Sunday, May 29, 2011

State Highway

You try to put the true nature of New Jersey into words but settling on a definition is like grabbing smoke. Jersey City seems at the core of what is New Jersey. As cities go, few are as disparate. Wards – what in Louisiana are called Parishes – do border each other but unlike say Manhattan, there’s no flow from one to another. There’s no Broadway to unify our Harlem with our Battery Park. What we have is State Highway, our main street, our Petticoat Junction where Hooterville and Mayberry can cross paths. What an oppressive sight, the wealth of that distant city we all serve filling the horizon, the four lanes providing only passage through for polluting vehicles, the feeling that everybody comes from some place better and are going to some place better. Everybody here is just a disposable shadow. We’re the everybody they do not see even. Our lives are not as valued because fate has put us here, in between the there and Olympus. The glimpse of trees, houses, life to the side, the clues ignored mean those that are here must make of life what they can. These secrets only we can know and are revealed one by one by everyone you meet, with everyone you know, here on either side of State Highway.

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