The Myth of an Asphalt Heart

Drive the 4-lane commerce
between sunset and night,
twilight along gentle rolling hills
when the blue stems ripen to maroon,
and the rite of spring is in advance.
Pass colossal ships of the plains
empty now, quiet, hollow,
massive lonely anticipation
for wheat, corn, or soy.
Unfurl sails of concrete tubes;
broken windows of the bridge
invite crows, starlings, grackles,
willing stowaways take command
and move slowly with tides of the moon
through fresh waves of green grass
rail road ties, barb wire, and rust.

Climb, climb, down shift, then up shift.
Pass cargo wheels under steel frames
and oblong boxes lit with electric fire,
like New York, San Francisco, or Chicago
from Edison’s invention of the filament.
18-wheel tractor trucks and bling
haul someone’s home or desire,
rampant behind coded locks and tags.

Small cities, small towns, counties
follow, accumulate mile after mile;
where once upon a time
Gotham dreams of son’s/daughters
of the pioneers could go no further
and stalled with booster signage,
feral attraction to pure abstraction,
taller, wider, and more, and more
electric fire than simple being.
Boots, arrows, hats, Indians
and dinosaurs in the high dessert,
where you can picnic and for $7
look at a massive hole in the ground.
“It Came from Outer Space.”

Snowdrifts deep as tumbleweeds
along barbs on wire and yellow dashes,
Clear sky and stars in the west
Past tired winter cumulus,
In the valley of the parenthesis,
the artificial shadow emerges from
pale pink steam and halide lamps.
A blink of the eye and look up
at a belching beast of lignite.
Power dynamos and sulfur on the breeze,
brimstone metaphor, sweet energy drinks,
no joy as mile marker histories blur past,
and all around strangers at 95 mph.

Shadows like fire dance Stravinsky’s
passionate nymphs on truck hoods,
windows, and steering wheel grips.
Umbra becomes fingers, wrists,
shoulders, hair, and mouth.
The iris constricts in disbelief.
Bumper to bumper, headlight
to headlamp, wheel to wheel,
nose to nose at 95 mph, and
all stops in less than a wink.
As cog and bone collide
in viscous puddles and hissing steam;
we combust in the other’s eyes,
consummate our love at first crash,
and fuse the myth of an asphalt heart.

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