XXIII

tuckerverb, [tuhk-er]

  1. to weary; tire; exhaust (often followed by out): The game tuckered him out.

plum tuckered and homesick and moonstruck. lately i’ve been listening to a lot of arcade fire and traditional chinese erhu music. oh, and andrew combs, again. (don’t ask).

anyhow. here’s a rough poem i whipped up. i can’t believe november’s nearly over. like a glimpse of a blackbird flitting through the evening sky. something that leaves you kind of speechless.


The 1999 Honda Odyssey

I want to remember this like radio jazz:
you, shucking your slippers off and planting your neck
in the headrest, feet against the windshield,
eyes crinkled, static crinkling.

Putty clouds stretch across the sky like the gum
between your teeth. The valley tunnels away
and the car whooshes, nothing but wind, Art Tatum,
our thoughts gnawing
under the sunroof,
tropical twist flavor.

The radio churns out a story of a man who couldn’t hide
the Golden Gate Bridge from his wife.
Knuckles white on the steering wheel, waves crashing in ears,
white noise white noise
and then a man crying,
trying to pull the sky over his eyes.

The signal fizzes out and I remember to pump gas.
Triple digit heat, dingy little food mart, thick sweat.
We pop sodas and watch the sky brew.
It’s odd. Like looking through a telescope and finding your breath
hitched on a corner of light,
a pendulum heaving the ends of your heart,
from car jams to greasy pants to cold burgers at Arby’s.

The sun is dying.
So it goes.

Three hundred and sixty-four miles north,
you pull out the map and circle our home in bright red ink.
Wouldn’t it be nice, you say, if we could tuck dreams into our pockets?
You try with the map, half after half, each fold thicker
until the paper suffocates. I laugh as you shove it toward my face,
as you try to gift me what I forget.

Are we there yet? Almost. Tell me something. Well,
to feel real is like a knife to the neck,
pressed cold against a throbbing vein.
The shadows on the windows
are trying to pronounce the word gentle.
We’re fading into the highway like meteor streaks,
headlights blazing, bad jokes chucked
into the ancient land.
Three hundred and sixty-five days will pass
like all the potholed roads we’ve seen,
and you’ll remember to bring a pillow
in case you fall asleep against the glass,
and we’ll drive somewhere new
in this lovely heat
among desert myths and fumbling hands and sweeping roads
and bloom all over again.