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Real-Time Poetry Project: 'Echoes of the Ambulance'

The fabled, romantic road: Route 66 in Flagstaff
The fabled, romantic road: Route 66 in Flagstaff
Greg Wesson

We made this place up. You were used,
brought here to recite Faulkner,
to champion great beasts from the sea,
thwarting the diamond-hearted vistas
of America, sold, bought, traded ...
No, another scene: Closer, a yard
of broken concrete, cowards,
laughing, chasing some old lady,
down the road ... No, closer, closer!

You called the police car. You!
Now my nerves are jangled
and the ambulance is gone
and the TV news crew
never arrived like it does
in the movies and the
music is the reason
why I cannot live
without you.

Closer? Can't be. Just can't.
I mean, it's too close, too soon.
The curtains, full of holes,
like a planetarium at mid-day
of endless siestas: My god,
you stayed here with me?
You endured this tormented
corner of trains going in both
directions and audible
rattlesnakes ripping
through the night
and automobile drivers
who just don't get it
and never will?

Don't you see who I am?
I am a man who cannot
even think about leaving
because if I do, it will be
the end of music for me
and I will have to walk down
the cement straight without your
sweet warm palm
inside my hand and man,
that's just too close, woman.

You got no right, just no right
to shed such salty tears
on my brow as we hide,
trembling, behind walls
stained by forgotten
details, jagged angry
mad ghosts who once
made these roadside
spaces home.