratic values.’ This is what it is to be in public together worshipping the dictates of movement.

We have all chosen to displace ourselves in the same style and largely in tolerant silence. We listen to the road, city, and scene. We gospel it up, stoic it down to bottom, and juggle the stones we want to test our throwing arms out on. We form all sorts of absurd judgements about our fellow parishioners. Don’t necessarily conclude anything. Maybe just survive. But in the end are all participant in mass transportation. Together. Writing open-sourced commutatory scripture while clutching the prayer beads of timetables and transfers.

Buses and trains are the new means to an end.

© Scott Tienken

About Scott Tienken

Scott Tienken is co-editor of The Cartophile Imprint, a publishing/music/and public arts website. His current novel, Mass Transportation, the second installment of his Portland Trilogy, takes place on the northbound 75 busline to St. Johns. He is founding member of the Pine Needles music collective. He is a certified city and public art project geek, works for the county library, and is looking for a chess partner. (Scott Tienken owns the copyright on all his contributions, please contact him for permission to republish).
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  1. Pingback: Busload of faith: Public transit as ritual | Portland Afoot

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