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Long Beach, CA

Escape from LA

Poetry Blog

Escape from LA

Brandon Cook

I made a home where the sun always shines
With freeways and palm trees and traffic signs
A home where you rest your wearied feet
Though you’ve walked not a mile, and stepped not a beat
But pedaled through madness, through crowds, and through heat
In gray lanes, in metros, and urban retreats
And neon, and smiles, and meet-cutes-and-greets

Through refrains of headaches, the seasons are concrete
And tulips and roses are burned out by heat
So asphalt’s the flavor that floats on the breeze
And car horns the sonnets that play through the trees
The song of the autumn is trucks in their straining
In merging lane-changings with no thank you waving
As they swagger and stomp with their impolite feet
And bleat down the freeway like overstuffed sheep

But now I’m bound for somewhere far
I feel the burning, I’ll answer the call
Of land where sea is rolling in green
Where summer is gentle and winter is mean
And we’ll forget interchanges and pages and frets
From smog alerts and the hundreds of texts
Beeping like peace-seeking missiles directed
At a man’s sense of quiet and silence and feeling
Without which a man can’t make rest with his being

We’re bound and we’re leaving, we’re going afar
We’ll search through the bogs, barbaric and wild,
That thaw when the springtime’s passion’s enthralled
We’ll find them, we’ll walk them, we’ll sit on their logs
We'll battle the brooding of mist and of fog
As the geese and the mallard honk on the breeze
As windstorm and headwinds sing through the trees
And the bog echoes back with the croak of its frogs  

We’ll ride to the north woods,
We’ll hunt for the birch
We’ll hike through the forest
We’ll wipe off the dirt
Where magpies and skylarks and puffins are perched
Where the November storms promise battle has come
And we’ll grip and we’ll feel the roll in the stern
When the aft tips downward and sails are a-fly
And the spray of the sea puts salt in your eye

Yes, we’ll sail to the lands where the flags are a-buckled
And windstorms and raindrops send curtains a-ruffle
And the wind in your hair sends your backbone a-tingle
With the promise behind it of storm and of winter
And we’ll laugh and we’ll relish the flight and the fear
And will earn every draught of the sun and the clear

We’ll know that out here a man will be drowned
And we’ll revel that mystery still can be found
Far from the mouse ears and freeways and sounds
And the asphalt that blankets and covers the ground

We’ll start a new baseline, with shadows and fears
We’ll learn to tremble at the roar of the tears
Of the vast-speckled autumn, melting the year
Till winter, so naked and barren and sparse,
Reminds us that life is a poem not a farce
Of sun and of surgery, highways and cars
But a battle for living that must leave its scars

We’ll respect the black ebony of December’s floorings
When winter at last has slipped from her moorings
And then as the snow casts its pall on the land
We’ll laugh and we’ll revel and grab at its hand
And go skipping down hillsides and dales and down glens
We’ll run through the meadow and skate oe’r the fens

And when winter has locked the land up in its grasp
And no man can stir, not a moose nor a mouse
We’ll curl by the fire and look through the glass
Where snowflakes are falling and coming down fast
We’ll look and we’ll know that preparing is past
That now is the time to batten the hatch
And that fire is friend and our strength and our life
We’ll laugh and we’ll rest in the joy and the strife

And all will be quiet and silent and holy
We’ll wake with the morn and go to sleep slowly
To hear every noise of the wood off its feet
Slumbering through cold, the snow and the sleet

And when springtime so dappled revives all the trees
And the birdsong returns on the meadows and lees
When summer comes golden, with wheat in its hands
No one will find us nor know where we stand
We’ve gone out a-roaming and roving the land