Tag Archives: escape

Checkered Flag

Rodney Jones left this town while he could still buy the gas
Told the factory boys out on the state route they could kiss his ass
Didn’t know where he was going, but he was damn sure travelin’ fast
Figured out that stayin’ here, there’s no way he would last

Rodney had ambition, but not a lot of social grace
He could see the future clearly, but not the nose upon his face
Thought the only key to winning was just showin’ for the race
Never thought of consequences, never thought of second place.

All he ever wanted was a straight road and the fuel
All he ever recognized was overheat and cool
All he ever studied was the way to break the rules
Rodney Jones, he never played the fool.

Rodney hit the circuit in his homemade muscle car
Talked his way onto the track by starting in the bar
Didn’t know which road he’d taken, but he knew he’d traveled far
Figured it was gonna happen, he was gonna be a star.

Rodney lost a tire on the second straightaway
Lost control for the first time, and saw the wall give way
Says he don’t remember much, but his eyes they seem to say
“Don’t tell anyone I couldn’t handle it that day.”

All he ever wanted was a waving checkered flag
All he ever recognized was pressure and the drag
All he ever studied was the polish and the rag
Rodney Jones thought it was in the bag.

Rodney Jones came home today in a big motorcade
Everybody’s talking about him, and the splash he made
Never knew the dice were loaded, or the game it was he played
Now he’s lying ‘neath a yellow flag and marble, in the shade.

All he ever wanted was an engine and the tools
All he ever recognized was gamblers and the mules
All he ever studied was the gauges and the fuel
Rodney Jones, he never played the fool.

Summer 1998

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in the undertown around the middle
earthen jars the senseless struggle:
i shall be released from this
before the current pulls me

undertown, around the rooting rockets way
before the dawn of timing, when
our cultured throats scream out so that
the horse-drawn whispers drawl
their quiet haunting innuendos.

in the undertown beside the river
runs the hiding seeking slumber:
i shall be awakened from this
just before the nightmare finds me

undertown, beneath the covered bridges burnt
before the gods of ego’s altar, when
our cultured pearls slide out so that
the tenderloin potential plays
its game of spattered caulking.

in the undertown below the wasteland
roving scarlet head supporters speak:
i shall not believe in this
until the dream has drowned its dead in

undertown, before subtle shaded sadness swells
its mottled cracking smile, and then
our cultured throats slide slow so that
the sword-clamped teeth can grasp
their severed thoughts’ aboutness.


for Memphis

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Somewhere Along the County Line

Let’s take a detour off the interstate —
The roads are straight and intersect endless rows
of soybeans, seed corn and winter wheat.

Besides, if we get lost,
and spend our evening the only lights on this road
perhaps we’ll learn something important
(or at least we’ll think so in the morning)
about our selves, about our past
about a night sky we never get to see
from an apartment in the city.

Let’s take a slight pause,
which we have been taught to call a caesure

What we have translated from Latin
to describe the natural order of things
could fill more volumes, more rows of books
that would reach from here to the moon.

Besides, if we take the time,
someone else may mind these crops:
the shopping malls, the parking lots,
the cement and steel that surround us,
unfeeling and ever-present
stealing from us our pioneer spirit
by concealing the night sky
from our apartment window in the city.

Let’s take a detour from our books and things,
and venture out into a world we don’t experience —
unless reading bucolic poetry
from limited editions that cost more
than you’d like to recall.

Besides, the roses are not the only things
we have forgotten, their scent lost
in a carbon-monoxide haze that fills our lungs.
There is new-mown hay, clover and straw,
and there are flowers and wild plants
that we have only seen described
in pristine, crisply covered field guides.

Let’s take a slight detour off the interstate —
the roads are straight and intersect endless rows
of clover, soybeans, seed corn and winter wheat.

Besides, if we get lost,
we might learn something.

10 AUG 1991

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