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Leaving like slow rain


by Steven Pirani


I've been having this dream.


It's unstoppable,

that's all I ever know.

The dream will never say why exactly,

and I don't have enough presence to ask,

     as it often goes, in dreams.


All I know is that next,

I will appear in a parking lot,

sometimes, the dream will just start here,

and I'll have gotten the gist already.


It's a different car every time.

One time, a convertible,

one time, my dad's old Ford Explorer.

I leave.

I'm going across the US,

for a reason, but not one that I can remember.


All I can do,

is ride the yellow line,

my arm, getting thinner and thinner,

out the window, whipping like a rag.


In this dream,

I smoke cigarettes, which I don't do in real life,

and listen to classic rock, which I say I do, but really don't.

And I lose my sunglasses, even when they're on my face.


This sounds like a stress dream.

It's probably a stress dream.


Somewhere in monument valley

I start looking like an hourglass,

and I run out of holes in my belt.

Then, in Acadia,

I find a harmonica, inside a hat, tossed into a valley,

on which I learn no songs.


These things, I remember most.

My flashbulb memories,

for no reason at all, except that's what they are,

and you can't choose those kinds of things.


Soon,

everywhere starts to look a lot more like Kansas.

I've never been there before but I try and imagine:

Ten thousand acres of rolling grass, and Topeka, like a fog of metal.


I never get any closer to the border,

than 500 miles,

and the US, it keeps outstretching its arms,

forever and ever, like a sheet.


I drive two hours north from New Orleans,

I think they were having mardi gras, but I can't even remember.

I'm leaving to Canada, to Ohio, to Minnesota, but really to fuckall,

my speedometer, reading in hieroglyphs.


I used to dream about flying over the ocean in nothing but my shirt,

now I dream about driving through fucking Kentucky.


Eventually, I have to slow down:

My car suddenly has manual transmission

and I don't know how to drive it, in a dream or in real life.


Sitting there,

I think about the West Coast, for a minute

About the succulents in Monterey,

and all the things I did, that I know I did,

That I remember, but can't ever recall.


I'm on the crest of a hill.

It's dawn, or dusk, I can't tell,

I suppose it is a question of your location, really,

and there's an eel in the sky,

like the jet-stream turned silver.

Maybe an Aurora, and I'm back in Norway,

maybe just Sunrise Highway, in December.


And then I die, 

(Or something like it, I've never done it before),

In a parking lot by a diner,

In some bullshit town in Wisconsin.


Just me,

and my car, filling with water,

and the whole map, turning to pulp

and the windows rolling up, up, up.

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