I drive into sunsets, am drawn toward water—fire and light, dark and ice.
Highway 2 across the silence of northern Wisconsin, and Lou Reed knows, alongside Superior who seduces me—like Leelinau.
The concrete destruction of highway 35 serpentine through Duluth and, still, she taunts me. Take a photo at a stoplight, send it to you. And take the curves fast and capture photos in my mind—the hard divisions of the roads across the water, the sun falling into the lake, the water not frozen, our world dying—and send those too.
Follow the river road west outside St. Paul, factories and smoke, the reds and pinks of a dying star, black gloved hands numb in frozen air, ice on the road, fire in the sky—and the totality of it all makes me want to die, to freeze, to burn, to go on forever and not stop.
Going eighty above the Mississippi, toward Minneapolis, and think about your story, and Grace Slick knows, and wonder who am I—to want what I do.
What, baby? What?
The freeways, wide fast connections, divide our cities and ourselves. Neighborhoods—gone. The land—scarred. And her—where? Lonely buses dwindle and disappear and we, alone, in cars isolated amidst the imperceptible drift of a world falling into the sea.
The interstate highways too, broken promises between forgotten towns, nowhere streets, flypaper bars, and empty formica cafes—built for the tanks to roll over when the centre fails to hold.
Things fall apart—you hold it together, but for how long? And how far? And I break beneath you, insubstantial in a world with no end, no future, no hope; and were I to finally know it inside my bones—what? Cut out that certainty with green glass, disappear under her waves, warm beneath melting ice.
Because between you and I—lie the machines.
What chains in the connections they forge? The information fucking super highway scarring our minds, forcing new neural pathways, and cutting the last little bits of desire right out from our souls and claiming them for its own memetic ends. Words—which moved slow over the land bound in paper and ink and a scent I can no longer find—are transmitted directly into our minds.
And where are you now?
In the darkness—my hand moves wet as I try to untangle the question of who I am to want you now, try to forget my failures and the connections I couldn’t keep while my laptop glows cold on my bed—me and the machine, me and my hand, me and your words.
Adrift in the darkness we breathe—dream of death, angels, a red dress, a highway beneath a midnight sun and something I cannot find. The flashing light of my phone—and I reach for ghosts, reach for you. Refresh the page.
Drive into the sunset and try to unravel this complication. Wonder why it’s gotta be you and not someone I can run from once it goes bad.
And it always goes bad.
Wonder what good would even be. Discovering each other for real, in some organic way, and you—married. The centre cannot hold, and what anarchy is it—the impossible in-between where you dwell with her yet? I read your story. And I’ve read the others, every word—how dare I cry when worse outcomes lie broken across your pages?
Subtext—refresh the fucking page.
I don’t know how to write my way out from beneath this—a heaviness born of a weariness with wanting unavailable men—these connections that divide. I refuse agency because agency never means answers I like, but I want to kiss you—screaming. And I want to kiss you hard and deep and taste myself on you. And I want you to hold my head down, twist your fingers in my hair so that it hurts. And I want to fuck and fuck and fuck until we can’t anymore—to go on forever and never stop, ice on the road, fire in the sky, our world falling into the sea.
And what, baby?
A long walk on dark streets; discovering what it is to kiss; you hard and deep inside me; and so many, many things. It feels predatory, like wishing her dead—which, of course, isn’t what I wish at all. And now is now, my expectations null, but I wish you were here—and not a ghost inside a machine, a vibration of my phone.
And we won’t make promises no one can keep, but is that enough to not fall? And I’m never enough, and this is already too much, but we can’t take it back and I cannot stop.
And it’s hard… so fucking hard—
And you are not someone I can run from, walk away from, stop—so why this connection? Why this—and what would good be?
Darkness beneath her melting ice.
Tell me—now… say yes.
And I can’t touch you, can’t connect the divide, can’t stop trying, can’t help but let you down. Wet and cold I move toward a distant fire. Wet and cold your words push me on and, still, I cannot stop.
Our world dies—and we fuck and fuck and fuck—the light, the beauty, the burn.
“The Light, the Beauty, the Burn”
Megan Lewis // Parker Marlo
Previously published in The Prague Revue.
Reprinted in Crossing Genres.
No reprints without written permission.