Thursday, November 01, 2012

Sonnet sequence V, VI

V. The Red Knight

The mountain at the next bend's cockaded
with a white plume, a red knight's panache.
Uneasy horses by the road taste ash
on their tongues. We drive a smoke-blockaded
road. Laid like a lash across naked hills,
scarlet flames, cat-o-nine-tail streaks
lick hungrily toward new-made firebreaks
meant to save a town. Orange-dyed water spills
from hovering helicopters, steel dragonflies
on mercy flight. Their blades buzzsaw the air,
echoing ground crews' chainsaws. Orange glare
picks glints of steel from sweating firemen's eyes.
From the depths we cry unto you, O Lord:
lay on our shoulders lightly this burning sword.

VI. Novak's Hungarian Restaurant: Albany

Long drives, unsated hunger: strange effects
occur. Highway hypnosis that caffeine
can't cure, heat mirages that the road reflects,
windshield a fisheye lens. Freeway cuisine:
a road rolls like rugelach, telescopes,
cuts through landscape like a knife, through cream-
filled canyons between flaky-crusted slopes.
Buttes turn to bear claws in low-blood-sugar dreams.
Get off the highway; you're a moving hazard!
Blue signs announce NEXT EXIT: GAS and FOOD
and LODGING. Sleep might be another good
idea, before you end up plastered
across a semi's front end: Roadkill. Carrion.
There's a good restaurant here: Hungarian.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

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