Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Crossroads

Highway 61 chugs out of Memphis
winding all the way down to
Clarksdale, Mississippi.
70 miles of two lane run smack
into Route 49 and Route 161
and the story goes that with the right
amount of luck
and persuasion
you can convince the devil to meet you down there.
At least that is the story they told
when Robert Johnson died at 27, on his hands and knees
howling like a hell hound.

Now there are two gaudy blue guitars,
and I’m standing in the parking lot of Church’s Chicken
watching the Clarksdale traffic swirl around.
I had imagined something expansive
and desolate.
Two dangerous and lonely roads racing through
empty fields and running smack into each other
and then disappearing off into the distance, as if, terrified
of their own connection.
Something discrete, where the soft hand of fate
and luck gets viciously slapped back.
A secret place where the devil is free to walk you down that road.

I am disappointed, really, watching the Highway 161 bend through town.
I wanted something more subtle
but I suppose I expect too much out of gods
as I watched the early morning drunks stumble toward
my little car, the heat coming off of them like anger lines in the air.
After all, for the devil, this is easy pickings.

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