In December 2013, secretly riddled with terminal cancer but in stridently active denial, Michele St. Pierre rode with Richard Finegold down Interstate 5 toward Southern California to visit her mother. As I write this today, in 2015 (from a booth in the corner of Roseburg, Oregon’s Elmer’s Restaurant), I am retracing a large portion of their trip (to the tune of about 1,500 miles) while reconstructing circumstances surrounding her death (and its immediate, violent aftermath). It has given me vivid recollections of this trip’s meaning… a meaning I discovered in 2006 and republish here, in honor of Michele’s memory.
The Hubcap Diamond Star Halo
I spent more than 14 hours behind the wheel the last few days.
Driving interstate in America invokes poetry. The popular artists of my generation were those on whose watch, and under whose influence, occurred the near fatal wounding of our culture. Nevertheless, there was an almost universal recognition among them of a kind of magic they all experienced on our great highways, observing the home of the brave as it passed beneath their floorboards, borne forward on wheels empowered by the energy of abundant “fossil” fuels. (more…)