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Lost Highway

 

The Highways were always waiting to be built, they just didn’t know what for. After the first shipment of Essence arrived this was no longer of concern. Tentative pathways soon grew into monstrous freeways, constructed with a cold proficiency passed down through the generations. No import had ever been so valued and any reservations were soon drowned out in the black gold clamour of that first rush. A light had been switched on. The four corners had been illuminated and a glow shot right through to the core.

 

Soon nothing would stop or slow the supply line; speed limits were quickly abolished, trails rapidly divided, winding slow lanes swiftly becoming taillight afterthoughts. In the flourish of bloated boulevards old ideas were swept away, sweet cares crushed into a heady rush by the slaveship pounding of unquenchable desire. All was crescendo, no resolve in the studied rhapsodies of this autocratic anthem. The supple earth appeared cauterized as horizons compressed, and whole districts were tarmaced flat for the gaudy loaded floats of the marching parades.

 

Resistance rose up sparking red blooms of revolt, but the insurgent atoms could never configure. In dawn periods there was an occasional exhausted détente when construction ceased, with a sharp intake of breath, but finally each one was starved out as new ideas withered without companion. All faces were eventually turned to this singular objective; every angle rounded and polished to the meaningless cold steel monorail of relentless industry, until even the idea of stopping shipments became absurd. This was a divine legacy from beyond. ‘History is repeated', was proclaimed, while in chorus, it was deleted.

 

The purring rhythms of triumphant motorcades soon faded away, replaced by a flat siren drone, yet the nagging melody remained hard wired, as if fused to the circuit boards by staccato lightning. Onward. Advance. Believe. Delivery to deliverance from was now all, but hardly anyone could remember from what. Demand eventually started outstripping supply as transit wore the roads to dust. Through the arid landscape, the swollen vineways started crisscrossing each other hysterically knotting into a scar tissue mass. Supplies trickled through the tangled wires staving off the ever growing longing, sending sporadic sweet bursting shudders to the extremities, but the enterprise was becoming a corpse.

 

The patterns had dipped out of focus, the fibres had torn. Distended borders snapped back with a massive rush of air. You could hear the crackling of brittle, frigid stars as the infrastructure buckled to collapse. It was over. But it wasn’t finished. Finite endeavour falls but something remains. A pulse under the ruins. There will always be a cell you can never reach; mutating, transmuting, unearthing its own escape route, craning for the light.

 

 

Epilogue

 

It all now lies derelict but pristine. A ghost town in a plastic snowstorm, preserved in vinegar and blood. On the abandoned film set the warmth of sepia seduction fights the apocalyptic freeze-frame; forever aflicker in the fairground light, relentlessly redacting the next frame in the child’s flick book. The echoes of clanging scaffold, wind chimes in an exhausted dream, still call quietly with a cryogenic calm. The Highways have always been built. It only takes a falling drop of Essence hedging through the membrane for the machinery to grind into action again. I sit and wait for the sands and woods to come, to reclaim the land before the flood.