Photo by Infrogmation
Broken City 2006
I’ve always liked the fog. The ambiance of mystery…….muted sounds, glimpses of shapes that morph into creatures of the imagination, the feeling of still isolation. But today was the fourth day of driving through a fog that only became denser as I approached the upward slant to the bridge over the Mississippi. Crossing the bridge was surreal, as though driving into the gaping mouth of something not-of-this-earth. I could see absolutely nothing except the tail lights of a few cars directly in front of me, the sides of the bridge going up into a cloud and the glowing coronas of the streetlights melting into each other like bits of ectoplasm as I slowly passed them one by one. We were three lanes of mindless machines driving into the mouth of the beast, our muffled engines growling like a cat cornered. I felt light-headed and a bit disoriented in the mist swirling all around as if the river itself was exhaling a long-held breath upward mingling with the glowering clouds over our heads and us in between, caught in a mist laden purgatory.
On the other side I exited, driving along the river where a fire truck rolled through the streets rushing to yet another fire, it’s siren wailing thinly through the dampness. I passed a FEMA trailer park looking like a field of ghostly tombs sheltering stripped-away lives on hold for who knew how long. On each side of the street weeks old piles of storm debris and rotting garbage lumbered in and out of view – monsters of the sort that suck the endurance out of a people stretched thin with making do. We were all in a purgatory of sufferance then that can’t be explained or described. The fog of the last few days was only temporary and would eventually lift. The purgatory of the storm would hold us in its’ grip for months to come.