February 20, 2009



reaching out, grabbing hold
a handful of animated air
when yr rumbling along,
80 miles per hour
on a two-lane road, not some fucking interstate
& maybe you’re roaring through a pine forest
early in the morning
riding the black tar ribbon
burnt into a forest of pine
you’ve got a ’72 Impala with a bored-out 350 under you
you’ve got coffee in one of those cheap travel mugs
& the day is sideways . . .
and the sun through the pines
as you scream south
is a flicker film –
there is a horizon always in front
and toward it we run,

speed is its own justification
it’s the noise, man
that’s life

north lower Michigan pine forests
a flicker
the oaks & maples of southern Indiana
a crazy flashing
like state road 45
between Bloomington and Nashville
duck down on Tunnel Rd
to get to the levee across Lake Lemon
flowing like a rain choked river through the curves of 45
screaming across the lane-and-a-half road over the levee
at a minimum of 90 mph
the lights on the opposite shore flashing on the lake
death is never real
so life has to be

blow the speakers
blow the engine
at the end
never leave a car with its suspension intact


Anonymous said...

is this a recent version? i haven't actually compared this version to mine but it seems slightly different than i remember. alslo, i've been meaning to ask if this is one of your personal favorites? i've seen it quite a few places. just curious. hope all's well.

Bill Zink said...

This is a relatively recent version. I do like it in some respects, but I don't think it is one of the better things I have written. It keeps showing up because it keeps getting rewritten, and I end up liking it a little bit more every time I do.

I think of this as a fairly simple, straightforward poem that doesn't have much complexity & doesn't really function on many levels below the surface (a few, but not many). I would like to think there are some interesting resonances here, but it is more or less devoid of some of the formal concerns I address in other poems.

Come to think of it, most of the poetry I have posted here is of the same ilk. I will have to remedy that sometime soon. I'm plodding away at a longer poem now which is quite different from what's here. When I get some interesting fragments, I will post them. Of course, that could be months or even years down the road (it's part of the Action Figures project I've been writing at since I first showed you "Cold" & have been doing background on for over six years now).

Anonymous said...

it's a nice, (relatively) flat poem like you say. not a great deal of depth (although more than might appear at first read). these are often the toughest poems to write well because the margin for error is so small. easy to write but hard to be more than mediocre. kinda like a chet baker solo. it's a tribute to you as a poet that you keep working on it.

i'm in a poetry workshop this semester and have a handful of so-so poems. it seems i'm becoming ever more conventional in terms of form. but, that's probably a good thing. i think my stuff has a little more depth than usual as a result. or not. anyway, i'll try to send some stuff your way soon.

we should try to push each other a little harder to write more poetry. arguing politics, et al offers immediate gratification but i find that it leaves me feeling rather empty. sorta like watching tv. but writing a good poem is a genuine pleasure.

Bill Zink said...

Yeah, politics (especially American politics) is intellectual potato chips.

Someday I'm going to get the nerve to write sonnets. Enough to fill an intermediate size collection. That will probably happen when I'm in my sixties (not all that far away).

Hope things are going well -