If I took you on a train ride across the country,
Could you gaze out the window along side me
At the mountains and hills and towns and trees,
The marvelous countryside we are bound to pass,
Would you hum a pleasant tune and touch my hand,
While we thumb through our books and magazines,
Could you cross your legs comfortably at the knee,
Leisurely drinking juice from a moist glass,
In those adjoining seats in our too cozy cabin,
Could we make love in those cramped quarters,
Chuckling and struggling, our bodies pressed tight,
Would you think about old Hollywood films,
About “White Christmas” and those many musicals,
The ones that romanticize this kind of travel,
Would you think about the traveling hopefuls,
The ones on the first transcontinental railroad,
They weren’t my ancestors, my Italian goat herders,
And they weren’t yours either as far as I know,
But their spirit and the pamphlets on their struggle,
Could nostalgia make you feel warm and comfortable,
Would the travelling be enough of a destination,
Enough of an escape from your incessant sorrow?
Or would you just squirm around and complain
That the dining car didn’t have any vegan options?
The only thing that comes close to comforting me
Is the knowledge that most of my favorite people have died.
But the space between the teeth brushing
And the alarm sometimes makes my head throb.
When I think about it I imagine blackness,
Then I try to think about an absence of that.
I think about the word “absence” and then,
Also the word “nothing” over and over.
I think about them in various combinations
Until my brain starts to throb against its shell.
My eyeballs swell and my eyelids stop closing
And my skin begins to vibrate and shiver.
The desk and the sweaters and the shoe pairs,
The pens and the books rush away from me.
They rush away from me in a gust of air,
Not from the window but from the inside of me.
My bloated windy throbbing head is the source,
It puffs and pushes everything away from me.
When I’m able to wiggle my arms again
And knock my knees together I can see things.
The objects are back in my bedroom but
They are misplaced a bit, off kilter, astray.
I say, “think something else, something else”
But what else is there to think about?