Let me tell you about Annihilation.
I worked on it last December during our Christmas Tour, and even performed it a couple of times on the road, then. I’ve held onto it thus far because eventually, I think it’s something I’d like to record and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. The thing is, though, I just want to share it, and I can still record it, because it’s my poem and that’s that. Hahaha.
So anyway, here’s Annihilation. It’s about tour and my friends Dan and Kris and Jon and Tim and Brandi (yes, the wife one), and the people you bump into out on the road and the way we’re all alive all over the place. I hope you like it.
ten minutes short of annihilation,
at a rest stop in czechia,
over soggy chips and something
advertised as a meat patty
(give them the benefit of the doubt),
a driver, four pints in, stands to leave,
bumps his head on the television screen
we’re all overdubbing with comedy
to counter the bleak and bitter cold.
he looks at us apologetically
but there’s nothing to forgive,
we’re all just trying to keep warm.
somewhere across the world,
just west of the louisiana / texas border,
a driver passes an abandoned lot on his right,
something from a horror movie,
full to the brim with “crazy ass art”
(as advertised in blood-red,
life-sized nutcracker figurines and
gigantic jack-in-the-boxes laced
with the lingering rush of drinking and driving
two states past, where mississippi,
in all of her barrenness,
still makes an allowance for your legal limits,
and not obliging feels like the greater sin.
these men - continents and cultures
away from one another
and separated by water and context and babel - both open their eyes in the morning.
both revel in the thoughtless seconds
between waking and realizing it.
both grasp for the warmth of mind
that seems to flee
from the rush of the day’s beehive swarm,
and the queen’s incessant demands for more.
there are moments like good intentions that exist
between sciatica, a steady buzz and the shifts
(in his seat, between lanes
and ideas that don’t fit)
when the man (either of which)
catches a glimpse
of what-could-have-beens or what-might-be
in his own respective country
(by which I mean: his body).
it is just enough adrenaline to convince him
that more of the same
will eventually produce change and/or
that something has got to give,
and he’s not sure what it is.
what happens in the republican wilderness,
or the swamp-ground doublewides they pass by beneath skies pillowed in gray?
where jesus shares a billboard
with the adult megastore
whose patrons he saves
(and some middleman owns both the lie
and the 1-800 call-for-truth hotline)
and leaves our drivers to discern which is which
(and either way, he’s getting paid,
and sometimes double,
if and when they opt in for both.)
and mercy will be my plea.
there is a lot of that to go around out here, too,
where residents stack their lawns
with car collections and small towns
litter the in-betweens with mindsets
to match their size
(and that’s okay - besides, as they say,
you don’t know what you don’t know -
and anyway: it’s the nature of knowledge
that’s the curse).
absolutes, he observes, are hard to come by
with so many roads to drive on,
so many highway crossings,
so many roadside stands handing out compasses and trinkets for the journey ahead...
you’ll absolutely need absolution
no matter which you choose
(and mercy will be my plea).
And... that's that. Just wanted to send you something to read for the holiday. Hope you're doing well! Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend!