View From A Flying Jimmy

Listen: hounds loose their run trill reveille behind the lines
of white pine and cedar and elm that guard my seclusion.

I pretend I'm dreaming-then I am-waltzing with Jane
barefoot and ballgowned through a wood: music howls
somewhere beyond the gray, somewhere in the black.
So I oversleep and wonder when I wake why my feet are ice.

I fly to work down back roads that turn suddenly
into streets miles from my driveway graveled and
tucked between menacing rows of black-hulled pecans:
they bear on the third year and I keep their fallen ancestors
packed naked in blue tupperware tubs stacked in my freezer.

The cockpit of my jimmy is strewn with dead coffee cups.
Jack-in-the-boxes lay discarded and dying on the floorboards
-similar slaughters of necessity-ketchup clotted to their sides.
Last month's cable bill flaps under the visor like a battleflag.

Tobacco whips by on the left and on the right so fast
each leaf on every stalk stands out in surreal base-relief.
I taste the sharp and bitter tang of suckering plants:
it reminds me of my father's pall malls and politics and
the smell of money seeded from blood.

Barn swallows rise-in lazy tourbillions-from the fields
their beaks and bellies full of yellow and green hornworms.

I wing past Buck's BBQ Pit (You Can't Beat Our Meat)-past
Lucy's Do-Lounge where the girls serve more than shots
-past Big Jim's Quick Mart: the stoner kid who pumps gas
raises a hand in reflex. I don't wave back in sympathetic apathy.

Most mornings I stop to kill coffee cups but today I'm late.

Tenant houses rush by on either side, their concrete blocks
painted with Kudzu and mildew: I think of abattoirs and
oubliettes and other inevitable exits. Children and dogs and
cheap molded toys from the plastic plant over in Elroy dot
the tiny dirt yards-little boys and little girls stand in stagnant
ditches chunking rocks at death while their mamas are inside
fucking the mailman or watching General Hospital on TV.

I see slide show flashes of their faces and I hope I don't
have to come back out this way: scrape them up, heads
cracked open, futures frying on asphalt like so many eggs.

I pass the city limit sign-some of the holes are mine-ringed
in rust and canted to one side. Courthouse looms right,
county buildings lurch left and blocks ahead day meets night
where tracks split the city: segregation in iron ties old as time.

I pull into my lot-number six, section twelve-filled with cars
and trucks and bikes but I am the only flying jimmy.
Everything ticks: engine, watch, pulse-alpha papa charlie-
the people that mill outside my windshield tick with tension.

I want to turn the key, turn around, turn into my driveway
where squirrels sit stuffing my sweet meats in their jaws:
instead I clinch mine-name rank serial number-open the door
and step out.

Listen: animals sprung their cages snarl in angry unavoce
behind walls of brick and steel and glass that guard nothing.

1 comment:

Neil C. Leach, Jr. said...

NEIL here. Sounds like the Goldsboro hinterlands and the where you used to was. No dates on your posts so maybe this stuff is 10 years old. I'm in Mocksville now, technically. More properly out in the fine horse country 10 minutes from Mocksville. I live in a castle in a magic kingdom and feed horses over the fence with carrots and apples and make sure to get my fingers back. 7 cats on the inside. Hit me on the email & I'll fix you up with my cellie digits so we can plan some sorta guerilla ambuscade on a sleepy little open mic. Stir up some trouble. Or maybe not since I'm a grandfather now. Wow. See you in the funny papers, heartstarter. Just in case this comment box has a melt down & doesn't include my addy :