Octopus' Garden

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Coasting down foothills into Laramie. My father's old gray Jeep: vinyled and squared, filigreed in lace cuffs of rust.

Rockies' chilled crust thrusts up hard, distorting the horizon.

Perspective all askew: Mountains much too large and much too blue, looming up much too close too fast. I am not a child, but I slide back and forth in the middle of the front bench seat, knees jogging the gear shift. The parents in the car are not my parents. Alco's cracked neon on the left closed down years ago. Lost effervescence of wind-bobbled balloons frantically bubbling in the no-longer-there car lot.

Clouds spill down off the mountains, twisting into dangerous, spiraling wraiths.

Are those tornadoes? I ask.

They flame in the too-loud wind like black dry ice, slivered with bright threads of lightning.

Is it war? I ask.

They dervish off the sagebrushed plains toward the road.

You have to stop. You have to pull over, I say. I'm not wearing a safety belt.

The sound of unfurling metal, burning, shattered glass, hot wind. Everything goes blank.

An eyelid blinks open to sunlight, emptiness, the heart-shaped white behinds of curious antelope retreating. Empty car, empty highway, everyone else gone. Mountains' bright prong ringing an empty town.

Radio's static crackle, then chipped advertisements, like faded billboards in the wind:

it's Joe Albertson's supermarket . . .

on a sesame seed bun . . .

you're in good hands with All State . . .
posted by Artichoke Heart at 9:54 AM


Lee, you're a word weaver. When I read your lines I want to read them aloud and feel the different shapes the words make in my mouth.
Blogger Michelle, at 4:23 AM  
Belatedly, thank you M.! And yes, I love, love, love the different shapes that words make in my mouth.
Blogger Artichoke Heart, at 6:13 PM  
What Michelle said.

Naturally I want to read this aloud: "Filagreed in lace cuffs of rust". But the imagery also makes me smile--all the more so because I have driven a jeep in such bad repair that I was scared it would simply crack in half.

I think one of the reasons I love reading what you write is that it somehow seems to encode in its ryhthms all the centuries of English for which we have evidence while being, for me anyway, completely fresh.
Blogger Owen Hansen, at 8:08 PM  
Thank you for the kind words, Owen!!
Blogger Artichoke Heart, at 8:21 PM  

Add a comment