Friday, March 25, 2011

Walt Whitman Prepares to Drive His Family South for Spring Break

Out of the driveway endlessly driving,
Out of the garage, the annual trek!

To the beach we drive! To sands democratic!
To palm tree,
To Waffle House.
To humidity and sand
And that musty, slightly cockroachy smell.

Of the slightly cockroachy smell, I sing!
Of the smell of motel rooms not properly ventilated,
Of rooms where someone has recently smoked!
Or recently done god knows what.

And the smell of too much chlorine, I sing this as well.
The smell of swimming pools, the smell of headaches.
You smell it, too, do you not, fellow citizen?
Ay, for it has seeped up the elevator shaft of the motel,
And it has crept down the hallway
And it has passed unchallenged down the hallway,
where the ice machine snores like a sentry dozing.
And now the smell has entered our room.
It loafs. It invites itself.
It is in our clothes
Ay, even in our underwear.
Do you smell it, too, fellow citizen?
Or am I just nuts?

Of the Interstate I sing!
Black unspooling river.
Of lanes closed and lanes clogged,
And of Mack trucks looming ominously in rear-view mirrors.
I see you, Mack truck driver, and I say we are as one,
Pilots of our fates alike, captains of the road.
Strong of arm and clear of vision,
Though you are more buzzed on Red Bull than I.

I sing of drive-through fast food and the need for a rest stop.
I sing too of the lack of rest stops when we most badly need one.
O! Rest stop 27 miles ahead, your array of white urinals awaits me,
Like a platoon of porcelain troopers at attention,
(Each one made in Kensosha, Wisconsin.)
But, fuck, I don’t know if I can wait that long!

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then. I contradict myself.
You’d contradict yourself, too, if you were as stressed out as I’ve been lately.

I sing of being stuck in the slow lane,
Stuck behind a slow-moving Presbyterian church van.
See! How even now on my left the Lexus does pass me.
See how I am passed by the Element and Vibe.
See the Escalade, see the Volvo laden with camp gear and two bikes strapped to its tailgate rack.
And the kid in the back seat giving me the finger, as he too passes me.

O! kid in the backseat giving me the finger, where are you going at such high rate of speed?
Bound across rivers, surging and masculine.
Bound across fields, fertile and prone.
Are you going to Hilton Head or Biloxi or Sarasota?
Wherever you go,
I hope it rains there all week.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 07, 2011

    (Each one made in Kensosha, Wisconsin.)

    Sorry its Kohler, Wisconsin