Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Road Trip, Valdosta to New Haven (New York City)

Was a distant voice
Made me make a choice
That I had to get the fuck out of this town
I got a lot of things to do
A lot of places to go
I've got a lot of good things coming my way
And I'm afraid to say that you're not one of them.

-- "Box Elder," Pavement

I had to head north for a conference, for some peace on a long drive, distance from and distance to heartbreak and a night at the home of the best poet writing today in America along the way. Wine (thanks Uncle Gene) and a fine dinner with Bob and Eve and much laughter, a few honest tears. Tears, because, honestly, no matter how much you do, it's not enough if you care, whether Blacksburg or Fresno or Valdosta, anyplace where people can't stop what's in their heads.

The road is a sweet hum otherwise, a veer and a slope, movement and purpose even in a dubious rented Aveo, but it had a CD player and I drove and listened and drove and made good time through all the states 75, 85, 77, 81, 78, 287, and 95 touch. I went the back way up and down, felt the mountains behind me, drank bad coffee and gripped the cold steel of the pump at gas stations, thanked all the fine people who sold me water and m&ms and who let me pee in the employee restrooms. I made it to New Haven in good time on day two, had Pizza from famous Pepe's with my beautiful daughter and James, her beau, and then headed into the city for AWP, which will be another entry. This is about the road and the way the mountains fur with trees in winter, about every white line saying I miss you all the way, north and south, Tim's voice singing it whisper soft, SM explaining why the hard way through Georgia rain and construction zones and Shenandoah Valley and where New Jersey is pretty, trochaic tire thump miss yous, slow miss yous in the wind and the miss miss of wipers whipping only the rain off the glass, and it's ok, this hard work, this forty hours of missing you. Coming home, south, it was all I could do to keep myself from hitting 87 North, north and north to where you are, but I couldn't do that because I wanted to too much. Too much.


owl said...


Queen Whackamole said...

Lovely and ouch...
Must be Valentine season...

George said...

You've nailed the charm of the highway strip even if one of the poles of your magnetic field is missing.

John Guzlowski said...

Marty, I'm sorry I didn't go along.

You would have made the road a poem.