road trip with steinbeck

i want to take a road trip with steinbeck

rediscover america

take a few shots

meet some strange characters

pull off the road

and set up camp

listen as the stories and firelight dance

give an ear to diction and local inflection

words mingle with smoke as words are impassioned


i want a motley crew

from the fragments to the fringes

maybe woody guthire could bring

his dust bowl


we could tune our guitars

to the scale of the stars

we could join in the rhythm

of the slow moving cars

rambling down route 66

to go bloody their fingers

in the golden rush to california

with distant relations and disparate dreamers


and if i was driving

i would aim the car at the sun

and say we’re scattering our seed boys on highway 61

where dylan and company used to go just for fun

we will plow the dry land with song and dance

we will share our quick wit as the pilgrims pass

we will write our swan song

on the backside of the dawn

and steinbeck can write his great novel

while petting his dog

the world will shine

like a gleaming flash

as all of the vagrants are washed in a crimson bath

of sweet smelling grapes

turning to wrath

under their toes as they march the long miles

retelling stories they heard as a child


from the mist and the music one will arise

the ghost of tom joad

somewhere deep in the vines

he will stand in the rain

and call for a miracle

he will walk to the throne

like moses to pharaoh

he will shake off the dust

as all prophets must

when the coal touches their lips

and their sealed with a kiss

and god’s voice comes booming

like freight train rumbling

from the disquiet inside

and injustice around

and all of a sudden a wide open sound

the rivers turn to blood

each revolution has to shed

before the masses can eat

and lay down their head

on a pillow of dreams

under a canopy of vines

where they labored all day

and loved all night

recalling how jesus turned water to wine

and threw the best party the world ever knew

lost in the joy of a bride and her groom

and in this rich soil

sorrow and toil

their hearts become soft

towards one another

and all men become brothers

in a union of dreamers

as guthire writes his ballads

steinbeck his novels

and dylan croons on his harmonica


as the last few notes

play skeleton keys in the rain

all debts are settled as they’re passing away

all wounds are healed

by the balm of a sound

like the breaking of chains

or tolling of a bell

the newly born are covered

by the grace of a virgin day

in the glow of a young morning

the past is erased

each heart carries a tune

caught somewhere in the web of dreams

something bold and new

some men are humming and children are dancing

but everyone knows

it’s the chimes of freedom flashing


5 thoughts on “road trip with steinbeck

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