Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crawl Stroke

After all these endless photographs... it's time for a poem. I guess I sometimes write pieces that help me remember that no matter how bad things may seem sometimes, they could always get worse. Driving the car to work every day, for example, is a lottery; the newspapers are full of mortal accidents on a regular ineluctable basis. In a past life I owned a Volkswagen bus which caught fire on me while driving down Chester Road, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. By the time the fire company got there, it was engulfed... a total loss. So perhaps you can pardon me this excess...
.......Crawl Stroke
Driving up the highway in New Jersey
That flirts with several suburbs
Before leading you to the brink
And then dumping you on
The road to the bridge
Back to the mainland
It was chilly so I turned on the heat
Before long as the headlights
Glared into the distance
I smelled a faint suggestion
Of burning leaves
Or roasting walnuts
The rational mind seeking solution
To mysteries that ever strive
To mimic confusion
Suggested that the odor was nought more
Than the heating element burning off
A summer’s accumulation of dust and grit
Maybe even a layer of mold as well
But the smell grew stronger
Turning to the acrid attack of smoke
Soon I could no longer ignore the fact
That this was not some kind of cosmic joke
My car was burning
Before I even had time to think
Just as the idiot lights started to blink
I guess a gas line broke
Because a jet of flame
Shot from the dashboard vents
Which I had unfortunately
Directed at my face
The world before me disappeared
In a wall of fire
I could feel my eyeballs boil
Then explode
As I pulled the car over
To the side of the road
Did I scream as I shoved the door open
And staggered a few steps
Or were my screams drowned
By the blaring air horns
Of the on-coming truck
I barely had time to think, “Fuck!”
Before it blew by me inches away
And then my car blew up behind me
Throwing me clear across both lanes
Into the bushes in the median strip
Where I lay senseless, unnoticed
As the police came to clear the wreckage
Of another torched abandoned car
Two days later I emerged from the shrubs
With my go-for-broke eyes
And my blast furnace face
A state trooper shot me
For looking like such a sorry disgrace
As I lay there dreaming
Dreaming my dying dream
I saw a desert
Larger than any known to man
Hotter than any known in hell
There was nothing else for me to do
But start to crawl

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