Monday, April 7, 2008
James: Almost There
I am driving West on I86
listening to David Bowie—
Life on Mars?
casting glances to where
I’ve engraved the words
at Ten and Two
on my steering wheel,
with the destination:
I breathe the neon gas
of road signs, looking for one
that might tell how far until
Someplace With Something Worth Seeing.
I contemplate interstellar portraits of
all the lights dying;
What must the Moon have thought when
the Northeastern United States turned off?
I spend the highway reprogramming a heartbeat
to match the protest songs of a generation,
manipulate my voice into radio waves,
aim it at satellites to converse with the planet,
if you’re out there,
triangulate my coordinates and tell me where I’m going:
Yesterday will always be
not quite as good as it could have been.
Tomorrow will never be anything but possibility.
Remind me what it’s like
to wake up in a city that forgot you were there,
tell me again about the open road
while I’m stuck overnight in Grand Central
make antagonism tangible so I can have a ‘this place’
to want to get myself out of,
write me the equation
for the medicinal effect of avoidance,
carve my spine out of ball bearings
so I may occasionally slide from my skin,
compress me into aerosol cans
so I can mingle at dinner parties in the troposphere,
whisper me the words to every
Dear John letter,
and religious text.
Teach me the phonetics of humming piano keys
in a forgotten language.
Call me between the hours of 2 and 3 AM,
leave a message after the beep;
I’m no longer questioning
the presence of life elsewhere.