I Have Driven from the Forest and the Mountains

Photo by Jose Padua
I have driven from the forest
and the mountains through
snow, wind, and rain and
various times of day, in heat
and in cold, during love and
during hatred, with money
and without, in uncertainty
and during those rare moments
of overconfidence which somehow
I’ve never learned to regret,
to all these American cities.
Like a man released from prison,
I am grateful for the opportunity
though I have never been in an
actual prison and I spend so little
of my time being grateful.
All the planets whisper songs
or curses to me and for me
in these blank places until
I put down my books and
lift my eyes like a madman.
If I have imagined you to be
a form of insanity, America,
do not be offended because
I do not claim sanity for myself.
I have never tried to embrace
what for me isn’t worth embracing,
so don’t bother asking me my name
or telling me you like the way
I pull things apart and put them back
together with the glue of my brain.
America, I am more fucked up
than you will ever be and I am
really fucked up. America, big hair
on movie stars, blind rats, muddy
possums, and incandescent plastic
surgeons on vacation in the Hamptons.
You have taken away the meaning,
you have taken away the connections
as I move like spilled liquid from
city to city on these endless nights
of dancing.

-Jose Padua

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