I am from pattering footsteps that unceasingly clatter on the oak staircase
voices rattling up and down
requests demands ideas
the same question repeated
I told you the first time twenty years ago
no sugar in my coffee
I am from the pack of mismatched dogs
whose unmanicured paws
click on the hard floors
accessorizing the random spreads of mismatched furniture
the mismatched calico family
of people who belong together
because they cannot escape
who they are
I am from the land of milk and honey
only the milk is from cows fed full and fat
on growth hormones and synthetic feed
and the honey is mysteriously disappearing from dying apiaries
I am from a land where to be one
to be alone
is to be respected
where the law of the individual is responsive to no other law
no other demand
where one's own conscious is the only voice
Except god's. One cannot forget that.
I am from the land of the singular, the eccentric, the explorer, the renegade,
the world of Berkeley in the sixties but never a hippie,
and in all this I am from the land of godliness and righteousness,
the strong arm of dominance that cannot be escaped.
I am from all of these places. Yet I belong to none of them.
The river. More of a stream, a stream much wider than deep, the water barely skimming over the rounded stones in the bed. The road that follows the stream -- the path between the mountains -- the path to -- where? Speed limit is usually fifty, locals drive 40 and visitors drive 60. Two lanes, yellow line unbroken for miles.
The lure of the road, anchored by the call of the stream: leave the car, leave the appointment, cancel the plans, play in the stream, where the rocks are worn smooth and the water is warmed by the sun.
This ceaseless drum of "accomplish," "do," "be," the need to arrive, the almost narcotic effect of the power of the accelerator and the biological appropriate growth of the clutch pedal onto the left foot.
The road trip started for a higher vision: a philosophy or a purpose echoing the escapes written by famous men. Following the road to enlightenment, somehow; a god of Niagara Falls; the homage paid to the being that lives in a cheap pizza joint in Chicago. The pilgrim followed the stations of the Cross, and these stations are as exactly as precisely as preordained as the series of churches and reliquaries. The road across America: following the veins and arteries of the country, criss-crossing Mason-Dixon, route 66, the Bluegrass Parkway, the Turnpike, the Skyway, the mental catalog of bridges, tunnels, tolls, traffic.
In the fog of carbon monoxide is faith.
Is this drive any different? Driving to someone or away from someone; escaping myself or escaping someone who reminds me too much of myself; escaping the past or the future?
All this read in the chatter of public radio as the trees change color on the road to Williamstown. The art gallery, the bookshop, the coffee shop.
The pure yellow of late summer sunlight.
reading my own handwriting