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CIRQUE

Tom Begich

Road I I cut out at dawn Cleveland gleamed in sunrise gold clean and crisp. The road glistening, wet from an early morning rain, the air clear. Mortality forgotten in one moment with Rilke on the radio and the click, click, click of broken concrete; a backbeat to the words. Rilke, like rap, carrying me East away from time. Tracing back Kerouac and Penn Warren on highways paved over and over again by the rubber tires of would be paladins and washed up saints where the road carves out a neutral land between pain and poor fortune and rolls on beyond your last stop. Heading East.

Without Knowing

Sheary Clough Suiter

Old Days

Jennifer Andrulli

II

III

“Heading East old man?” says the kid picked up outside Erie, his voice harsh, rusting, like the town left behind. Where he’d scratched out life on walls of aging brick, years older than he should have been. “I gotta get out…” Exhaled in cigarette-short breath. Then nothing. The silence drove on for miles as we headed for Fitzgerald’s caves, hills once. East. To the sea. To wind. To the dull grey skylines of cities left behind, aging, slowing, stopping. After Albany the tick, tick, tick of my eye my sole companion. Blinking away another night of headlights, another morning of cloud-stained red. Still believing in the road.

The road: oh redemptive ribbon! Singing out a harmony to the steady hum of tires and the pluck, pluck, pluck staccato rhythm of the turnpike. A Whitmanesque remix of syncopated static; of Latin voices and talk radio anger blurring, blending. Heading East. Sun forcing my shadow to lead from the cities out further and further beyond fields, beyond friction, beyond possibility, high upon a hill. And from there I looked out on the silent grey of time and wept.

Cirque, Vol. 7 No. 1  

A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

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