Saturday, May 2, 2009

t.m.w.e. #2 - the i-five

This is another twenty-minute writing exercise from The Poet's Companion. The assignment asks the aspiring poet to write about a trip taken often, contemplating a major question asked at the beginning or toward the end of the poem. I should observe road signs, mentioning at least two, that are symbolic, and list--at some point--physical things.

the i-five

is a highway, the one i take
to make my way home
from my home away
from home, where i contemplate
all the mistakes i’ve made, this is
the highway i take
to clear my mind, though
it doesn’t work
that way, along the desert innards
of a lush state, the lane,
a snake dissecting California,
my brain, already cleaved, i drive
into my hemispherectomy, my car
is a blade i’ve smashed once before, it
incises the insides of my mind
of state, where i’ve made
most mistakes, the same
road signs over again, tiring
like a familiar song,
traveling northbound, horizon,
leftward, ocean, to the left,
westward, i am tired
when i drive this, take this stretch,
the notochord to which i am
an impulse inside of an impulse,
passing thru Buttonwillow, my last
chance to stop for miles, rest
stop not for a while, Coalinga in
a hundred miles or so, where i cried,
at the Denny’s there,
begging not to be left
for a mistake made, the drive
is an arid apology, it is dust
swept into the air by my tires
i inhale, the salt of jerky
stays in my mouth, washed down
with sports and energy
drinks, motor oil stays in my nose
and that dirt in my chest, i may
fall asleep and crash on this drive,
though i am heading home alive
like the freeway
with animate cars,
bodies in them with brains
in the bodies, from space, outer-
space, mistaken
for ants in a single-file
line the shape of the i-5 snaking
up. is this drive the rock,
hardly round, that i labor
to roll northerly, only to let it
pass through my bloody palms
toward the southern dip again?
i see the dots in no order
perforating the clearness
of the black tar over me.


  1. this is depressing.
    you should write mom a poem for mother's day.
    do you do open mic, Robert?

  2. This poem is begging to be open-mic-ed.
    Even more engaging than the scrabs one, and I rarely drive :)

  3. i've been thinking of going to an open mic...i'm rusty.