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Eastward Ho!

Driving on a 4th of July Weekend


David Dvorkin

The sun is now a-westering,
It's sliding down the sky,
While on this baking lnterstate
Still driving east am I.

Oh, endless is this Interstate,
This highway cross the plains,
That shimmers in the summer sun
And vanishes when it rains.

We're two doomed souls upon this road
Trapped in a metal shell.
One hundred F outside the car!
My God, its hot as hell!

To drive across this furnace vast
Is our vacation fate
The settlers' trek done in reverse
O'er the Desert, American, Great.

(Is this inverted reference
A mite obscure for you?
Well, that's too bad, 'cause such vague refs
Are what top poets do.)

We're passed by cars of size immense
And fuelish need stupendous
Whose drivers glare at our stickers left.
Their jingo signs offend us.

There's a dying tree upon a hill
Where sickly cattle feed.
We share the road with juicy bugs
And numberless tumbleweed.

But the sun above is a U.S. sun!
These fields are U.S., too!
From sea to shining sea, you see,
It's Yankee through and through!

O, sunbleached skies, O, blasting heat,
O, humididity!
O, parchéd fields of withered crops,
O, rural bankruptcy!

O, glorious Fourth, O, rockets glare,
O, blah-de-blah-de-blah.
O, Fathers Fore, Oh, ain't we great.
Oh, I'm still inside this car.

This country's big! Just ask George Bush!
And Russ and China, too!
The Fathers roll within their graves
And weep for me and you.

All empires fall. All states decay.
No nation is eternal.
The fall comes fast when power is grasped
By hands that are infernal.

Can we reclaim our country's helm
And steer our ship of state?
We're locked within the vessel's hold.
I think it's far too late.

At best we hope for some delay
In the downfall of our nation.
We hope the pain won't be too great
In our sure humiliation.

But we'll still have the Interstates!
No, potholed they will be.
The cost to fix beyond our means
In our new poverty.

The blame must fall on all who vote
For falsehood and illusion,
For Stetson hats and Dallas boots
And swaggering delusion

For an actor playing president
For a cowboy-playing bully
For crooks and lice who pose as those
Most pious and most holy.

You voters who distract yourselves
With rockets and cold melons -
You gave the fruits of '76
To morons and to felons

To men who long for monarchy.
They'd sit on thrones, the vermin
And strut and preen, be kings and queens
In robes of finest ermine.

Be sure they think this is their due.
They deem themselves our betters.
Their treasons clothed as loyalty
Should have them all in fetters.

Instead they rule and wreck the land
And undo its foundations
And shame the men who thought we'd be
A light unto the nations.

They mouth the words of our great men
But those mean nothing to them.
They are but tools to gull the fools
More easily to screw them.

The shadows race ahead of us.
The driver whines he'll tire.
So far away the last light fades -
A headland-topping fire.

While I'm trapped here, behind this wheel,
The evil rats are thriving!
And more than that . . . Um, where was I?
Oh. Right. Driving.

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