Monday, December 14, 2009


You and I, we did the same thing
we discovered the East,
leaving the hot sun and the shimmering oil
on Highway 99 through the Central Valley;
leaving Locke or Groveland or Oakdale,
passing Murder Burger;
leaving the fruit and vegetables that
flourish in the dust.

We crossed the mountains into
alkali desert.
You can't water your cows there
it's a primeval land of rocks and salt
and a lone coyote pants by the side of the road.
We stopped at a cowboy bar,
where the jukebox was playing,
when suddenly it rained huge heavy tears.
We drove fast on 80, maybe
racing into Salt Lake City,
a grid at the foot of the Wasatch.

And then we drove on to Chicago,
following the I & M
lost in Bridgeport with the ghost scent
of the stockyards creeping around the corners.
You and I, we spent a few years there;
I don't know how you were affected,
but I still bear a weight from that place
around my shoulders.

And then we came to the East,
with its carnivorous greenery;
the forests which rise
to cover all human detritus.
It has been my home, and yours.
I long for the desert (do you?),
"500 Metres" the music of the sand and stone.
We discovered the East, both of us--
but how we have been separated by time.

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