Burying The Needle In Massachusetts

Originally posted 2/21/2009.

twenty five, coked out, driving away from my life
with my skewed eyes stuck on the needle
buried at 120 on state road 140  — the snakepath
from the cape to the stubby hills north of Worcester

south of the basalt shadows of New Hampshire
that are full of whatever Lovecraft adored
I strand the Firebird on a leafmold bank
and get out

there’s a puritan darkness under the trees
that still hasn’t lifted
the inbred imp in charge of hating difference
still sits on the bones of the old farm walls

once you get past the liberal mask
and the self-congratulation inside 128
where the Cabots and the Lodges used to play at benevolence
this state’s as redneck as any media slander against the South

there’s a quote from 2 Jeremiah
hanging outside the house across from where I’ve landed
“…your own sword hath devoured your prophets,
like a destroying lion”

some lay ministry of warning
carved with a router into brown stained wood
just like all the
bed and breakfast signs around here

this state looks pretty as hell
in October from inside a minivan
or even from inside a muscle car
at 120 miles an hour

people come and gawk from buses
stay over, buy trinkets and maple sap
go back home to sigh and say
“we love New England in the fall”

but now it’s high summer
and all those not-yet-red leaves
are barely rustling under the moonless sky
shading God and his devil and ancient blood in the soil

where the colonists beheaded algonquin children
brown people still keep to themselves in fear
and when a boy grows up looking like he wants to break away
or maybe wants to deny how good and right the kingdom is

when he gets to a certain age they start to whisper
he’s gonna end up bad
he’s not gonna make it
often he falls from the prophecies

sometimes he gets older
and can’t escape the feeling that he’s lived too long
goes looking for the sword in the trees
offers himself to lions long after he should have settled down

calling out I’m your boy, simba
your snowfaced speeding bullet
stumbling into your face full of misery
give me your sharp tooth and set me free

not too far from where I’ve stalled
is redemption rock
the natives once gave a hostage back there
and got themselves killed for their trouble

who am I tonight?
hostage or hostage taker?
colonist or colonized?
prophecy or prophet?

I bleed at the very thought of me
I bet Lovecraft is thinking
of changing his name from beyond the grave
because I love him

I’m on the side of the road
the car’s idling rough
I kneel in the gravel on the pavement’s fringe
listen as hard as I can for the lion’s roar

bury a needle deep in these woods
and the local ghosts will use it to sew your shroud
you’ll join them in being
just another sword to wave at unbelievers

now I don’t wanna wreck this car
but if there was any light out here tonight
maybe I’d take the snakepath of least resistance
and plant it on a tree

but turning my head back toward where I started
reminds me that every vehicle has a steering wheel
the way out might be in no place you ever imagined
and what the hell — I’ve got a fast car

so I get back in and turn around
thought I saw a sign somewhere back there
for a highway going somewhere not here
somewhere not in massachusetts

I’m gonna bury that needle once again
send horror ravening back into its den
let the rpm scream and turn the high beams on
drive as fast as I can toward bright lights big city anywhere but here

I’ll be up for a while yet and
there’s always two directions
to any road so let’s pick one and ride
let’s see what this baby can do

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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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