July kindles the redneck in me.
I blaze down Interstates
that are viaducts for my beery nerves
and remember what hell these roads
are paved with...
If I don't keep moving,
I could end up divorced, or flat-out broke.
I could end up up-the-creek without a paddle.
I could end up dead and gone and good for nothing.
In the old days,
I was one of the local vandals,
setting fires, tossing cats down perfectly
good well-heads, exploding princely toads.
It was hot and weird,
and Jane and I'd just graduated;
we liked the sound of sirens.
The cops, good old grits, looked the other way.
"Mess up what you can, boy," they'd say
with a wink, "while you can, boy."
Not that there was anything illegal, exactly;
the peace was always kept.
On the main road out of town,
though, battle lines were clearly drawn.
Every night, headlights forced starlight
to bubble up from the tar while in the daytime,
sunshine grew out of crossed mica-slivers.
Violence lulled me.
I had my big wreck and comeuppance that way.
Oh, how I'd wanted to take her out.
It was a scalding Fourth, and we got drunk.
My heart was an oiled engine, racing.
For once, the charm on the rearview failed.
My eyes were bewildered.
All I remember is the taillights
of her father's pickup
before I blew him clear the hell out of sight.
The good old days are over,
and peace is history;
and that's why I left home.
and that's why I have no home.
Used by permission.
From Union (Eyewear Publishing, 2013)
Photo by Gesi Schilling
Don Share is the editor of Poetry magazine. His most recent books are Wishbone (Black Sparrow), Union (Eyewear Publishing), and Bunting's Persia (Flood Editions); he has also edited a critical edition of Bunting's poems for Faber. His translations of Miguel Hernández, awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize, were recently republished in a revised and expanded edition by New York Review Books. His other books include Seneca in English (Penguin Classics), Squandermania (Salt Modern Poets), and The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of POETRY Magazine (University of Chicago Press), co-edited with Christian Wiman.
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