Journey Alongside a Minor Highway


People get swallowed

by sights and sounds,

unknowingly digested

by the world.


There are ways to escape,

to go higher, to be more

than indoctrinated particles,

to make the world

pronounce you with its lungs.


Your faith is wounded,

and you mistake the wound

for strength.


In a field of unbroken stems,

people scramble

to collect the falling facts;

with shoes plodding

over petals

and a trumpet-shaped corona,

and a smokestack voicing

the corrupted scream.


Tempting as it is,

to vanish like a prayer,

I remain here, for now,

in this Rust Belt town.


I am trudging beside

murky water,

spat up by a pipe

connected to waste

and ancient design;

it is now

a breeding ground

for blood-suckers.


A stranger lurks nearby,

I sense him behind me.

There is something

vaguely menacing about a whistle,

to even imagine

a grown man, walking along,

whistling out a tune,

I anticipate threat:

the joyous act

culturally undermined

by some cinematic sense

of foreboding.

But this stranger,

he keeps quiet

like the beautiful perennials.


Entering the neighborhood,

I likewise react

to the abrupt sound

of a sprinkler

like it’s a hissing snake.


The mind was always wild,

it was never anything else.

The mind isn’t pure order,

apart from nature;

the mind is part

of nature,

suspended in its own

murky water.


By the chance of gain,

or curious state of aggression,

we break boulders,

smashing pebbles

out of mass.

Mostly, we circumvent

obstacles or follow

beaten paths, abiding by

a map to find

that elusive destination

of true meaning:

some perpetual place

where no one lives for long.


It is strange also,

the way we feel a pull

toward other people, but this

way of thinking we sanitize

for our own health.


It is too mysterious

to wonder why

within mere seconds

of seeing a certain face,

the soul says,

“I am supposed to know you.”

And when a person

defies this,

there is always

some unrest.


And we are forced

to wander.