Stationary

Originally posted 8/4/2012.

Truckstop, airport, train station,
port;  remember when those
were the easy way out,
and no one ever watched you leaving?

Remember sticking a thumb out on the highway?
The all-American way to travel,
the “we’ve all been there” shrug 
that came with the open car door.

When I move, you move…just like that.
When I move, you move…just like that.

We used to travel without a lot of thought.
We used to travel without a lot of anything.
Tell yourself we used to trust one another.
Tell yourself it was a communal experience.

Try to forget how that beloved “We”
belongs to
a flag-wrapped dreamtime,
American walkabout,
a legend woven into myths 
of a collective self.  

When I move, you move…just like that.
When I move, you move. Just like that.

Everyone’s so damn stationary now.
So many stories are inflammatory now — 

no one picks up hitchers, ever.
No one buys a ticket last minute
and gets on a plane without running
a gauntlet.  No one rides a train.
We fear the buses will smother us
in other people’s germs.

Everyone thinks the ship will sink.

We don’t move at all
without a screen to tell us exactly where we’re going
though we only go where everyone else is going.
We don’t move at all
without a plan for what to do

when we get to where we’re going
though the choices about what to do
are barely enough to keep us going.

When I move, you move…just like that.

Tell yourself that in the way back days
cops 
gently patted every traveler down

exactly the same soft way.
Tell yourself that in the way back days
they’d let all the folks
go easily on their way.

Tell yourself the bullets peeping from the cylinders
of those old police revolvers
were only there for show.

Hell yeah, hey DJ…bring that back.

Keep lying.
Say you’re no more than knee deep in fear
whenever you step out of your home.
Keep praying.
Those aren’t ghosts
whistling by you on those roads.
Keep pretending.
Insist it has to go back
to the way back days
that never were

and soon enough you won’t move
without looking for someone who moves first,
someone to follow backwards
down that ludicrous path.

When I move, you move. Just like that.
When I move, you move. Just like that.
When you move, I move.
Just like
that.

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About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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