From the book Red Pontiac Convertible by John Gorman:
“The dream was leaving…”
of that town I’d lived in
a fenced field of smashed cars,
a shack to sell their parts.
The screen of a drive-in movie
one huge tombstone by daylight,
mingy, post-War houses scattered
built from kits and already crumbling
ditches and weeds
too much space around everything
a thin life
You’d die driving into it thinking
Now I’ll have to live here.
Leaving, years later, you’d barely look back
but you’d shudder
knowing that just because you’d been here
something that blossomed
in everyone else
would wither in you.
The dream was leaving
the dream was amnesia
then absolute re-creation a shimmering self
willed solid and potent and deft
from the brilliant void of this horror
So why do the clover flowers
and goldenrod make
around the crumpled grille
of a ’38 Buick?
Why do the bottles
of off-brand strawberry and lemon-lime pop
gleam, in the stale depths of off-water,
among angel shapes of melting, bacterial ice
in the zinc cooler
at the wooden bread store
as if they were Jungian Truths?
Why do I believe it all over again
when the drive-in lights up
in the late summer dusk
full of popcorn and sleazy magic?
Marco Polo, apparently,
wanted to get out of Venice.
Why am I back in Aurora, Illinois
in the heat of this poem?
Dr. John Gorman lives in Galveston, TX and teaches literature and creative writing at UH-Clear Lake. His poems, gathered in three chapbooks, have appeared individually in dozens of Texas publications with more nationally and in Canada. Dr. Gorman remains in demand as a poet and speaker at venues across the region including performances at the Grand Opera House in Galveston, TX and at Discovery Green in downtown Houston as part of the Public Poetry Series.
Dr. Gorman has also been a featured poet at several FPL Poetry Series programs.
More poems by John Gorman: