Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Love Poem: Marty McConnell!

Page of Rods: road song
Marty McConnell

the night owns nothing but the stars
and the asphalt, the moon
a radioactive eye making dim work

of the cloudline. the woman next to you
in the cab of the truck holding everything
you own knows more than three-quarters

of your stories. it will take half
the fourteen hour drive to finish
the job. that is a lie. the job

is never done, and there are stories
you hold between your thighs
like origami swans, red
and waiting. mostly

you speak from memory. the times
each of you were roofied. the drummer
who put you up and whose mother

made you spaghetti. the night in Austin
you broke into the hotel pool to skinnydip
after snatching the black-haired girl

off the sidewalk and away from her explosion
of a boyfriend, how you tricked the man
who trapped you in his hotel room

by getting him to order a pizza
and barricading yourself in the bathroom
until she came to find you. look at you
now. how did you survive each

devastating adventure? the mosh pit
that snapped her finger. the copyshop bathrooms
where you bathed. the leather couch infested

with chiggers. heatstroke and flat tires
and competing for audience
against the ska band in the next room

with poems, a guitar, and a flute. what
exquisite fools you were to drive
into the face of the night with pocket change

and a plastic bin full of bumper stickers
and t-shirts. what did you think the dark
would give you in exchange for your daring?
the moon? an old rock. the road, that pitted

dancefloor? the muscle for long-distance driving
takes eight years to atrophy. it’s 1:17
a.m., you’re three hours from Chicago,

from sleep, you alternate caffeine,
candy, nicotine, and the memories surface
like oil does in the movies, welling up

from the ground. the memories collapse into
each other like paper dolls, face
to simple face, the body gives up

its memories to the waking fever
of the night, one hand on the wheel,
one peeling back the face you’ve made
to get at the sweet fruit underneath.


Marty McConnell is the founder and director Chicago's Vox Ferus, a co-founder of New York City's louderARTS Project, an MFA grad from Sarah Lawrence College, a show producer, poem writer, poem performer, sometime slammer and native Chicagoan. She's been widely published and heavily YouTubed, performed in places ranging from the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival to HBO's Def Poetry Jam to a laundromat-slash-bar in Santa Cruz California. She probably likes you.

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