“Guns Next Exit”
says the roadside sign
Highway 99
we’re driving north
through San Joaquin Valley
radio scan
gifts Fleetwood Mac
“All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”
and the
Beastie Boys
I turn them up loud
“No Sleep Til Brooklyn”
Jeb: “Mom, you’re acting too much like a boy”

mini vans
and red sports cars
travel the straightaway
the smell of cow poop
from adjacent farm land
gets in the car
even with all the windows up

At Denny’s
our server Brenda
keeps bringing free hot chocolate refills
whipped cream included
Jeb: “She is sooo nice!”

We click along
continue on
as hawks watch from telephone lines
Jeb naps
and I’m with Pimsleur
learning to say
I don’t speak Czech very well
“Nemluvím česky moc dobře”

We idle through
Los Banos
pass Starbucks
I never knew this town
had a Henry Miller Plaza

the Bohemian calls to tell me
he’s in my house
stealing popcorn
climbing ladders
and fixing my smoke detector
he’s planted radicchio in
“your garden”
I say
“our garden”
he slept one night in my bed
he laughs and says
“my bed”
tells me
the garlic shoots
are eight inches long
“you’ll be home in 11 days”
he knows the number
that I hadn’t counted yet

This morning on the hardwood floor
of my sister’s Santa Cruz house
I sit by the wood stove at 4:45am
these California posts to the Archives
are scattered and unfocused
I’m in new houses
with different mugs and power outlets

I lean on the words of John Lennon
and hope these snapshots
however grammatically incorrect
or loosely wandered
are slightly redeemed
with a hint of something real
I’m displaced and curious
just reporting details

Rock and roll was real, everything else was unreal. And the thing about rock and roll, good rock and roll, whatever good means, is that it’s real, and realism gets through to you despite yourself. You recognize something in it which is true, like all true art. Whatever art is, readers, ok? If it’s real, it’s simple usually, and if it’s simple, it’s true, something like that. Rock and roll got through to you, finally.
~ John Lennon,  Lennon Remembers

4 thoughts on “Road Trip December 2011

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