Friday, February 18, 2011

POETRY: Blue Highway Blues by George Moore

Desert stations all boarded up
along a route once milk and honey,
now silence broken by rolling clouds
of dust, a landscape almost laughing
in a wheeze of wind. The highway
running out to the edge of nothing,
and then beyond, to some old idea

of heaven, fertile lands just over
the next rise. Black claw carved
in the sandstone cliffs, petroglyphs
overlaid with Spanish graffiti.
This is where the road begins
to decay, in a thread of desert
wilderness, forgetting its origin name.

People trickle in. CafĂ©’s cloudy
water stands in scratched plastic cups.
The girl behind the counter smiles.
Last man on the planet? Screen door
slams, then swings into a song.
It doesn’t matter much what you ride,
if you end up here you’ve come too far.

Gas? A hundred miles east she says.
The sign hangs on a single nail. Nobody
stays but those who can’t escape.
Ask for Jack, you won’t see it, old
highway 66 is all closed up. Road’s
a spur in the flank of the sun, she says,
Dust Bowl days are returning.

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