Richard Siken

Road Music


The eye stretches to the horizon and then must continue up.
                                                                                 Anything past the horizon
               is invisible, it can only be imagined. You want to see the future but
you only see the sky. Fluffy clouds.
                                                                   Look — white fluffy clouds.
                              Looking back is easy for a while and then looking back gets

murky. There is the road, and there is the story of where the road goes,
        and then more road,
the roar of the freeway, the roar of the city sheening across the city.
                                                                                           There should be a place.
At the rest stop, in the restaurant, the overpass, the water’s edge…




He was not dead yet, not exactly —
        parts of him were dead already, certainly other parts were still only waiting
for something to happen, something grand, but it isn’t
                                                                                               always about me,
he keeps saying, though he’s talking about the only heart he knows —
        He could build a city. Has a certain capacity. There’s a niche in his chest
where a heart would fit perfectly
               and he thinks if he could just maneuver one into place —
                                                                                               well then, game over.



You wonder what he’s thinking when he shivers like that.
                                                     What can you tell me, what could you possibly
tell me?
Sure, it’s good to feel things, and if it hurts, we’re doing it
        to ourselves, or so the saying goes, but there should be
                              a different music here. There should be just one safe place
                                                                                 in the world, I mean
this world. People get hurt here. People fall down and stay down and I don’t like
               the way the song goes.
                                You, the moon. You, the road. You, the little flowers
by the side of the road. You keep singing along to that song I hate. Stop singing.


Richard Siken
"Road Music" is from Crush (Yale University Press, 2005).