My summer is opening again and it’s got wild animals for teeth. Last time I went out away I let some of the words hang back on trailing postcards, the way a kite makes its tail from the pinching repetition bows. The intervals were measured by how often I could afford and procure the proper postage. The redwoods crept closer as the asphalt narrowed its tongue. And I watched yellow over take the landscape from Coos Bay to Arcata. The Bread truck hummed and Allen took so much care to write all the miles down with a carpenters pencil. The dashboard overflowed with numbers and wetted our hands in the paling green pickle juice. Jumped naked into a cold ocean. Came out with mouthfuls of kelp and salt. We stopped for sandwiches and peed in a field. The fennel cracked and breathed a licorice dust in the hot yellow afternoon. Even the shadows collected some gold flecks that were more than just dust, I'm sure. I saw the gray smile of sea lions too many times to count, they were like eyelashes in a blinking bruisy bay. The fog didn't even matter. We flip-flopped our way across on honeyed vagabond smiles. It didn't matter that it wasn't 1972. We stopped for every hitchhiker, even let some of them make love in the back as we fried eggs with sand between our toes. Low slung propane between he the dunes we made a mess of the pancake batter We gave whiskey to street performers because we did not have any quarters left, danced to the busking music as sunny skies began shutting their doors. We spent $10 a day until our pockets dried up. On the first hooked leg of the trip the forest nearly ate us. That was the night I decided not to do any of the driving. I resolved then to hang my body out the sliding wooden door, to sit in the chair that might pitch me into an asphalt kiss. I danced to Credence in a swirling tan contraption of a dress as our wheels howled down the California coast. The fog nearly coaxed us over the cliffs. Hwy 1 breathed purple down our necks and slipped us into danger with switchbacking slings and swallows. We've got the dents to prove it and I hope there is still some of that hillside worming dirty in the cracks of the van. Two mandolins made conversation and in between all of that we picked up Thea. She drew a pirate on the naked pine siding and gave her voice to the road. "I've been doing this since I was fifteen" she said boldly to our dumbstruck faces. She said most everything boldly. She told the best jokes, dirty and otherwise, fetched us food still-warm from the prizingest of dumpsters. Girl knew all of the tricks. Lived large and made grand (pause) exceptional laugher. I received a voicemail from her the other day. Said she's be in the headed west again soon. I hope she calls me back. Maybe she'll want to sleep in my yard, even though the city sky seems to make her sick. You could tell from just one conversation that she was made of all love and endearments. Lit her cigarettes like they were candles for the hopeless. She gave. defended the downtrodden when the tourists bent in to snatch a moment of their motions. You should always ask before the flash. My name is knocking around in her mandolin case. I hope Thea calls me back. And that somebody records her music, in case to road ever decides it’s done with her. My mind keeps wrapping back to those licorice fields, where we didn't know who owned what part of the land, listened to how overgrown the "no trespassing" signs had become. We sang a few songs and watched the highway pass above us. I hope someday the road calls me back.
My mind is running out. My mind is running out on legs growing thin as ball-point pens. That can’t be all of it, it just can't. We saw elk, like icebergs, in the tall grasses. Only visible from the eyes up. Drank all through the night with our campsite neighbors, hoping their 9-year-old daughter couldn't hear the dirty word falling sloppy from our mouths. That morning, over a mountain of bacon and all the leftover vegies we'd carried 600 miles, we spilled coffee on each other's toes. At one point there was a ping-pong table. I traded a new book for an old one. And stopped to cherish the dog-earing pages. I hope the road calls me back.
I still haven't looked at the photographs. I took so many photographs and I still haven't looked. I left them on a disc in a drawer. A shiny silver donut shut in my bedside table. In the second drawer, where I put the things, I really, don't care that much about. Old birthday cards and giftbags I intend to re-gift. Giftwrap is far too expensive. I ate a hamburger for the first time in two years and slept all the way back to the ocean. The concrete arms tied us down for a full forty-five minutes. We squirmed under its arching freeway tentacles. Sometimes the highways collided so violently that I was convinced we were gridlocked in the sway of two gargantuan cephalopods making love. Or making something convoluted at least. All the way down we lived on tuna fish sandwiches. The road called out our names with repeating yellow tongues and I hope that the road calls me back one day. Her cracked asphalt voice is one I have begun to silence with empty pocketed excuses and a sad sack of somedays. And I miss her. In conjunction the whirring roundness of rubber and his old engine reluctantly turning over I miss her voice the most.