Tuesday, July 1, 2014

poem of the day 07.01.14

seeing the karl hendricks trio, april 1996

it had to happen for me in west virginia
some joy, some thing
man, i had been down on love 
so many girls and so little time for them to want me

but i soon realized that barry had no clear clue where he was taking us

we took i-279 south a bit
then we drove aimlessly through western pennsylvania

two hours later we were on the outskirts of west virginia and ohio

barry jerked the car into the parking lot of a star america grocery store
he began frantically searching the front seat

what’re you doing, man? i asked.

oh, i think i might have a map in here somewhere, barry said
in that casual, happy way he had back then

we never found the map
we were lost in our own neck of the woods

we ended up down a seedy stretch of road in wellsburg
where i had all of these kid memories bum rushing me
from the year my family spent doing time in that dirt town

i thought about all of the fights that my folks had
the divorce talk, the other bullshit

my mood was getting as black
as the night sky

barry was getting more and more nervous and angry
at each wrong turn we took

for me, we couldn’t leave fast enough

then the rains came 
they were light at first and easy to navigate
but after a few moments it poured hard and unmanageable 

barry pulled into an exxon station and let the car idle 
we sat there listening to the pellets of rain smack off the hood of the car
not really saying a word

maybe we should build an ark, barry said

i pointed through my smeared window
to the warm glow of the exxon shop

i’m going in there , i said
if the next set of directions are shit then i say we bag this
we'll catch the trio sometime back in pittsburgh

but it had to happen for me in west virginia

the directions that i got were on the mark. 
we made bethany college in almost no time after that
even the rains had stopped for us
barry sailed the car through the blackened west virginia night
like a pro 

when we reached the college
the auditorium was already packed with kids
listening to the karl hendricks trio
it was as if karl had lifted his scene from pittsburgh
and transplanted it into the midst of a secluded west virginia college

he had them so enraptured
in the grip of madness and joy

breathless and soaked to the bone
i took it all in 

that thing

and i let those proustian nightmares
just slip away


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