Poetry: Selections from Scott Laudati
Thus Passes the Glory of the World
I’ve seen Kentucky through this windshield
three times since January.
In winter Nathan drives
and we’re still tired from the night in St. Louis.
In spring I drive and I remember a story about Whitman
heading our way before turning south.
In summer it’s Tohm’s turn and we stop in Wheeling
to see where the stagecoaches ran out of road,
before the bridge was built,
and now it has collapsed.
The grass is never blue but the river’s always brown.
I haven’t read a book written by a stranger in over a year.
Every time I get into a car there’s a destination.
It’s not like walking.
I always know where I’m going.
On Sunday we rob a grocery store and get out
with three burritos and a six pack.
Tohm is taking us fast through the Aleghenny Tunnel
and I use my lighter to open two beers.
Will we sleep better tonight?
Who lives inside these highway trailers?
There are red lights appearing before us like deer eyes
wide and lost under a setting sun.
I don’t say slow down.
We can sleep forever rubbed on this asphalt.
We can dream in sentences buried beneath it.
Behind The Belle Motel
I’m 35 taking a piss outside a purple house in Belle, Missouri.
This is our off day. I’m supposed to be asleep. Recovering.
But I could hear the couple behind the Belle Motel all morning.
I thought of myself as a person who would get involved
in a mess like this. Who’d save people. Who’d do the right thing.
But I’m not. I’m a person who says,
“If he takes one more step, I’ll do something.” Then he does
and I say, “All right, if he lifts his hands I’ll do something.”
Then he does and she’s lying in the dirt holding her jaw while
three little blonde kids cry and scream for their mother. I’m a person
who says, “Now someone else will defintely show up and stop this.”
But no one does. She gets up, tells her crying kids
to shut the fuck up, and they all go inside. To recover.
An American family who can’t afford to get divorced.
A success story in the margins of statistics.
It’s nine a.m. and I’m 35 and hungover. I pour my coffee
on the bush I just watered to kill the smell. Then I go inside
and fall into bed. Look under the pillows for bugs.
Punch my restless legs. Know from the start it is hopeless.
I’m never recovering. I’m always reducing. Faster as time bleeds on.
Scott Laudati lives in NYC with his goldfish, Trish. He is the author of Play The Devil (Bone Machine Inc.) and Baby, Bring Bak 1997 (Bottlecap Press). Visit him anywhere @ScottLaudati.