Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The shortest distance between two points is always under construction.

Poem: "Autobiography of the Cab Driver Who Picked Me Up at a Phoenix Hotel to Catch a Four A.M. Flight and Began to Speak in (Almost) Rhyming Couplets" by Rebecca McClanahan, from Deep Light: New and Selected Poems, 1987–2007. © Iris Press, 2007.

I got two problems.
I never see the sun
and two, if I did,

I couldn't take it, never could.

Now, my sister? Out one day
and brown the next. That's the way
my father was. We never
took vacations but he used to steer
on Sundays with one arm
out the window. Get dark as a black man.
Something in his blood, I guess.
Once I bought me a mess
of tanning cream, but something

kept me from using it.

He's been dead a whole

year. They say there's not a soul

on the streets this hour,

but the souls are just now rousing.

Yes Ma'am, when I see daylight I slide

into my coffin and close the lid.

Cooler that way. They say if you can survive

a summer in this heat, you're a native.

My brother's child? She claims to be one,

but I tell her she's got Made in Japan

stamped all over her keister.

Hey lady, you still on Eastern

time? You can have it. Yesterday

the TV reporter in Cincinnati

was three feet in snow. I phoned

my old drinking buddy back home

to rub it in. Lied and said I was out

today without a shirt. Barefoot.

He said you can keep those hundred

degrees. I said you don't have to shovel

a heat wave. Young lady, you okay?

Looks like you're fading. The longest day

I ever lived was the night

I left for Vietnam. What a sight,

would you look at that? Damn

jackhammers at three a.m.

They sure like to play in the dirt here.

Yes Ma'am. It's the same everywhere.

The shortest distance between

two points is always under construction.

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