for Aaron Kiely.
There’s a long tradition of writing in cars and driving in cars.
Whitman at 30 whipped out a bolshy little number late spring
while parked behind the wheel of a standard barber. It starts:
“Loafe oft oh grazing menial patron, come close
yet don’t go gross.” Moments later Eliot sang “Ash Wednesday”
in a tenor’s ear, bumbling through Walt’s field in a Ford Gestalt.
I am now more than 2/10ths through this poem.
Goofy, but even Dickinson drove,
in her room, in a plastic bus, yelling
“Don’t come up!” to the man rattling a schedule on the landing.
“Gas has damned this Amherst,” she once beeped.
Later, Plath was gluing Hughes on the backbench
Of a Chevy Rainstorm when he got the idea for
“Hawk’s Yontif” and jumped into the front bucket,
sending her, ass over tooth-problem, down, boom, to the baseball diamond
of her Wellesley birth.
She calls up Sexton, says, “How much is a bike over at Orff’s these days?”
Burroughs then painted a golden novelist
on the side of a Dodge Courtroom and shot it.
He didn’t get arrested but had to motor young adventists
to the sea-sharer every weekend and that’s when he got arrested.
G. Corso. A giant. A driver. He pushed a
Mazda Klonopin down Brattle without wearing a theme-park. Okay?
Antler had his ears on for a wired rig when he
was hauling big leg irons. Even Pinsky’s had his
little finger in a gear, setting little votes on fire beneath the dash.
And me I’m sitting here in our Honda Coroner, moving
the wheel with one hand, sitting in the passengers seat, parked,
maybe a little late for your party, looking at my house,
trying to recall my phone number.