November 24, 2015
The Stop and Go
O dazed pilgrims, lonely and high in the wide aisles
of white fluorescence! O peace of three a.m in a town
that says its prayers. O stained glass of shining bags!
O bored pilgrims restless of your brown couch!
Here the ladies of perpetual yes are wrapped in cellophane.
Here whiskey pints are lined up like metal milk bottles at the state fair.
Here are the flavored condoms and rolling papers.
Here are the barbecued pork rinds fresh from Gomorrah.
Here the liquid cheese stays hot while the wrinkled hot dogs
ride the wire Ferris wheel. O change for a dollar!
O Galaga machine with your row upon row of patterned doom!
Spend, pilgrims, spend! Paradise won’t be so cheap again.
Around their home base, sullen, shut down,
My thoughts wait like livery cars,
Engines ticking, the squawk box leaking noise
Into the starless Brooklyn night:
Need a car,
Where are you,
The important questions without end.
In answer: movement, the compass spinning
And from the mirror swinging, the mystical cross.
The voice says go and we go,
Car, thought, me through brownstone Brooklyn
Or we climb that beautiful lady of geometry,
Almost flying, Oscar Peterson on the stereo,
the boats underneath cutting the reflections of skyscrapers,
All to descend into drunken Manhattan,
Where the glittery minutes fall
Into the terrible glory hole of boredom.
Sometimes we take people home in the rain,
Women with one long strand of hair stuck to their cheek
Gripping their wet shopping bags
Smiling at the joke of it, the change in fortune
Just by stepping into a car.
Sometimes to the purple lobby of the opera house
In the once a year finery of another self
And it’s other tongue singing the lovers apart.
Sometimes the stunned meander to deathbeds or the hurry to secret beds.
Sometimes just to walk under a lit window and remember.
Sometimes home from the dentist
Holding our pain by the biblical jawbone.
Sometimes, lucky, lucky car,
We travel to the airport with only a back pack.
Sometimes we ferry the impossible.
Sometimes it is just me sunk deep in the fake leather,
Bereft of metaphor, feeling the glide
When the expressway loosens
And the car frame leans over the back wheels,
The front lifting slightly until the hood ornament,
Like a sight, aims an instant above
The pocked face of the unblinking moon.
Jason Primm pursues modest goals in a coastal city. When he isn’t writing, he can be found sharpening his slice backhand. His work has most recently appeared in here/there poetry, The Maynard, Heron Tree, burntdistrict and The Southern Humanities Review.
What motivates him to create:
“This question almost gave me a nervous breakdown. Writing or not writing has always had a certain amount of anxiety attached to it. If I’m not writing, I have a feeling that I’ve forgotten to do something. Maybe I left the house unlocked or the oven on and I’m on a train heading out of town. When I do have a poem going or even if I’ve recently written one, the anxiety is temporarily gone, but it is replaced with a manic concentration. Even when the poem is finished, I keep reading it. So I guess, the answer to the question is that I feel compelled. Seems like I should have a more positive, striking the flint of the universe kind of answer, but I don’t.”