Impressions of America: the flimsiness of clapboard houses, the loneliness of farms, goose-cropped grassland and bogged woodland; bays, Prussian-blue and shallow with the sea somewhere in the distance; rows of terraced housing being razed, or good to go. Not a man or woman in sight. Cars – big, bright, shining in winter sunshine, keeping pace, parked up. River mouths shining, snow lying besides the tracks; Victoriana everywhere: empty brick barns, heavy ironwork, stone bridges, trees choked with ivy, a poor looking cemetery with much of the grass rubbed away, a sense of deprivation, things are worn. The sharp corners of downtown with flags raised above the flat rooves and reflecting in the shining towers; the peripheral townships of soft-looking terraces with their dirt yards and empty streets; a grey church on a hill. A patrol car cruises past, the exhaust flowering in the cold air. The winter grass is brown, and the bald trees so that the woods are see-through; there is no weight to them. The country is empty and much is poor. On the horizon great balloons of steam above chimneys and factories. One golf course. A boom descends on the entrance to an air force base; a long reach of runway and mown grass, tubular jet planes in dove grey. Chain fencing with curls of razor wire. By a river a large tree downed and trailing its branches in the thin stream. The yellow buses, the green road signs, the red-white-blue of the flag.
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