“Untitled #89” – April Sketches #1

Life as a roughneck with
The dream of gleaming asphalt
Undertire, underfoot,
Back-breaking labor raking blueberries
In my own dreams of messy western
Wanderers in dirt clod overalls headed
North, the dream of Fort Kent and Key West
Tunneled through the northwoods,
Turned into wild abandon,
Going somewhere not nowhere but no
Idea where the place is,
where the end of the line is,
where the train tracks split from
parallel red-rusty iron rails to
buried spikes in the ground and
a collapsing trestle where kids dive
into the river and escape so narrowly
dying, crashing into rocks under the water,
and singing songs to myself about
the generation fifty years dead but alive
whimsically inside of my mind and
the mind of everyone with their eyes on the road
and their heart somewhere adrift in possibility,
sitting down with a shot of dry wit,
something precious and dreamy – I say it again –
something precocious and weary,
I’m here living, almost living,
In the town of farms all fallen apart, all pushed together,
All amalgamated into one wheezing mass under
The crushing pressure of capital gain and
Grains from some other country
Or some other place in our country
Not like here, but distant and commercial,
Where there are no cows grazing in front of the department stores
And no universities thirsty for an ounce of meaning
And no young academics going DOWNtown every night
In painful waiting for the next binge, where the boy reads
Nietzsche, laughs like Nietzsche, dances like Nietzsche,
Sees the wild horses at the Cooper Farm
and dies a little inside like Nietzsche.
And there’s a moment of calcite clarity before the rush,
Before the torrent of night begins another time,
Before I forget that daylight ever existed and
Tumble through the exalted clockwork of time,
Before I reach Cairo, before I float
through the dizzy starfield,
before I reach my mother and my father,
before I hold my breath and mumble “hit me!”,
before I regret my ever coming here,
before I lunge for any sensation in and out of reach,
before all is suddenly lost and reborn in every flaring emotion,
self-loathing, narcissus love, decadent foreboding,
bodies evaporating in smoke, powder-passing-around,
raw sniffling, licking, el ess dissolving, cigarettes resolving
in extrasensory lackluster resolutions of abstinence,
cleaning up our acts, drinking the rest of our whiskey
just so we won’t be tempted later by anything but the
twenty dollar bill that’ll open the next fourty of beer
and score us our next anesthetic no matter what.


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