Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Laurel Snyder reads her poem from day 19

video

The Greatest Public Works Program

You’re passing
some shitty little
town lost along
the drear interstate.

In a dim afternoon
downpour—
with no gas, no
phone, no family.

Windows open
because the car.
Because the fogged
windshield hates you.

Wet and watching
your map lift suddenly
from the dash, whip
through a slick window,

away, away, away,
sodden, useless, gone
forever in the gray
been left behind—

And that’s the moment
you face the road,
the constellation of
ahoy and already,

see the map waiting
beneath your tires.
That’s when a swell, a rising,
the promise of there.

That’s when you know
ahead will be else, other,
at least not here. Maybe
even dry, with coffee.

That’s when, driving
on fumes, tired
past gone, you notice
the sky pink up.

The rain lifts, clouds
scatter, and you suddenly
remember—Hope
has no rearview,

can’t live in memory.
Hope wakes starving
in the storm,
to off and hunt.


Laurel Snyder (Atlanta, GA) is the author of The Myth of the Simple Machines (No Tell Books), Daphne & Jim: a choose-your-own-adventure-biography-in-verse (Burnside Review Press) and a bunch of books for children. But mostly, she’s a mom.

Originally posted on February 7, 2009

Click here for the MP3 of this poem.

7 comments:

  1. i love it! "the promise of there." now that's good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Hope wakes starving / in the storm"!

    Love that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish this had been the inauguration poem. I guess the implicit comparison of Bush to a shitty road trip would have been a little much for them to handle (also you gotta be in the Ivy League, apparently).

    I just love "Windows open/because the car." What a perfect *place* for that odd syntax. Such a great way to convey the inarticulate frustration: "because the car." Full stop. That's the way I felt about Bush: "News off / because the president."

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  4. Thanks, Laurel, so good for life period, not just administration.

    The rain lifts, clouds
    scatter, and you suddenly
    remember—Hope
    has no rearview,

    can’t live in memory.
    Hope wakes starving
    in the storm,
    to off and hunt.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That was rather depressing. I knew as soon as I started reading it, that the author must be from the south (or at least live there now). I just drove across the country. I'm from big cities and I was amazed at how many people do live in shitty little towns.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like the part - Hope has no rearview and Hope wakes starving in the storm. These are words that really make you think about hope and how we live in a world with lots of hopes.

    ReplyDelete
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