Tuesday, March 21, 2017



I used to love it when I'd be driving at night in the middle of nowhere - some mountain peaked ambling road in north central Pennsylvania or somesuch place and I'd be up pretty high along some ridge or height and down below would be the lights of some upcoming place - small town village farm crossing larger city whatever - and the lights would get closer and I'd be nearing them more and more as they grew larger and brighter and then no longer 'down below' at all they'd be out before me and then I'd arrive first at the first crossroads and then another corner and a few more streets and the houses would begin getting closer together more like a village or a town from time ago and what was from a distance seemingly nothing and far away would suddenly be there right amongst everything and it would engulf me and then I'd realize I was there right there and the place would cover me over and take me in and then off to the side there'd be a railroad depot or maybe a freight yard or a simple place where the tracks crossed and the coal-supply yard and its trucks would be there and then some warehouses and a district of storage and junk and more houses - battered small twisted old large all kinds of yards and fronts old porches sagging with junk - the sorts of places you'd see out in the country along the old roadways places where people didn't care much and they'd have couches and refrigerators and weird things like that out on the front porch and old crumbled bicycles and piles of metal and chairs in the yard and off to the side there'd be like five generations of rusted old cars - the big old fat kind from great-granddaddy's day and then grandpa's and then dad's and then all the kids and everyone just drove something it seemed until they gave up on it and just parked it with the others and left it and some would still have their colors fading old place or maybe even still bright and others would be sagged and brown rust and nothing much at all with the glass frosted over or broken and even with stuff inside them now too - storage things like chairs and shovels and rakes and clothes and lumber and these country houses they'd just not care but here in the towns that didn't happen as much except on these outskirts I'm mentioning- the places where you'd enter from and then there'd be a store or two and general convenience stuff gas stations shoe discounters a lumber yard and maybe a farm or tractor place an old Sears or Penny's or whatever they still had and then nearing more the center of whatever these light were there'd always be a Ben Franklin Five & Ten store on some corner fronted on the other by a big tall old hotel now running itself down to a nothing at all and a bar within and a red neon or something telling of it and then there'd be a row or two of downtown type stores bakery camera tools hardware implements insurance notary appliance foodstuffs second-hand and then electrical supply and sports and fishing and liquor and bicycle and toys and a bargain shop and a households store and kitchen dresses and curtains and things and it just went on with here and there a small sparsely done-up eatery diner kitchenette hamburger joint and then running out again car lots repair shops truck yards oil tanks motorcycles snowmobiles nursery trees and shrubs garden supply - all that it just went on and at the daybreak after all those lights seen from a distance were gone and turned off and I'd be right in the middle of it I'd know it had all been a place and something-real an actual location - first glimpsed from afar on some twisty highway up above or from some two-lane country-bumpkin side road highway land and whether it was filled with craters and bumps or smooth as all get out it always took one right past the lights and the police station and the municipal buildings and service yard but right there too ALWAYS right into one real solid honest-to-goodness run-down weird old American town - the kind you just don't see anymore.

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