V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




                    for Earl "Speedo" Carroll

   About what we'd expect —    lamp-posts / head-sets
cranked    — kids stepping time —
    flashing signs and flipping-off express-lanes    — reasons
to cruise / to celebrate    — Pittsburgh say
    / improvising ambiance    — and Syracuse    / like a poem
along the road.  Excuse the looks of that motel —
    the run-off / rustabouts    — the summers as loud as ours
or ours had seemed to be    — almost
    in rose road-time    / and almost
at home remembering.

    I listen old enough.  I think of the wings we'd spread
and wings we found a few words in
    / of the voices as these were    — autumns as crisp as bar-solos —
getting the feelings straight    — riding
    the bars of light between the dawn and morning thunder.
I'm getting the feelings straight    — 1959 —
    and Eddie Cochrane dead    — singing the house alive —
seeding a few chords then with our own
    tones and amusements.

    And all that a city dreamt from salt    — a city built
with steel    — with Black and Italian winds
    filling the rhythms played for keeps    — where
we were something once    — something
    like the songs and nothing less we told ourselves —
given the weekend under way —
    and this Friday's traffic calling up the bloodlines —
driving ahead toward gold —
    leaving behind the storm-light quickening the rear view —
and that one barn facing south —
    fenced like that for looks or snagging trash —
and driving Ohio after all —
    as old as grandpas were    — driving this old
and usual conversation
    with the music    — because there's love
in visiting    — love in the looks
    of kids familiar with the stints
/ sharing their notes on cops
    and one another's

© by Robert Lietz


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