Sense of Purpose Filtering In and Out by the Minute

among other things
my smart phone tells
me I have played a song
called Red Eyes
373 times
and I who am no smart one
though I am sometime commended
for my many durable uses
am telling you those times
were for the most part endlessly
repeated speeding north out of Richmond
late after work / not yet dark
when the sky throws up colors
but you have to look away
to brake lights near the speed trap at Dumfries
you have to watch it / it
sneaks up
everything backs up for
a mile and the good
rage and doom-kiss circle
a sec until traffic thins out
and you bust loose through it like a tuna
looking two three moves forward
into the future
into great runs of pure open form
propelled by synth and metronome drum
surrounded by dark
no ness
landmarks arc past
faster into the mirror
the entirety of the contemplated world inside
out overhead like a sweatshirt
at Le Havre de Grace the murderer
museum’s useless obelisk / slashed fin
menaces the desolated beltway
commuters long gone
into their beds and names
primordial salt
pillars outside Baltimore
covert exurbs through plumes
of vapor vanish too into the past
the road itself siphons my cash
as I drive it all the way north
no stops
my mother’s brain in Overlook Hospital
(first floor, neuro ward)
dying on and off for months
they bang you for eight bucks
crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge
acid-corroded hulk surely
seconds from collapse
hit it every time in terror thinking
now's the time
its joints and pilings crack / shear off
and the whole thing goes down slow
like a boxer
and we are dumped into a toxic bay
and we are borne out to sea by manta rays
balanced on their wings
or yonder emerge transformed / protected
by the Laws of the State of New Jersey
place of my birth
where I go to get my strength
from its scenic decay and beaches
its night animals
crushed under the wheels of a semi
teen pill addicts / missing
remains dogs look for in marshes all night
keep me within arm's reach
you might need me
in my '01 Prism / sleek machine
with no shocks
as if I am riding the 335 miles
by skateboard / interpreted possibly by cops
as an object through space
88 mph
because at 90 it starts to break up
like a rocket on re-entry
wheel dash e-brake shuddering spastically
as if pained
but the guitar pick ticks steady
on the pick guard / sax goes bwaa
I got one million tons of momentum
three cartons Menthol Golds for Gina
Red Eyes on loop / Repeat One
through lunar industrial hellscape at Bayonne
feeling all alone out of control / real shot
at slamming into
the moon’s granular detail
88 up the Turnpike it’s the middle of the night
trying to reach the hospital
before falling asleep
slugging black acid coffee / fanatically
belting the words
or what sounds are the words

 

 

About the Poet, James Capozzi: I'm the author of Country Album (Parlor Press, 2012), which won the New Measure Poetry Prize. My work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, and The Iowa Review, and I've received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and James Michener Foundation. I live in New Jersey.