Making a turn on View


This is a slightly reworked version of a poem I posted a few years ago. The reason for the repost is that recently I’ve reconnected—through that curious cultural app—to several friends that inhabited, with me, those forever young years, those cloudy quixotic years, those life-moulding (moulding?) years, those immortal years.


Making a turn on View

                – for K. S.

We found the Chevy Apache perched on a concrete guard rail.
A discovery, like we were coming at it with pick-axes,
a climb to a rich vein, if the reports were true,
with no stake to claim except the bonanza
to go on living.

We had slid backwards in a river of sparks,
a final solution of iron on rock,
until the hand of friction
forgave us our weight and impulsion,
front wheels gasping, rear wheels gripping air,
on scale, not a pardon, a stay of execution.

The Greyhound bus had crossed a line—so it was said.
It was raining, the highway was slick.
We swerved to miss—saw stone
cliffs and dark sky, cliffs and dark, dark on dark,
a drunken-go-round—then
a crow-bar thrown into the cogs.

On the rail the world rose silent.
Below the passenger door, Golden, BC,
small, tucked in and asleep.
Abe, beneath a wet blanket in the back of the truck,
sat up.

We huddled on the highway, shoulders up
against the dawn, keeping lit a shared cigarette.
Baron said, “I coulda killed you all,”
and we waited—hoping for police.

But we did not tell them of the tank of gas, stolen
from the Shell on the Shaganappi.
Or how the evening began without a plan,
in a slumping house by a hospital.
How there had been music, and tales of perfection elsewhere.
We did not say how fevered memories paint
pacific suns over beer joints,
or how kitchen table imagination does not equal experience,
and deliver its flagrancy to the lap of Lotus Land.

One called back, three went on—backs
against cinder-block—wordless, waiting
for the Apache’s verdict, while the rod and staff
of a noonday sun anointed the glacial air,
and we slept as though beloved.

Days later on Douglas, making a turn on View,
a tie-rod end dropped the infinite distance from shackle to asphalt,
leaving the truck free to stray.
The day fell off like a scab.
I laced up my shoes and hitched to the ferry.

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