Friday, May 27, 2016

Leaving Vermont

Leaving Vermont

the trees surround the road
like thick
black fingers reaching
into a paper sky
then trail off
into thin shadows
of inky desperation
that slice through huge
combinations of rock
dripping with rust
down to a smudge in the corner
where someone
has left a blot of blue
... a signature that says ...
"i was here before you"

around every corner
the toppled down shanties
disappear in the rear view mirror
while the road snakes ahead
then buckles and bumps to a stop
at another gritty grey clapboard diner
where the taste of poverty
is always the same ...
bleached coffee in a paper cup
doled out by a thin waitress
wearing red eyes ...

a stocky black man smoking rollies says
that she's the sister of someone famous
not a Kennedy by any means
but someone who spends the summer
at Martha's Vineyard and so ... famous
all the same ...
another who calls himself Even
says she's the American whore
says she cries late into the night
as she listens to country swags sing
the hurting songs that ripple
out of a small clock radio
with huge LED numbers repeatedly blinking
better than most clocks he spits out vehemently
because it snags
the right time
two seconds out of every day
and then he says the same thing a second time
there's a third with a hunting knife
strapped to his calf
more dangerous than the others
because he says nothing at all

back on the road
i listen to the radio
some talk jock
mesmerizing housewives
with politics and religion
hyperbole that reeks of foreplay
something like the clumsy groping
of two teenagers
at a drive-in movie
a scenario
never ending with anything more than a squeal of frustration
and i dunno
i dunno
why i listen so intently
for five-and-twenty minutes or so
it's the expectation
the crazy longing
to hear someone smash cymbals together
and bring
the blabber to
some resounding conclusion
but that never comes

at least not before i reach
upper NY and land with a thump in
the geographical leftovers where
the once mighty Mohawks live
and now sell cigarettes
for nickels
and it's there that
i stop for gas and one of those plastic wrapped sandwiches
that i knock down
with a diet Pepsi
followed by a sticky sweet honey bun
not Little Debbie's brand
but something generic
something mysteriously tribal
like Little Hawk's Sugar Roll

and just as i'm gassed up and ready to go
Lucy Too-Tall-Charleyboy
approaches me from behind and
says she'll blow me for a hundred miles or so
and i think to myself
"hell, i won't last that long"
but then i catch her drift
and tell her to throw her pack in the back
i tell her i'll take her as far as the border
for nothing at all
but when she sits shotgun
i guess she didn't understand
and goes to work
before i can object
and then the last thing i remember
is letting go
just before we drove off the highway
soaring higher and higher
over the tips
of a hundred
of those black-fingered trees
and we sail around
the low-hanging moon
dressed in a pink nightie
and i think to myself
"God Bless America"
but i won't be back
anytime soon




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