Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Highway from Heliopolis

It rose in the distance like a
stillbirth —or at least the color of one—
as the amphetamines drove me
from the town I grew old in.

My father bought a jeep
when I was young. It was the
sky after a storm blew through
Eastern Colorado, without the
stink of shit and evangelists

Well that, and the Firebird
(his real baby, sexless as it was
with black leather interior that
still smells of the first time
I fucked) rode like wild
roans. He’d advise me not
to wear seat belts in either.
The stares were longer,
he told me the women liked
it better that way.

We’d go to car shows
and look at the engines
like they were porno
magazines and when we’d
pull into the garage, he’d
show me how to polish
the Firebird’s seats.
Absent mindedly,
I’d finger the pouch
of weathered leaves
—the one with some Indian
name— he’d forget in the glove
box and wonder why he’d keep
them hidden from mom under
a stack of crumbling eight
tracks. I had an imagination
then: I’d show friends
the baton that rested
idly on the driver’s side.
My dad’s a cop I’d say
an he beats robbers to
keep them from stealing.

Then they’d talk about
being adults —growing
old, a girl on their arm,
having children— and
get driven home by one
to be put to bed.

I pull off the interstate
—an exit with some Indian
name— to do a rail off
the portable tape player:
these cars from the late
seventies were built well
enough but an eight track
only lasts for a couple
decades. I wonder if it
is as late as it seems
then pull back onto
the highway to see
it there, setting. It
dangles —as if
connected to a
cosmic thread—
waiting for Time’s
nurse to sever its
weight and
throw it

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