Further observations of Oklahoma:
The landscape, geography, topography smoothing out, like two ends of a coil pulled farther and farther apart. Slowly. Mile after mile. The hills longer. Gentler. Not so sharp and jagged, but worn like an old, old saw blade.
Hay baled in bales, each rolled up like a single piece of taffy and placed musically throughout their fields, like the pits in the plates of an antique music box, ticking little teeth to play a silent score. The score of the tractor and the farmer, the flycatcher and kingbird, of the changing seasons, and, once, of the sweat and toil that is still practiced in small pockets, remote areas of the world where the people still rely on milk from their cows to survive the winter, and the hay that they grow sustains them in their mountain villages. It is a music that often isn’t heard, and one need no musical instruments to play it, nor a knowledge of theory or scales to understand it. It is the rhythm of a life lived simply, and it is felt in the blood and in the skin.
The ancient windmill erect and lonely in a field of wheat, it’s blades twisted and broken, no longer spinning freely, exuberantly in the rushing wind, but dangling from its axis like the shadow of a Calder mobile—sad, and delicate, and beautiful—or like Nanantatee’s “poor broken crutch of an arm” in H. Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.
The butterflies, just the size of a quarter, in chalky shades of yellow, blue and brown,
that dance across the highway, some singly, others in pairs—a duet in four dimensions, turning round and round and round each other, swooping up and down in elegant dress, like some Japanese in his-and-hers best kimonos celebrating the new day like it is a new year.
The little beetles with their glinting, hard carapaces that shine like plate armor, skittering across the road, legs moving like a pianists’s fingers playing a prestissimo.
The traffic on the interstate, which parallels route 66, and seems to sail by in the distance like ships on an horizon.
Clouds at the end of the day which look as if they were applied to the sky with a palette knife—a steely, grey-blue smeared onto an aged, slightly yellowed canvas.
Fields of wheat, golden-blonde and pea-green shimmering under the afternoon sun, every stalk leaning in unison with the wind, beautiful like a head of hair, like the Greek gods, like cracked and ancient pottery, like archaeological sites going on and on seemingly forever like the Euphrates and Tigris rivers through Mesopotamia when giants still strode the land.
A sign advertising astronaut Thomas P. Stafford as from Weatherford, OK,
And another sign advertising Garth Brooks as from Yukon.
Iron Tree Coffee in El Reno, OK. Not sure I feel like writing. Not sure why I should bother. Nearly 3:30. I feel pressed for time. So often I feel pressed for time.
Small town. Slow town. Quiet town. The coffee here could be better (can’t it always? (most times)), but it’s better than many places, and well appreciated regardless of any complaints I might make. Two high school kids and a middle-schooler come in and don’t order anything. And that’s okay. That’s the type of place it is. That’s the type of town this is. There’s an acoustic singer/songwriter playing over the speakers, and the song is stirring me in melancholy. No one else in this vastness, this cavernous space with its beautiful, coppery, tin ceiling some twelve feet overhead, and bare brickwalls, but for myself, the bored barista, and these three kids. It all lends to the atmosphere of loneliness, and this sad bastard with his guitar and his dismal lyrics echoing through the room…
I ate lunch at a marvelous, little diner called Sid’s: est. 1990. Just a tiny, red building on the corner of Rt. 66 and Choctaw. Charming older lady, probably in her 70’s took my order and showed me pictures on her phone of a festival that occurred in town the past weekend when they cooked an 800 pound hamburger….
The place is famous for its grilled onion burger, so I had to order it. And a 1/4 order of fries, which was plenty large enough. And a tasty milkshake. Everything was delicious, and seated at the low, bar in such friendly, comfortable, snug surroundings I was put into quite the mood of joviality. Maps on the wall behind, stuck in a hundred places, at least, with pushpins of the many visitors’ origins. Freedom Fries, and Freedom Toast on the menu were a humorous, though sad, because I doubt not ironic, touch. It seemed a happy place. Now I’m in this cafe listening to this morose, sad-bastard music, the ennui thick in the air, filling the space. The internet was nice to use. I think I’m going to go now. I have forty more miles to do.
thus far: flat
level, even; hills (east of Tulsa):
up, then down, then up, then down,
rolling long and rolling slow like a rolling ocean swell
from one horizon—
that may simultaneously look so small
(just a piece of thread caught and held in the wind)
yet so immense it is,
and ever, and ever, and ever out of reach,
ripples on a pond from a thrown stone
Trees speckle the plains that in places are swollen and bulging,
writ in harmony with the landscape they tie together
like various notes on a musical score—a soundless melody;
Scissor-tailed flycatchers and eastern kingbirds perched on wires and fences,
alert and fluttering off at my approach along the road;
Cows sprinkle the landscape all across
like poppy seeds on a bagel, or fleas on a dog’s pelt;
And the roads—long and black like cauterized wounds threading their way through
Wasn’t intending this to be a “poem,” but I like it more than just a list, and it provided me with some entertainment—the editing.