Three o’clock in the morning. The highway is empty, under a malignant moon. The oil drippings make the roadway gleam like a blue-satin ribbon. The night is still but for the engine’s humming noise. There is something unbearably sexy about cars at night. The way the fenders twist the light and reflect the road, the way every driver becomes anonymous. The inside of the old Lincoln smells like asphalt, gasoline and dreams – and desire. The road is straight. The way is long. But the night is short. The humming burgeons into a roar. The car is going so fast it sways from side to side. The backseat produced the sexual revolution but all males chase women they have no intention of marrying for the same reason dogs chase cars they have no intention of driving. My tears were not allowed to cry. At that very special night, after the last picture show, driving my car along the country roads, I began to wonder how real the landscape truly was, and how much of a dream is a dream. I dreamed of driving off bridges, into the moonshine river, into the dried-up reservoir on the country road to home, into the lake beneath some twisting highway of my youth -- Film Noir.
The land and the water make numbers joined, through endless night the earth whirls toward a creation unknown – a poem written in flesh and stronger than steel or granite. For years I went about, day and night, with only one thing on my mind – her! She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately – a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs. I could see only the eyes shining through; eyes so big and bright, as if they saw more than they could comprehend. That’s what made them so beautifully bright. One can wait a whole lifetime for a moment like this. The woman whom you never hoped to meet now stands before you and she looks exactly like the person you dreamed about. But the strangest of all is that you never realized before that you had dreamed about her. Your whole past is like a long sleep, which would have been forgotten had there been no dream to become reality. I sit down beside her and she talks. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die. But she even wouldn’t remember that at a certain corner I had stopped to pick up her hairpin, or that, when I bent down to tie her laces, I remarked the spot on which her foot had rested and that it would remain there in perpetuum, even after the cathedrals had been demolished and the whole Latin civilization wiped out forever and ever. I loved -- and I lost.
Man really loves nothing but his automobile; not his wife his child nor his country nor even his bank-account first but his motor-car. The automobile has become a national sex symbol. We cannot really enjoy anything unless we can go up an alley for it. Yet our whole background and raising and training forbids the sub rosa and surreptitious. So we have to divorce our wife today in order to remove from our mistress the odium of mistress in order to divorce our wife tomorrow in order to remove from our mistress and so on. As a result of which the woman has become cold and and undersexed; she has projected her libido on to the automobile. So in order to capture and master anything at all of her anymore the man has got to make that car his own. Which is why let him live in a rented rathole though he must he will not only own one but renew it each year in pristine virginity, lending it to no one, letting no other hand ever know the last secret forever chaste forever wanton intimacy of its pedals and levers, having nowhere to go in it himself and even if he did he would not go where scratch or blemish might deface it, spending all Sunday morning washing and polishing and waxing it because in doing that he is caressing the body of the woman who has long since now denied him her bed.
The air is heavy this evening, thicker than usual for this time of year. We expect a hint of crispness when leaves start falling, like the wind’s telling us secrets about days to come. But all I feel is muggy. Maybe it’s my mood. She’s projecting again, despite my chagrin. How I’d give anything to go back in her history, to solve the mystery. What fool could have played so loosely with a hand like this? Never mind that line, his loss is my gain. And now I follow behind, ready to pick up the pieces should any break free. My only purpose, to save her from another carbon copy scene. I’ll know it’s time when I see the chill set in, when social graces raise goosebumps on her ivory skin. That scarf, the white one, she wears it like armor when forced to do battle on the fields of society. I watch as it slips lower and lower. A glimpse of her shoulder, reminds me of the delicate flower that lies beneath. Despite the hard edge she’s attempting to display, I see only soft curves and her womanly ways. I know in mere moments, we’ll be on the open road. I’ll reach to her hair and let it flow, the pardoned cascade setting her free. And just like that, she’ll be back with me. ~ Francesca
Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you’ve learned about the grand themes of life. It’s time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed. Fishing in a place is a meditation on the rhythm of a tide, the arc of a year, and the seasons of life. To scratch the surface of those mysteries, for nearness to the beautiful, to reassure the world remains, to wash off some of the grief for the peace we so squander, to dip into that great and awesome pool of power that propels these epic migrations and to feel, and steal, a little of that energy. If you went through life refusing all the bait dangled in front of you, that would be no life at all. No changes would be made and you would have nothing to fight against -- and life would be dull as ditchwater.
In the midday heat of any yellowish June's summer day, back in 1948. Touching the steering wheel and power ran to my fingertips. Driving west, then south, in search of the old highways. All of a sudden I was out of the lot and on the turnpike next to the mountains, flying. I put my hand out the window, and then I put my head out. There were a million smells along this road, both old and just born. I felt my hair blow behind me and the air rush into me, and I forgot for a moment to worry about how I was supposed to be. Most of life is driving somewhere and then driving back wondering why the hell we went there. The roadway seems to stretch for miles in a straight line as the fields and farms give way to a more barren landscape. All that space, waiting, so easy to go sailing off this road. It was like hundreds of roads I'd driven over - no different - a stretch of tar, lusterless, dusty, pitted, bumpy. The broken centerline of the road reflected itself in the windscreen and becomes an endless pulsing ribbon. A town or village straddling the highway; street signs peer out here and there among the trees. On both sides were telephone poles, tilted this way and that, up a little, down, threaded together by wires. I counted one, two, three ... one hundred and nine-teen telephone poles. Along them I drove like a drunken butterfly heading to its next fermented flower. The indicator on the speedometer started to lose ground and I was miles away from my real life. Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia, everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated. Fly towards the unknown -- beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.
I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late. You numb me. I am saying to myself: here is the first woman with whom I can be absolutely sincere. You could fool me, I wouldn’t know it. I can’t fool you – and yet I would like to. I mean that I can never be absolutely loyal – it’s not in me. I love women, or life, too much – which it is, I don’t know. I don’t know what to expect of you, but it is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you – even the impossible, because you encourage it. You are really strong. I even like your deceit, your treachery. It seems aristocratic to me. You make me tremendously happy to hold me undivided – to let me be the artist, as it were, and yet not forgo the man, the animal, the hungry, insatiable lover. No woman has ever granted me all the privileges I need – and you, why you sing out so blithely, so boldly, with a laugh even – yes, you invite me to go ahead, be myself, venture anything. That is where you are truly regal, a woman extraordinary. I laugh to myself now when I think of you.
Those whom society rejects, under the pretext that they may have -- no gods, no masters. He’s like a hero come back from the war, a poor maimed bastard living out the reality of his dreams. Wherever he sits himself the chair collapses; whatever door he enters the room is empty; whatever he puts in his mouth leaves a bad taste. Everything is just the same as it was before; the elements are unchanged, the dream is no different than the reality. Only, between the time he went to sleep and the time he woke up, his body was stolen. It is very queer that the unhappiness of the world is so often brought on by small men. We were young, and we had just begun to love the world and to love being in it; but we had to shoot it to pieces. We’ve been cut off from real action, from getting on, from progress. We don’t believe in those things any more; we believe in the war. The cigarette we smoke at the democratic dawn; the dawn that puts a veil for tears that may have -- no gods, no masters. You take it from me, we are losing our democratic freedom because we can salute too well. The word of the prophet, I claim it and I wish you -- no more gods, no more masters.
Cars are like rolling diaries, metal and plastic and paint tableaux of the last years of their lives. Every dent, every drooping slice of chrome, has a story behind it. The Fifties in the automotive industry were awesome. The cars were heavy, huge, rolling works of art. Now your soul is bowed down to the dust and your belly is stuck to the ground. A garden gnome, that is what you have become. Here you are, forgotten, rusted, sick, wrecked. What a destiny! White trash? A winter’s bone? Meth or snow? No no no! Attracted by this sleeping old beauty, thrilled by this rare garden find, the camera went around the sealed white body, studying the cold, white coffin where the Cadillac S. De Ville resides in a safe slumber. Dear Caddilac S. De Ville, you are hiding layers and layers of hot dreams and riches, oh, if only I could be the one to break through your winter sleep and crank your engine to burning life again; to help you to remember the when and where you came from, the era, the spirit – and the dream peddlers – who had created you. But the classic beauty just wearily yawned: ‘Why would you care to wake me? If a dream is meant to die, shall it live again?’
Detroit's mummified sculptures, frozen behind my back - a vision of human industrial empire keeps passing before my eyes. In my ears I hear the wonderful symphony which came from factories where metals were shaped into tools for men's service. Motown Blues - a new music, waiting for the composer with genius enough to give it communicable form. I think of the millions of different men by whose combined labor and thought automobiles were produced, from the miners who dug the iron ore out of the earth to the railroad men and teamsters who brought the finished machines to the consumer, so that man, space, and time might be conquered, and ever-expanding victories be won against death. Machinery for its own sake and for its meaning to man -- his self-fulfillment and liberation from drudgery and poverty. Detroit's motor-cars were the ultimate symbols of those American dreams - the reward for travelers towards luxurious existence. But we lost it all; wealth and beauty are buried deeply under this coating golden cold. I have memories, but the images have lost their vividness, they seem dead and desultory. Nothing but glimpses of faded past which Miss Liberty tries to mask by slipping into the photograph’s sepia. And yet the city is not dead: but no human is there any longer to send or receive, to charge or discharge. After a long exile, the wild animals have come back to occupy the territory wrested from the forest: foxes and martens wave their soft tails over the control panels starred with manometers and levers and gauges and diagrams -- badgers and dormice luxuriate on batteries and magnetos.
I drove all night and arrived at yesterday. Or could it be the day before? The daguerre'd past can grow foggy for a girl that doesn't check rear-view mirrors. Planning for this trip never occurred to me, so here I am pondering what I’ll do with this rare chance at rewriting my story. I knew it was a trip I’d have to undertake, my heart wouldn’t have it any other way; this stubborn part of me that refuses defeat, that stays here, that refuses to leave. I feel him here in this place, a lingering phantom. Oh, I might say many things, but I very well may, turn this car around and go find new company. After all, we already tried this, didn’t we? I think I’ll venture out on my own. Maybe there’s something in yesterday that I missed the first time around. It would be a shame to waste this opportunity. Although, I’d have to drive far to find a day that doesn’t have his scent. I’m not sure if the road will ever lead away from him. I won’t fight destiny, if I end up on his street, I’ll take love’s gift to me. For now, I'm laid back. I'll stay in this moment and soak up yesterday's sun, feeling his revenant eyes on my bare thighs, our hearts on the run. ~ Francesca