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Ode to Joy

Read by Alex Dimitrov

So many automobiles. It must be Friday night.
These are the golden eyes of catatonia of the valley.
Of. They are the lights of of. Their procession
is a thread of yellow ore
across one bridge, across another
confluence of rivers,
the ones that sometimes leave their beds
            and leave the shambled houses bare.
Well, even to belong in this congested state,
you have to spend a little bourbon on your nerves.
                        They keep their low-beams on.
            It's part of of, a subset of belong.

Switching gears, to Slaughterhouse Rd.
            or Garden Hwy., or up to the junction,
or out to the boat ramp at cottonwood Star Bend.
Everyone's a little wet in the vee tonight,
            they're all getting sticky on the bucket seats.
In their humid zones, there are humid smells.
                        They stopped for eats.
Will everyone be fed this good in heaven?
Hey there, cowboy. Here's your Whopper.
All roads lead first to Burger King it seems.
Or Hal's Grubstake, home of the dudeburger.
This is one of those dreams that cause sleep-eating
            in which, as we float across a tiny bridge,
our bodies, patty and bun, converge
and all we got to do is put the mustard on.
The condiments of of can't stop your heart.

Of intimacy that flourished here, an outlaw,
just as the outlaws themselves had flourished
            in the slapstick goldrush days, and men
who came from China without wives, and boys
who bundled together in the Okie jalopies, girls
finding their way together through the pass, and others
            leaving Mexico or Vietnam behind
could reinvent the space they occupied.

Of teens, as teens must do, eating the potato nuggets
of cupidity, scheming them onto that hunting road
of dirt, whereupon the greatest intimacy
                        of of and in and through occurs.
Of all the random shots one young man takes,
            of hit-and-run trade, the hidden features
of men with boogie-woogie on their minds. Their cups
of catsup and other dipping sauces creating little o's
of transparency in their suck-me-off jeans.
Of horrible missteps with fucked up chums.
                        Of low desire. Of powerful urges.
Of release by one's own adulterous hand.
Of and of and of the feeling.
Of somebody else should drive.

Push Push in the Bush is the title of a dance hit,
            but it's just as easily a country song.
Out there, in the dark, they have found each other
like lightning bugs, despite the pesticides, despite
the blights that hit a town's periphery and stay.
There is a luminescence of all things.
            Of all things, which are of a place.
The place where they begin. Therefore, belong.
D. A. Powell’s most recent collection is Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys. His previous collection Chronic (Graywolf, 2009) was chosen by Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and the Kansas City Star as one of the year’s best books.