Saturday, May 15, 2010

James Brush - Two Poems

I-10 Eastbound

chasing a centerline
yellow and fast
it splits through our dreams
but holds us together
feedback of a punk rock soundtrack
noise and tears

two slackers in that redneck gas station
we were invisible without our cowboy hats

eighty? ninety?
outrunning even thought
darkness settles all around
artificial green cheese moonlit skies
above the ugly refineries
seventy miles past houston
middle of nowhere
cold air
heavy winds
guitar feedback on the radio
then a dying country station
and the whispers of a song

(that first time I wore tie dye)
this road never ends
(now I wear a suit and tie)
it always leads to that same funeral home
(always tears in all these eyes)
in the bayous of east texas

i listen to your stories
i try to catch your tears
i can't

keep driving
centerline divides the highway
that makes us one

Miles (Never Once Imagined)

And we drove for miles.
And we watched those miles
drift away beyond the clouds.

We saw the miles quicken in the purpling sky
above the mountains, rising like beasts
from the steam coming off the engine
outside Albuquerque, again near Palm Springs.

Roofless, without doors, we raced away
from Vegas with just eighteen dollars,
leftover pizza, and half a cup of quarters
jingling in the empty back seat.

So we only stayed three hours in L.A.
In the desert that night, surrounded by the
hiss of a cooling engine we both finally saw
the miles to the stars.

Humbled and freezing in the imagined terror
of that Mojave midnight, I never considered
the miles still to come nor the people with whom
I would travel them.

Just then,
just there,
everything was right.

We had mountains to climb
and never once imagined
we would change our minds.

And we drove for miles.

James Brush lives in Austin, TX with his wife, cat and two rescued greyhounds. He teaches English in a juvenile correctional facility. His poems have appeared most recently at Four and Twenty, qarrtsiluni and on scraps of paper around his house. He published his first novel, A Place Without a Postcard, in 2003. He can be found online at Coyote Mercury (

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