A Highway in Montana (Ode to Ginsberg's "A Supermarket in California")
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Allen Ginsberg, back and forth
I have contemplated the same thought but am stuck in neutral on the road
in broad daylight.
In my desperation, and coping with conversion, I loosened my menial
appendage, seeking out your aura!
What faces and what indeterminate! Blinding headlights beaming in
the middle of the day! Lanes full of minivans! Backseat drivers riding
shotgun! – and you, Walt Whitman, what were you doing in the
I saw you, Allen Ginsberg, a modern man for the modern age, marching
to your own beat along the median between cute and provocative.
I heard you honking your horn: Who taught you how to drive?
Passing on the left! Where’s the exit?!
I swerved in and out of talented motorists chasing you,
and chased in my imagination by the highway patrolman.
We cruised past the crumbling mountainsides separately in one vehicle
smelling skunk, sensing every change in weather, and never passing
Where are we going, Allen Ginsberg? The sun has already set.
Which way doesn’t your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey on the road
and feel confused.)
Will we drive all night past desolate towns? The lights create illusions of life, no music on the radio, we’ll both sing along.
Will we chauffeur that man on the side of the road to the words
on his sign, a destination two hours out of the way?
Oh, dear brother, blackbeard, jolly old revolutionary, is America
the same gray land you stepped foot on with your adolescent flesh while
burrs dug into the ground beneath you and you stood watching the trees evaporate
into thin air?