When you’re chasing brightness / You lose concern with the damage done
– Home Away From Here / Touché Amoré
I think we forgot that last bit about damage, omitted
Any allusion to darkness to keep
From tainting our idea of what it meant to run
Toward something promised to be rapture.
How many times have we loaded my car
With cross-country schemes
Of dive bars glowing like the gates of heaven?
We’ve dubbed paradise a place without
A barricade, with purple lights as the shadow
Of sound. Made it to Chicago on pennies,
To Philly on secrets and ambition,
To New York on the comedown from
My mother’s suicide attempt.
We’ve always made it home, most times
With new bruises in place of the old ones,
Soreness in our bones we shouldn’t know
Until we’re gray. How a thing ages us
And keeps us young at once,
Always falling from strangers’ shoulders
In a temporal basement.
What’s the view like
From the passenger seat?
Can you count all the dead
Deer on Michigan highways,
Make out state lines by the amount
Of potholes left unfilled,
Read all the billboards until the ads
Run together and become scripture?
I see two things: the future and you.
And both are so bright.
–– I could love you
A little bit more if there were witches
Leaning out of all the windows –– if
Each of eighty bridges ended
In the next, and the next, and the
Guardians could lift their arms higher than recollection
Of the river’s flames.
Your grit is lore –– steel backbones. Iron growths
On the soles of feet. Oil refined
To a hallowed point––decades and a few
If I aged you with lake monsters and every painted cross
Maybe the white picket fences would stop blooming.
The power cuts out and the children come out
Into the streets–––their pet shadows
And certainty in defining home not
As a place they will lose
To artisans. If the roofs could stay right side up
––if we could cut holes in our sheets and haunt the whole damn town.
Photo by Wes Hicks.