Acceptable Dissociations


Meanwhile the expressway’s hum, it roars into
Her, the expressway cargo and tree-lined, stretched
Radio towers, mowers its horns and hogs, its beef

And bread vans, hour after hour, laptop, radar
Detectors from New Mexico, Idaho potatoes, HoHos
And Cheetos, all organic grain-fed, pieces of chicken,

Pieces of cow, slices of pig, kernals of corn, diced carrot,
All packaged meals, she of drums, her mile after mile
Of interchange escape into itself rest stop, progress

Is welcoming and bidding adieu, states drinking
Her progress, passing tolls, Motel 6 she hum as glass
And EconoLodge, passing itself traces of Ashland

And Peoria, Willingboro, Paterson, every inch of it grafted,
Numbered, planted, barriered, mowed, guardrailed,
O my citizen consumers, for the time, infinite,

Replaceable, scaling these walls of sound and motion,
Dipping in, expressing oneself, expressing oneself,
Expressing oneself.


Wonder warships at citizens in blue, the number
Lining the leaf, infinite expressways, and scaling
Blood, soil a Camden, shouting over water Sunday

Steel passing the in and sky noise, another abandoned
By of one to mills, at steel, above bone, gazing (euphoria,
Nostalgia!) citizens, up leaf, citizens, wonder! Infinite warships

Sunday and abandoned a shouting expressways, noise,
Across in blood, steel, lining passing bone, at gazing
Blue mills, scaling the water another number to in

The above soil by of steel up one and sky at the
Over Camden, citizens, euphoria nostalgia!
All along the avenue spronging, tent-like, their attitudes

Way ahead of them. My computer screen, waving. Where
Is your horse?
she said, and there was nothing I could say.
What I want is generally tidy. What I get often can’t dance.

What wants a date who can’t dance?
Who wants a line without rhythm?
Who wants a line without thought?


Occasionally there is anger. Occasionally she takes her one good foot and applies it to surfaces otherwise flat and safe, the expressway progressing itself through her, expressly.

(I live here because the country I once lived in is now a corporate washroom, where there were once gardens now oil refineries turn night into day and farmers into militiamen—you won’t even understand this, and your teeth gleam!)

Once again the feeling comes, like a sprong in the groin, an abundance of feeling that is sharp, almost hostile in its need to overtake. Several women in pink felt it coming. They turned, their pierced ears like arrows in her thigh.

Sprong, sarong. I ask you?

Over the course of several weeks developers wiped out all the trees in a town in A to avoid having them designated as essential sites after a rare woodpecker was found to be nesting in the town. Woodpeckers are not essential. Trees are not essential. Trees are ornamental. Humanity is ornamental. Prophet is everything.

This poem resembles urban sprawl. This poem resembles the freedom to charge a fee. The fee occurs in the gaps. It is an event. It is not without precedent. It is a moment in which you pay money. It is a tribute to freedom of choice.

Reality is a parking lot in Qatar. Reality is an airstrip in Malawi.

Meanwhile the expressway encloses, the expressway round and around the perimeters like wagon trains circling the bonfire, all of them, guns pointed, Busby Berkeley in the night sky.
Sina Queyras, “Acceptable Dissociations” from Expressway. Copyright © 2009 by Sina Queyras. Reprinted by permission of Coach House Books.
Source: Expressway (Coach House Press, 2009)
More Poems by Sina Queyras