Monday, September 30, 2013

Now that it's October:

Here comes the summer...finally some poems I wrote from our cross country trip--I caught up with the family in Minnesota after they'd been on the road for a week, and then to South Dakota to visit our dear friends Rob and Jeanne Schwarz, who work on the Standing Rock Reservation (Rob as a priest, Jeanne as...everything...).  You will note that the South Dakota poem comes with reference and photographic evidence of target practice, though it's hard to call it "practice" when I've never shot a gun before and am not eager to do so again. Kids were heroic, husband drove our hopelessly out-of-its-league-with-trailer Subaru wagon brilliantly. There was about 90 minutes in Montana when I drove it and I am not proud of the outcome so I'll leave it at that.

Some numbers:

Over 10,000 miles driven
Visited 8 National Parks, (or 7?) 
Purchased  8 new tires (five for the car, two plus a spare for the tent trailer), one clutch, one back windshield
One song on constant repeat: This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie (thanks, 3 1/2 year old A.)
And one best quote: “Your’uns problem is y’uns ain’t from here” (Gary W., Hot Springs, NC, charitably observing that the choices that lead to the lost trailer in the woods were "misguided" rather than "[expletive deleted] stupid."). 

Washington State

July 22: Washington State.
(10:30 pm)

Having now
crossed this country,
Massachusetts to Washington,
exchanged sea for desert and back again.

Today we fell apart.
Two hours became six,
all of us wanting 
to fall asleep in the backseat,
to be awoken
when it was all over,
prying sticky fingers from our seatbelts
washing our hands before falling
into bed.

really, when?
When does memory become nostalgia?
When is the relief
that a child fastens her own shoes
replaced with longing
for the time everything
could be
so easily repaired 
with an absently offered breast.

When does that happen, when—
when does it become
that sweet-sour ache
bittersweet familiarity of how
it will never be again.


July 17, 2013: Montana, Route 90

Checotah, OK

August 4: Checotah, OK.

again too close to the highway.
It’s loud.
Grasshoppers as big as my thumb compete with
semi trucks in the near distance.

This darkness, this humid night carrying
sound and the past across miles, years.

Route 611,
Eastern Pennsylvania.
Four years old at the stove, my
Grandmother's vague wheeze, her antique curling iron in
the flame of the stove.

"I tell you, that child looks
just like Shirley Temple!"

Enjoy the fuss for a while
run for the hills,
The flat rock where the garter snakes hid,
salamanders and toads.

Fall asleep in these sounds,
at the mercy of another
night, another
time, another
passing by.

 Photo July 11: Wall Drug, Wall, SD

Santa Fe

August 2: Santa Fe

Santa Fe, Flat Tire
Drive north, the Bobcat on your left.
No, south. 
Find the blinking light and continue a mile.
Race against the sunset.

None of these.
Do nothing. 
Wait at the side of the road.
Watch for lightning in the distance,
throw sugary snacks to the back seat, grateful for
patience, forgiveness,
someone on the way.
 July 22, 2013: Wallace, ID

August 1, 2013: Santa Fe



Breadth of this land,
Would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it.
From one coast to the center
From fog enveloping everything
to red cliffs swallowing us all to
sandstone glinting
Mesa to prairie.

One land, 
not mine, not yours.
Its own,
enduring even our ambivalence,
even our small fears,
even this, to
enfold us again,
to keep

Photo 7/31/13 Old Route 64, Arizona