Dérive Two: Turn the Page, a New Chapter

by | Dec 22, 2015 | Fiction

Driving east down Gravois straight into the heart of the city. More peregrinations. The pitter patter rain crescendos onto the car window. Tempest turmoil. The heart of the city reveals the tempo beat of its life and its people’s lives. Alive, but struggling.

Musick Avenue is to the right.

—It’s survival in the city when you live from day to day…In the city.

Cemeteries, numerous, showcase the afterlife in all its glory: brilliant burials, magnificent mausoleums, all in praise to death’s denizens, lying in their necropolis. Mt. Sinai; Sts. Peter, Paul, and Marcus, all guests of St. Louis.

Doomed gardens of a dying city.

The River Des Peres, a shallow stygian stream, Charon and Cerberus all in one, despairs and opens up to swallow nervous visitors.

Thunder crack.

Dutch Windmill rotates continuously, spinning, round and round.

Impaled roads: Chippewa, Cherokee, and Potomac. Sliced through, bisected, dissected, with a grand arsenal.

St. Francis De Sales Oratory, decaying glory. Things fall apart.

Homeless people, going nowhere slow, having nowhere else to go.

Into the center, unto the pinnacle peak. The heart of the city. Dying heart, bleeding for air. Waiting with bated breath into the cliff fall of the future.


There is a way to turn this all around. Improve and gain from the sins of the past; from the sins of the recent past. The turmoil and the agony of a city divided; it cannot stand like this. Why can’t we be friends? A new angle can be configured, a new direction steered. Sudden shifts can make all the difference. Spin it, flip it. Look at it upside down, as a mirror image. Glass half full, not half empty. Make a U-turn. Parabola that shit.

Urban design is the language of the city; art is the language of redemption.



St. Louis Sonnet-Louiset


St. Louis Sonnet-Louiset



Turn again!

A better direction is what is needed; not a reversal but a new heading. Things fall apart, but begin again. Look again to the west, wherein the sun shines. Because the west is the best.

You can make a difference.

About face, heel turn.

Driving West Florissant Avenue, gliding along, seeing good men and good women working. Hard working, making better lives for themselves and their families.

You can make a difference.

Shifts and changes, sudden and gradual; progress being made. Subtle shifts lead to gradual change. Bright effulgent future for all. Black man and white man: two strangers; someone they each wouldn’t know from Adam. Shaking hands. Drawn together like a horseshoe magnet, north and south poles.

You can make a difference.

To the left, a community garden planted: white men, women, and children helping black men, women, and children. All as one. Flowers blooming, flower children. Child, things are gonna get easier. Here is that rainbow that was prayed for.

You can make a difference.

To the right, a park erected, for children of all colors; a beautiful sight under the light.

You can make a difference.

To the center, a newly converted housing development from the funk of an old brewery.

You can make a difference.

More cemeteries: Calvary and Bellefontaine. Old dignified past; worthy of remembrance, but ultimately dead. Break with the past. Break with the bridge of lies, of old broken ties, of spying and of spies. Instead, keep moving into the future along the hyperconnected suspension bridge, by bridging the cultures and the gap; embrace the bridge of unity.

You can make a difference.

And the clouds begin to disperse. The city has seen the worst. The storm is about to pass.

The sun shines. Time redeemed. Time and history are redeeming themselves through art. The devil has stopped beating his wife.

You can make a difference.

St. Louis becomes idealized, an idol for all. A St. Louise, rather: an idealized reality. The people have found what they love and what makes them happy, and they make it their idols.

You can make a difference.

See the sudden shifts, expected and unexpected.




Quantum leap.



Cognitive shift.

Glass half full, not half empty.


You can make a difference.

In the name of love, let’s fix this.

You, yes you too, can make a difference.

Let the people tell their stories:

“I got my license!”

A car swerves to the right just in the nick of time, avoiding hitting a cyclist.

A red light turns green.

“I’m pregnant!”

A woman sees a man drop his wallet. She returns it to him. A lifelong romance begins.

An affluent man planning on buying a lottery ticket lets a poor elderly woman cut in front of him in line. She purchases the winning lottery ticket.

A Catholic and a Protestant have breakfast together.

A Jew and a Gentile have lunch together.

A Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, and an atheist have dinner together.

The road curves gradually to the left, eventually becoming the west. Good can come from bad.

“My father died, but at least he is at peace now.”

A woman wins a needed $1,000 over a radio contest.

“Will you marry me?”

“I’m sorry I did that to you. I won’t ever do it again.”

“My son just graduated from high school!”

“I love you.”

“I failed my math test. But next time I will try even harder.”

The Metrolink train leans right and follows the track.

“Mom, dad: I’m gay.”

A young white boy is saved from an out of control speeding truck by a black man walking by.

“I got the promotion!”

“We’re having twins!”

A car drives west along the Poplar Street Bridge from Illinois; suddenly it is in Missouri.

“I got my raise!”

Two construction workers: black man and white man shake hands: job well done.

The Mississippi River bends.

A straight woman plays chess with her gay friend.

A straight male teacher mentors his young transgender student.

A small business receives a lifesaving grant.

“Yes, I do.”

A man in his car makes a 180 to return home to apologize to his girlfriend and comfort her.

The mayor marries a gay couple in his office.

A white Big Brother eats a fastfood meal with his black Little Brother.

Happy Hour begins.

The Supreme Court upholds same sex marriage legalization.

A rainbow appears after a rainy sunshower day.

A woman has a terrible day at work. She feels instantly better when she clocks out.

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About The Author

Matthew Lane

Matthew Lane graduated from St. Louis University with a degree in English in 2013. He can be reached at mnlane@gmail.com.