In a position of great clarity, or just in the backseat
of a car speeding down I 90, I find
that panic is like a muse in my throat,
too big to fit there, really, and tying itself
in knots, turning upside down to see the dark
of an esophagus without air to breathe
or time or space, only that heavy tongue
above and snug. Trapped and sweating
and choking me.
Where the hell am I going?
It may not be any consolation, but I remember the way home.
Now it is time to beat a Bongo rhythm along this road,
kiss the princess and become King Frog.
The South will echo in my left ear
as I drive West. What a beaten path this is,
turned precious by generations of unconcerned bystanders
plotting manifest destiny like a particularly cliché proposal.
Now the radio is too new and I sincerely miss
those Heavy Metal Bands.
Maybe this is a path for hopping along, a golden brick road
to the House of Tom Bombadil,
which at least would mean I was only on a visit
rather than a journey with a desire
to homestead on someone else’s land.
I am not a bleeding heart, though.
Toughness runs in the family. Nevertheless
I am on my knees,
begging the dust to settle
on the ruins of the promised future. Surely, this too shall pass.
I drive on.
The cruising broomstick of my soul is surviving
even if my skin flakes and drifts away in the sun
like dusty sweat, this too shall pass. God,
I must have some mystical grace.
It would probably be interesting not to have a body, to know
how a soul feels in the rushing water
of the river.
For the record, the sun is going down. Peace doves won’t fly
at night and so I will pretend to be in Australia, where the day
remains. It will be the campsite of my road dreams.
What else to soothe the road weary but images and loud music
and the reminder that at least there are stars at night, trees
in the daytime. When the sun finally rises above purple mountains
I eat oranges because that is what you do on a Chelsea Morning.
No matter how small your highway.
Dew is an indispensable commodity for people on the road, reminding
them of the starved and jealous sky, dark for so long
that it feels angry for the dreams lost overnight in Australia,
among the peace doves of yesterday.
A journey is sorrow,
but at least the earth rumbles when I drive over it. My heart
could be transformed by the will of an astronaut; maybe
one day I will comfortably approach a place I never knew existed
on a deep brown planet where I would forget the color
of my mothers’ eyes and live happily ever after
no road ahead to chase.
But this is the Westward way.