stop

by Michael David Madonick

it’s hard to keep a rhythm with the wind in your face birds tacking like loose newspaper clouds a kind of wind sock the fluttering street signs no sense of caution somewhere there’s an ocean pushing at the ground and the ground trying not to give satellites decaying orbit stars fixed in daylight fish in the hard current down from the dam and no way to rest except in the small slow eddies behind rock but even there place is defined by what it isn’t the not moving motel six day’s inn marriott holiday inn against the hard currency of the interstate the rapids one cannot pay for such repose the vibrating bed the hot movies for rent the conspicuous hopeful knocks at the door that sadly want only to clean and even then you can’t sit still time for a bath a shower some wanted attention to the self a breath that is so deep it scares you beyond exhaustion into the bronze tinted mirror that flattens and flatters you twenty years or so suggests infinity or the circus booth you’re living in and you want to lift the hammer speed the metal shot up the rail ring the damn bell become a hero because weariness is endemic to travel and the crowd is asking for hope and still you’re not out of it tired enough to go to sleep hit the starchy pillows the plastic comforter ignore the gymnastics of your neighbors their out of church calls to god hell nobody can be this weary this dry in the mouth wordlessness until you find yourself reading the telephone directory looking for family restaurants buffets sushi joints in the middle of Kansas where even Toto wouldn’t want to go home or writing a critique of the dead buffalo painting screwed to the wall it’s then you remember you’re a fish in a stream and on the speckled ceiling a glinting of mayflies or whatever the hatch is in June and you leap for it out of the water into the disgusting air the other side of apathy you reflex hit in the direction of light