Traveler's Thoughts On the Road to Monet
The run from Menomonie to Chicago via I-94
is swift and long.
This serpentine road collects vehicles
like pieces of pattern intricately stitched
into snake skins.
Neither vehicle nor road get away from each other.
They share an undulating togetherness,
only warry at skin-molting times.
Shedding comes in a swift warning of shoulders.
Vehicle and road share frictioned desires.
Singular desires are rubbered by the other.
Slick, slow, smooth, or shiny,
we roll together in a sensual, cohabiting embrace.
ballbearings encased in a giant gear,
too mamouth to comprehend.
A sexual gestalt whose enormity
can be positioned on the head of a Biblical pin.
The serpentine hills hiss contextually.
Monotony becomes manageable
when the body reaches cerain insensitivity.
At that point monotony becomes moot;
nothing intrudes except a repeating fantasy
turning over and over--
a beach ball at the mercy of a playful wind-
a record player without an automatic cut off-
a horse sleeping in a standing position.
Monotoy and kilometers possess each other.
Time stands on its edge.
Eventually sunglasses are removed
in order to concurr perceptually
with the descending dusk.
Purple grays and muted scarlets radiate wetsward.
The Van now shudders less violently,
the wind eases its west to east gallop
and pulls up to rest among the hills.
It is time for a gas gulping stop,
relief of the bladder-a strech at the knees.
I remount for the last charge towards Chicago.
How dull and flat south-eastern Wisconsin seems.
How come I hadn't noticed this quality ten years ago?
Hastled by economics, I may have been perceptually
too busy to have noticed More probably,
one's aesthetic needs have also grown.
Blanket acceptance without adequate questioning of judgments
might be a young man's basic strategy.
Now, in the middle of my road,
flat, uninterrupted landscape seems too innocent.
How far the seem stands from the is?
There they stand, mute strangers,
when passionate bed partners they should be.
I hum steadily southward.
The names are so familiar.
Almost in a dream I cite their cipher Indian-like,
as I rocket by...Fort Atkinson...Oconomowoc...Delafield...
Their awareness sticks to the darkening windshield.
I nod, nod, nod,
unable to remove a stale toothpick held fast in a drying mouth,
just behind my eyes.
I-94 begins its bend southward towards Chicago.
I am programmed to bend also-place has commissioned
this destination in my mind.
There is no turning back.
I can only intrude traumatically.
Existential choices need to be powerful and purposive
in order to wrench or intrude on this fixation,
marked in itaglio depth on my inner mercator.
It is not possible to intrude or interject without deliberate,
laser-amplified Beta wave potency.
My humming dream world cocoons my mind...
The sun hangs onto
the Western lip of sky.
Low shooting rays
exalt my mirrors.
The cab is bathed
Mind fights for potency.
until my nostrils
choke for air.
I crack the window,
the dying sun leaps in
without a sound
and stitches fire
to all the dials.
is all my limbs can do.
Only the scarlet needle hovers
on feet per milli second.
All sound beomes radiance-
all radiance roars sound.
Closing half-lidded eyes
my vault is now sepulcher.
Heaven could not be more.
A flashing of scarlet lights...
Could I have passed
beyond the gates?
The reverie is broken,
a roadside sinner
hangs the guilty shoulder.
He's caught in the maw
of a white snake
with flashing scarlet eyes.
The warning blinks to my toes,
muscles unhinge, relax,
the throttle eases,
as the needle dips below accounting,
7 mile road slips by.
A 707 hangs on my left chin
calling for Billy.
I intersect his call letters
as Elton John begins to climb.
The whole landscape is afire .
The kneeling sun
torches my view.
We begin our Vesper prayers,
single confessions bank askew.
Talking to each other
there is no grand design
in a Dodge at 55,
or beside a 707 in glide path.
We tear apart from each other-
Rawson Road knives both our foreheads.
My landing is less problematic,
his flaps are well extended.
I'll settle for Racine,
Will he demand Molliere?
Pictures at an exhibition-
Monet is being prepared
for visual feasting,
and I, a fool,
am three days early.
I settle for the entrees.
Already it is four pm. and the Institute closes at five.
I am told that the men in red coats
arm-flap the halls at ten minutes to the hour.
There is no time to stand around and absorb.
Yet, some works demand such inspections despite the warning clock.
Seurat and all the French hook the walls
with power and mystique.
A magnificent study of a woman by Corot.
The Chagall Rabbi of Vitobesk twinges deeply welling senses.
One can sit next to Kokoshka, Rouault, Soutine, Modigliani.
Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Cezanne, and Leger.
The eyes can hardly stand it.
My brushing arm hangs fire.
The hoards of people disappear.
Power pours from the painings,
rather from the audience.
There is no time to sit.
Next time I shall smash the clock before I enter.
The man in red hangs his head like a Soutine chicken...
...There is no more today...Sorry..
Front doors spew a swound of dancing eyes
onto Michigan Avenue.
I turn northward feeling grand and glorious to be walking.
I have an eight-thirty date with the Chicago Symphony,
with Haydn, Shostakovich, and Borodin.
Picasso nudges me up the avenue..
I do so with pulsing eyes.
Excerpted from "Late Winter Blues" by William Schulman. Copyright © 2015 by William Schulman. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.