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The Beltway

ISSUE:  Spring 1995
To hypostatize the moody hodgepodge of auto-
Reverie requires another pedal—
The turbo overhead one-ton metaphysic.
Mindfully I hammer that sucker while
A tan Bonneville zips by and the woman at
The wheel wears a deepset smile as if she
Just got sincerely laid or was thinking
About her favorite flower—peonies delirious
With petals—or remembering something calmly
Serious one of her children said, something provoked

By life’s quivering uncertainty that only a child
Could say. The exaggerated respect that the Romantics
Paid to children wasn’t totally misplaced.
Anyone knows that adults are too hectic
For both their real and hypothetical good.

I like to think that someday I’ll sit down with
These whizzing people and ask each one
About where we come from and where we are going.
At the moment I turn on a radio talk show where
Some guy is in a fever about the Bullets’ lack
Of a point guard who can dish and penetrate.
The Bullets! What about the sweethearts, the rainbows,
The jump apostles, the babycakes?

If automobiles are cocoons then each time
We step out we are bright as a new butterfly
Greeting the huge, shifting air and the hum
Of the ambient ten thousand things. It’s at
That first moment or so of the feet on the ground—
The inverse of the insect’s initial flutter—
That I want to grip and keep with me all
The time because it’s then that I recall the earth
And my legs and I feel so transparently solid,
So animate because I can stand and walk.


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