Skip to main content

The Day Race

ISSUE:  Autumn 1991
The small race quite furious and sustained,
as love sometimes is,
the dull, half-crumpled cars flinging
the metal-shouldered flesh into the far turn.
We are high up, regal and furious,
delighted, spoiled by dust and division,
by the battering tumble beyond which,
beyond tin fences and gates and the brash bleachers,
the fields lie naked in the sun,
green and a fatty yellow
streaked with flashes of white flowers
called woolyheads. I am gripped and entranced,
like a boy drowning in Venice, trailing
the thick bronze hair of the woman
I love. Cars jostle and collide,
someone spins out rudely, crashes; sheets,
torn metal messages whirl upward
as the car comes to rest against the gapped white fence,
depleted, ruined,
the whipped driver staring into
the dull yellow fields. Who knows
the end of things
before it comes? Who can gauge
and guess the trivial masterpieces
we cling to like an old house
our mother died in years ago?
The roar is tremendous,
it stuns the steel pylons, tears waves
and unseen rudimentary monuments
like visions hovering and
humming near the elaborate clouds; river gulls
ride on it. Self knowledge
and the knowledge we earned
fumbling at the ripped edges of our lives
often seem not enough; skin tears,
the mind wavers and drifts,
races faster. I give love its due
and tremble, sometimes taking sides
against myself, sometimes entering,
as a man enters the dark hall of his own house,
the means of others. Now the cars,
fierce-faced like shamans,
appear at the turn four abreast
and for many this noisy rush and pursuit
is vital. They give their whole hearts
to it, almost helplessly
like children eating stolen pies.
I can see the slim form, the face
of the woman I love
whom I will take into my arms later
and hold against loss
or against nothing but the compulsion
to do this, making her way
with discrete courtesy through a crowd of strangers.
Soon the air will catch fire
and some of us will learn,
warming our hands at the side of a vehicle
carrying us into the new ranges
that were here all the time,
that we do better among others,
are this way not so strange to ourselves,
will learn that love takes place among the flesh
and the simple reasons
everyone understands. The race blares
and scatters; there are those who love speed,
who love the wild thunder of the cars
bearing down on us here; who love
the soft lunacy of silence that comes soon enough
out of the windy trees
and the end of things; who love the momentary hopes,
often unfounded, the possibility of peace
that drifts oddly and unsuspected
out of the bright flashings. Now we rise to our feet
alive, as we always were, at the heart of the world.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading