Another Night Drive
Im winding into Highway 9 at night
coming up on Apple Jacks, the only neon in these redwoods
Two figures slouched at the bar
backs to a pool table,
Pale blue streetlamp on the right,
then its back to darkness.
Paul Simon is singing about a chip in time
Its one of those numbers
with a beat you could pick up, watch it kick,
then set down and itd roll
all the way across the Pacific.
And I cant tell
if the road is a vacuum,
pulling me ahead,
or if its just the music
propelling me forward.
All I know is that I cant take credit for the motion,
Im along for the ride,
a passenger in my body,
a South African sangoma channeling
her all-knowing ancestor.
She speaks in an obtuse language of dreams
that I record only crudely
Sometimes my car
going too fast around a curve
is the only place I feel safe.
Windows up. Top down.
The sky winks its approval.
There is something Im supposed to see,
or maybe Ive just always felt this way
on the verge of discovery.
Drums seep into the creased leather seats
bound up the dashboard,
stream over the windshield,
and leave a humming trail of fading tail lights.
On those dark hill roads,
warm nights mean shooting stars.
Headlights bounce off the pavement,
a camera freezing creatures in flight.
But dont be fooled
Bats, moths, even wayward leaves play that game.
When the genuine article appears,
hot ink slipping across the blackness.
Sliced open, the sky never scars
but show me a meteor and Ill jump
and sometimes I make a sound
thats a little too loud, for me.
It can be heard even over the radio,
a beat I couldnt stop with a bulldozer
as I begin to sing,
how the absence of anything
can weigh so much.
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