Thursday, March 11, 2010

north out of the city

went to an incredibly pointless "webinar". lost some (hopefully impertinent) parts of my soul, and bulldozed some possible mental real estate. on the plus side, i had some free-writing time whilst speakerphone voices droned & duelled (and called james madison "jimmy madison").

(unedited, unrevised; much gratitude if you read till the end)

North out of the City

In my small, grey, steel car
I sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic,
watching bulldozers scoop maw-fuls
of gravel, shove it into a mound
that does not grow. Detritus rolls
in-between lanes like marbles, resting
in the narrow, brown, spit of a median.

It is the first real day of Spring,
not "Calendar Spring"--
but waking up to birds, shrugging off
your jacket in the first sign of
bright, dew-heavy warmth--and yet
my windows are down.
I'm sucking in exhaust and not even
a tree pierces my sightline of
salt-stained sedans,
overpasses tangled like veins.
The light changes briefly,
bulldozer belches into reverse,
and I slough forward with
less momentum than the gravel
still trickling off the pile.

Fuzzed-out Nigerian 60s funk,
crate-dug from moldy warehouses,
or packed and forgotten in cobwebbed rooms,
property of forgotten uncles, deceased cousins,
older brothers distant and unknown.
The guitars are fractured, sear through
shorted-out speakers. They cut swaths
out my window, above the morass of
muted humanity and chattering machines.
Drums mingle with woodblocks, metallic plinks,
clanks beaten out on spent carburetors,
tire rims, rusted oil-barrels, naked hands,
a flagellating polyrhythm of skin, steel, wood;
woven in sweat.
Voices rise and join, chanting too loud
for the cheap, overseas Sears microphone to handle.
They distort and wrap around each other.
Organs burble and levitate, wobbly till
they cascade back, swallowed by beat.

The light blinks again and I finally move.
A breeze begins, pushing the faint bead
of perspiration back into my brow.
The stereo sends lost shards of art back
into the atmosphere; lone waves
made by men who also rode in cars--
cars that tumbled down mountainsides,
were overtaken by insurrections and captured.
Worse, shot on sight, branded as heretics or
targeted by the terrible solemnity of chance.
Forgotten men existing only in forgotten,
warped grooves, box-bound under leaky roofs.
Ahead, the asphalt lies flat and straight.

1 comment:

  1. you back like crack in the blogosphere. i'm not getting out to nyc til august or later probably. zed might even be coming w/ me, but that's all way preliminary or something.
    i'm super busy until mid april after that, i'm going to try to make to indy and thereabouts. we'll be in touch mang. i need to come drink all your beers