Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The response of the mockingbird.

In the response of the mockingbird I could not find connection.

On the grey road back
from New Orleans,
to Jackson,
to Tupelo,
to Memphis
to Chicago and
north to Wisconsin

In rolled up blankets ,
packages tied with string ,
cardboard boxes wrapped with duct tape,
over stuffed hefty bags,
and unmatched salvation army luggage.

Just clutch your ticket
be glad if you have a destination,

As I sit on the cold and hard plastic seats
under the cold and hard fluorescent light.
A guy collecting cans asks me for spare change,
everywhere I stop
50 cents will get you a play
on the pinball machines,

A pregnant woman, traveling alone
shufflles through some papers in her purse
looking for a dollar she hopes
she might have lost to spend
as ex-cons whisper through thin lips to
sailors on leave,
and Hmong kids with heavy metal T-shirts eat
cold cuts wrapped in plastic
under the “Arrivals and Departures” sign.

I drink whiskey in the back seats out of a passed half pint.
Get out at the stops and smoke.

I watched all day for junk yards
or beauty salons or
fishing tackle suppliers or
“Home Cooking” or
juke joints or
people sitting on the porches watching the bus go by
lost America.
Sometimes I can see it

But in the 4:00 a.m. half lit ride thorough furtive sleep and dreams
the miles are an endless stream of strip malls and chain stores,
with duplicated facades preaching an infinite echolalic neon text,
chanting exile in aluminum and plastic, as the diesel engine thrums spasmodic clockwork sleep.

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