i pack up onto the highway
with twelve twelve-packs of red bull,
ten thousand cases of beer,
and a carton of sweet menthol cigarettes
with the windows down when it’s too cold for that
and i’ve got velvet underground on the manic stereo
i’ve got animal blood in the pit of my stomach
as i am a pair of headlights lost into the moonlight sonata

i have returned to the soul of the american night
to the reckless music of momentary satisfaction
this hedonistic nihilist nightmare where i binge
mooneyed and dizzy and dancing on couches
until i die too early and then i starve

and i starve until i create something of substance from the hunger
some gift shop souvenir for you to hang from your rear-view mirror
just a little something for you to always remember me by

and i foreplay the curves of the hills before i enter the mouth of the mountains
i press through time a desert at night where fear is red and blue headlights
on the side of the highway, the corneal white light reflex of a gazelle
captured by a ravenous gunned hunter, i hunter s. through the thompson
i subsonic hollow point through the chamber of the long rifle highway
the distant gleam of casinos west and the soul of the ghost of jim morrison,
dead indians and bad deals, God buried hell in the chest of the western night
and left us above the surface to chase fever dreams like white rabbits

and this is the way that i choose to die
rocked to eternal sleep in the arthritic hands of lady liberty
laid to rest in the pages of her bible

past the ambien fog of the xanax mother mountains
my foot sinks into the pedal, the pedal sinks into the car sinks in
sinks into the pacific coast highway sinking into the pacific ocean
and i am so very california pulsing like waves crashing like tide
dying at the wall at the end of the world

and east
so far east is your love
in a king-sized bed where we fall asleep to the american news
where we fall asleep beneath the stars of aurora
beneath asphalt shingles and a promise to repeat history

but i am caught
drawn out to blue pasture by this cowboy heart
away from you
but reborn to this siege of an idea that does not exist

only to be born and die over and again
in the red railways that run through western men
begging through trainsmoke strewn from their cancerous mouths
begging always for derailment


Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

5 thoughts on “AMERICAN REBIRTH”

  1. Thanks for the follow. This is the first thing I read on your blog. It’s fantastic! My father was a truck driver, and toward the end of his career was long haul. When I graduated from college at age 45, I treated myself to a two week road trip heading west (I am definitely his daughter). Didn’t make it past Montana, but that was the destination to begin with. All that to say, your poem sang to me on so many levels. Really like the tone, the wonderful imagery, the constant movement and westerly direction even with a heart still pointed east. My poetry blog may be found here:

    I will be back.

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