Thursday, January 6, 2011


True night having finally arrived and settled in
for this leg of our long cross-country haul;
all cold, black infinitudes and Lovecraftian
expanses of time, the headlights of the truck
barely illuminating the road ahead,
no signs of civilization anywhere and I'd swear
the wind has been alternately whispering
and roaring its bleak sermon for days now.

And somehow I'm still working on
the same foot-long truck stop sub,
still nursing on the same twenty-some-odd-ounce
cup of cold truck stop mud (funny how
with the right amount of faux-dairy creamer stuff
it tastes faintly of burnt popcorn).

But at least that low-hanging cloud cover
has finally rolled on and the stars have all come out
and there's a guy on the radio now going on and on
about the various health benefits that come from
consuming coral calcium deposits ("marine grade,"
by the way) which apparently include (but are,
by no means, limited to) curing any and all forms of cancer,
living to a hundred and twenty years of age and,
most amazingly, the ability to grow a new brain.

And on that last, ringing note (and vivid mental image)
we seem to have arrived at "one of those moments, "
where, who knows, maybe the planets and the stars
are aligned just right; one of those moments
when it's perfectly appropriate and all right
to ask of the night, the stars, the spirits of your ancestors
or whoever may be sitting next to you 'what's it all about?'
As in the big 'it.' The very 'it' from which all rivers
and roads issue forth and eventually, inevitably return to
and within which all the myriad archetypes
and things are contained and are each,
in their own way, ultimately about (aren't they?).

And it feels, somehow, like we started out
on this trip weeks ago, months even,
the whole thing a grainy late, late show
starring some second-rate Hope and Crosby,
Laurel and Hardy, Mutt and Jeff,
Kerouac and Cassidy, but, probably more like
the 21st Century American answer to
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; a couple of
luckless chuckle-heads suddenly thrown
by wild circumstance on to the road
with little more than the clothes on their backs
and the coins in their pockets,
more than just a little bit out of their depth
and out of step with the various machinations
at work around them.

But, now it's starting to feel
like maybe the wind is finally settling down
(for a little while, anyway)
and the stars are burning even brighter
all around us in the cold night sky,
yes, like fireflies,
like Christmas lights.

And there, to our right,
by the side of the road, a giant cross
comes looming, more than a little ominously, into view,
a hundred feet tall (at least) and all stage-lit
to properly announce the Judeo-Christian
All-Father's wrathful return to earth.

And now some British-sounding news-guy
on some other (shall we say more "standardized"
and "accountable") radio program is reporting
"live, from around the world (Greenwich Mean Time),"
recapping a few of the day's major headlines-

"Astronomers say they've found
a miniature version of our own solar system
only five thousand light years away,"

"In Israel, a woman believed to be
the world's oldest person celebrated
her one hundred and twentieth
birthday, today,"

"and for the first time in living memory
snowflakes are falling
on Baghdad."

Hey, man,

did he just say


-Jason Ryberg, 2011