Germantown Pike: A Mini-Collage

“Why Plymouth Meeting at night still haunts me— when you look down Germantown Pike from a car at, say, 2 am on a Sunday morning, if it was merely desolation to see, there’d be nothing to say. Why something must be said is that Germantown Pike and the environs (Plymouth Meeting Mall, Fed Ex, Starbucks) all exude such a sense of foreboding, menace, and compressed anti-matter or anti-material nothingness, from having been built in a jagged, ill-shaped, ill-placed fashion, that the consciousness of the individual is sucked into a vacuum from seeing them that it cannot (in my case, at least) ever really recover from. It is man’s inhumanity to man hewn into architecture; and crisp, poignant to understand that Plymouth Meeting by daylight looks innocuous or even impressive. Daytime world and nighttime world in Plymouth Meeting are diametrically opposed.”

                                                       the individual,
                                                            who, if
                                                          will wander
                                                            all night,
                                                             to death
                                                            in cement—
                                                             also, by
                                                        Germantown Pike,
                                                             sheer drops,
                                                               pass away—

Pat offered to give me a ride,
as air was being sucked from
my lungs, oppressive wafts from
parking lots layered over other
parking lots layered under other
parking lots, hewn above concrete
fields, more concrete fields, hewn
in rain-slicked black on a November
night, splattered like black paint
with silver dabs for icy moonlight—

Pat could barely drive her car, we
were trapped in the maze of the first
parking lot for fifteen minutes, Pat
encouraged herself past all the criss-
cross lanes, zany yellow-striped
other lanes, even more zany sense
that cars were converging at odd
angles to us (they could destroy
us, I thought, they’re demon
vehicles sprung mechanically from Hades)—

Pat slipped inconspicuously onto
Germantown Pike, which stuck out
its tongue to lick us, turn us white
as sheets, where all was concrete
& sodomy beneath concrete above us,
yet we escaped, over to Chemical Road,
it was only half as sinister, Pat
almost crashed, but found herself
surviving, as did I, as Germantown
Pike laughed, saying Not next time, babes—