Sports Utility Vehicles on flatbeds.
Abandoned basketball courts. Backboards
look down like judges robed in dead kudzoo.
The art of checking in to a hotel room.
Tricking the lady up front into putting incidentals
on the company card. The faded gray places
where there once was stark white lines
marking parking spaces. So many engines
designed around combustion sitting in rows.
Waiting to explode. To so much
‘I never could have imagined.’
That red Jeep Cherokee with the crumpled nose.
Just below a second story hotel room window.
Footsteps at six am, at seven cardoors slam.
And sleep. In a place I should not feel safe.
Where the keys are plastic
and so many strangers
also have them.
Yet. Here I am.
Drove down state and ended up a night at Comfort Inn Apalachin.
Just outside Endicott. The highway noise never stops.
New York mountains frame towns and keep them from being cities.
Waking up in April and the world outside is snow white.
I remember. The trucks that come for us.
When cars no longer drive.
Driving all over the state in a jeep that should have never left the farm.
Visiting other states like they were neighbors just up the street.
Jumbled cities and towns connected by the elastic-bound coils of highways.
Lost thoughts to tiresome engines and air screaming high through undercarriage.
Virginia for the night. Tennessee on the way to getting there.
Southern carolinas for the cheaper gas and fat.
Let both time and the pedal be pressed. But not yourself.
Miles thump and roll below mountains conjured up from flat pastures
into green peaks that push white clouds, grazed by cows,
dotted by a house caught in a dark gray asphalt web.
Downtowns resurrected and loved and so much neglected.
Framed eyes above walking feet must see this old jeep,
this young me, staring, steering, praying feet down on pedals.
Fearing the day he does and nothing happens.
Feeling each hesitation in acceleration like the apathetic reality of God.
The great absent good.
Where a man or woman puts his or herself, there also is their faith.
Like abandonment, betrayal. Like that vehicle
would carry me a lifetime away from home
and just quit, give up hope, leave me there.
Jeep better left on the farm.
God like a towering mountain.
When you are happy where you are,
a daunting level of faith is required
to go just about anywhere.
Car after car, unending, road bending,
engines adjust and then descending,
into distances no one can know.
Not even the eyes that drive do.
Not enough to stop the car.
So they can not know where they are.
Because they would. Stop.
Press the pedals of unfeeling ground.
An ever-reeling mound.
The pull of all our pounds.
Clutching everything around and turning it.
Soft enough we can not feel, like a child,
rocked to sleep instead of awake.
A world that has no brakes,
and the gas pedal stuck, unmoving.
Never losing what is not in some opposite way regained.
Car after car whips by as fast the one before,
ignorant just the same. Each one equally insane.
For no matter the direction they are headed,
each one believes they are in the right lane.