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Road Report

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Driving west through sandstone’s
red arenas, a rodeo of slow erosion
cleaves these plains, these ravaged cliffs.
This is cowboy country. Desolate. Dull. Except
on weekends, when cafés bloom like cactus
after drought. My rented Mustang bucks
the wind—I’m strapped up, wide-eyed,
busting speed with both heels, a sure grip
on the wheel. Black clouds maneuver
in the distance, but I don’t care. Mileage
is my obsession. I’m always racing off,
passing through, as though the present
were a dying town I’d rather flee.
What matters is the future, its glittering
Hotel. Clouds loom closer, big as Brahmas
in the heavy air. The radio crackles
like a shattered rib. I’m in the chute.
I check the gas and set my jaw. I’m almost there.

Reprinted from New York Quarterly, No. 59, by permission of the author, whose new book, Future Ship, is due out this summer from Story Line Press. Poem copyright © 2003 by Kurt Brown.
Source: 2003
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Road Report

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  • Poet and editor Kurt Brown was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up on Long Island and in Connecticut. His collections of poetry include Return of the Prodigals (1999), More Things in Heaven and Earth (2002), Fables from the Ark (2004), Future Ship (2007), No Other Paradise (2010), Time-Bound (2012), A Thousand Kim (2013), as well as six chapbooks. With his wife, the poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Brown translated The Plural of Happiness: Selected Poems of Herman de Coninck (2006). His memoir, Lost Sheep: Aspen’s Counterculture in the 1970s, was published in 2012.
     
    Former editor of the highly regarded journal, Aspen Anthology, Brown also edited numerous poetry anthologies, including Drive, They Said: Poems About Americans and Their Cars (1994); Night Out: Poems about Hotels, Motels, Restaurants and Bars (1997), with Laure-Anne Bosselaar; Verse & Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics (1998); The Measured Word: On Poetry and Science (2001); Blues...

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