Visions Pt. 3: Drive

In the American suburbs, one of a handful of essential imperatives is just: to drive. Suburban dwellers live, partly to drive; and because suburbanites are driving sons of bitches, the appearance and reappearance of cars in the Cheltenham Elegies should be no surprise. The problem with cars, as many experienced people know, aesthetes or not, is that they stink. They are expensive, dangerous, wasteful, unnecessary pieces of equipment, the remnant of a kind of Killer’s Century that was in and of itself expensive, dangerous, and wasteful. The problem with cars in the Cheltenham Elegies is that the way different characters move, certainly the hero/anti-hero of 261 and others, expresses how cars can be deflation sites— engendering outward, superficial movement not balanced by anything interior. Cars in the Elegies are visions of entropy, taking dramatic participants from nowhere to nowhere; or, in 421, acting as a stage for a possible consummation to be deferred forever. That cars create false, delusive movement— manifesting material status and security, while negating the spiritual, especially as regards the Earth as an entity above the merely human— make it so that as an elegiac archetype, the twentieth century automobile carries with it the symbolic resonance of mankind fooling itself with bogus progress, materialistic values, and the crass sense that danger and death be built into everyday experiences and stages.