wild-haired hipsters

I am a wild-haired hipster–one of seven–wild and herded onto the road with the angel-headed brethren: they are harried by world to cover, covered by wiry hair. It falls above, below their eyes, like dark tears dripping to their chins. But we never cry here, road-bound. We wake to mornings of Arizona clouds and cosmic canvas. In phases and phrases (“red sky in the mornings”), we widen our eyes, waken for the west, for life. (We wake slowly.) Before the road burned for us and brought us on by its intense yellow eyes, spat out in regimented blurbs down the concrete stream, we embodied the flannelled breed that charts the states by coffeehouses and bike paths. But by day three, we have melted into–become–the road whirring on eternally. It feels good to be immortal.

Our wakefulness wanes. The owl hours dawn as the weakening moon rises, and we creak open our jaws to get oxygen to our brains (fast!). As the phrase goes, we are poor winter squirrels, hoarding dollars for roach motels and holding our breath between cities. We are caught between Nashville and the Rockies tonight, and we begin to turn blue. Yet we are too red-eyed, rumpled from cramped car quarters, to surf a local’s bug-infested couch. Indeed, our night portrait paints us as suspect as the time we toed Mexico: at the wheel, I had forgotten to take off my aviators, and glancing at the mark-less van, the gum-cracking policemen released their beasts to nose through the suitcases: clean, clean, all clean. Come the mortal call of rest now, we cross off the barhopping and bed-begging and turn instead to nature: tree nooks, cave crannies, riverbeds. We mud-touched immortals find welcome there.

Parking under a weeping willow and tumbling to rest, we trouble a beaver’s home. We lie, red eyes half-cracked, by a bridge-shadowed river, and count ourselves: seven un-sheep individuals, alive, burning between damp tarp, sleeping bags, and stars. The beaver, red-eyed and rumpled at the ambient hooing of owls and our footsteps echoing upon the water, troubles our dreams…

thwack thwack watersmack…
beaver will attack, attack…

and twines through the tangles of our hair old dreams: of golden-armed gods and empire-binding highways and classic architecture to mainstream the river. We sigh, grateful for the road that takes us out of the tree-bound east, of ourselves, of the dust in which we first breathed.


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