American Road Song

In the industrial tracts
Where they make methamphetamine in soda jugs
And truckers drink in tight lipped bars,
They have left the jaundice in the skin
And only the tattoos speak of leaving.

Here church comes from the radio
And small town girls earn purple hearts
In the shadows beneath an orange tungsten sky
Dealing approximate love
In a cab over Jimmy or a White,
Calling you Cleveland.

Here morning clanks on like a leaky air gun
When your brain won’t get out of reverse.

Here when roll out to make your mark on the stars
And the Dakotas unfold behind you,
The dotted line rumble strip that leads to your grave
Will growl beneath your wheels.

And if by chance you nod off to glory
At the end of a ninety hour deadhead run
That barely pays for your gas and meals,
You can finally meet St Peter.
In his worn thin Pendleton plaid.
With a twang as rank as a brahma bull
And eyes alive as bull trout
He will ask you only
If you dug a hole in the meadow
Or a hole in the cold cold ground.

4 responses to “American Road Song

  1. Wonderful sound, relentless rhythm and tropes piling up on the nerves like miles of road….impossible to pick a favorite among images, though St. Peter in his worn thin Pendleton plaid sticks in the mind…


  2. Melissa Shaw-Smith

    I think I’ve looked out a train window and watched this scene play out on the backside of some industrial town. My vote’s for the line about the small town girls and the orange tungsten sky–fabulous!


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