Thursday, September 23, 1993



Dear Jim,
Wending our way cross-country with laptops, sleeping bags,
evening dresses, broken hearts, hiking boots, Celia & I
managed to find the North Rim in the dark without a map.
Woke to your cowboy coffee, colon-blo, boiled french roast
that threatened to make off with the pot at Jacob Lake
which we never did find. Lake was a man, not a body of water.
Soon as we crossed the Utah border, Lord, how we suffered
from Mormon exposure, twisting our vowels (not bowels).
She insisted the sign at Dry Beaver Creek read
“Keep poets on leash/ or face fine.” We haven’t written a thing,
but could use a two-bit shower & a shave.

Dear Sharon,
We drive along the Virgin River, the towns of Virgin,
and Laverkin by the Cowboy Buttes in Beaver County—
& wonder, what was on those Mormon’s minds.
Celia calls me Mo-reen, says we’re in ’Merika now
but is confused by my speaking in tongues:
the ungulates crossing the road are cantaloupes. 
Oh give me a home…
Can you spell dicks-lexia, bulls and girls?
We’re born again, baptized in the Virgin River
(don’t know as to whether or not it actually took),
I say she baptized us in the wrong place: the difference
between dyslexia and dailysex is merely a perceptual matter.
Where does the the random mind stop and the prairie begin?

Dear Bruce,
Crossing the Sandia Mountains
I kain’t believe how much “Jesus saves” ’round here—
Or how on our 1993 White Trash Tour,
which officially began at the Cadillac Ranch
(a line of caddies planted nose first—car henge)
in Amarillo, Texas, folks take three syllables
(or all day, whatever comes first) to say fish and truck.
The trucks here are God’s personal rollin’ billboards
& the overpasses tell us poor watermelons to believe. 
God is dog; evil is live. Shone’s is one-up from Stuckey’s.
We’ve been on the road too long; Denny’s is beginning to seem like home.
We’re road worriers sinnin’ in the heart of the cholesterol belt,
getting good mileage on bad vowels and day-old puns.

Dear God,
El Reno, the epicenter of radio revival land is a shakin’ & a rollin’
but the cockroaches in the motel bathroom don’t seem very saved.
However, I do believe they will inherit the earth, by and bye.
Blanketed by kudzu vines, black-eyed susans suffer death by bed tax.
We’re humid beans descending into the syntax of the vegetable kingdom.
Like true love, and the blues, maps are abstract unless you’ve been there.
You’d like Hot Springs, home of Bill Clinton haircuts & the Sin Tax.
I bet the Mormons took to that idea. Say, God, who's your best friend?
Lightning storm—we pilgrims cross Old Muddy, enter Memphis,
& truly we have let Tennessee into our hearts, for at the gates
of Graceland, the chosen have come to testify the miracles.
St. Elvis is still King, and anything is possible—this poem, or even love.

9/23/93  Graceland

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