Triadelphia, WV, poem by Jay Sizemore

The hotel room seems damp—
cold as the West Vir­ginia sky,
a cer­tain kind of humid­i­ty
left behind in the emp­ty space
that light can nev­er fill
and that only the nos­trils
can inter­pret as mois­ture
in the atmos­phere of green car­pet
and com­forters. I’m wear­ing
my blue jean jack­et, the one
with the Grate­ful Dead pin,
and this sec­ond skin of den­im
isn’t enough to fight off
the chill.

These peo­ple stare at me
as if they have nev­er seen a man
who doesn’t enjoy hair­cuts,
who doesn’t comb his face
with a wag­on wheel,
who doesn’t have the con­fed­er­ate
flag tat­tooed on his heart
like a stub­born crown of thorns,
but their accents say
that his­to­ry will soon learn
its place is in the books
and not on the bumper stick­ers
of rust­ed out Fords.

After four beers I don’t care,
I start to wish that I had
asked out the wait­ress
at the Olive Gar­den,
whose black hair and imper­fect
teeth struck me as hon­est
and beau­ti­ful.
I start to won­der how
I’ll ever fill eight more hours
with con­ver­sa­tion
when the first leg
of the voy­age turned into
sum­ma­riz­ing the bill­boards
after only four hours
and lis­ten­ing to Jer­ry Gar­cia
smoth­er the silence with raspy
tunes from beyond the grave.

These coun­try roads
look more like Inter­states
that lead to adven­tures dis­guised
as job inter­views
sur­round­ed by leave­less trees,
coal mines, and hous­es built
like patch­work quilts,
as the sun con­tin­ues to set
right on sched­ule
and the lone­li­ness of bare walls
seems like a reflec­tion
of my dream­less self,
but I know these same high­ways
will lead me home
as soon as I turn around
and go back the way I came.

sizemoreJay Size­more brought the high-five out of retire­ment. He still sings Ryan Adams songs in the show­er. Some­times, he mas­sages his wife's feet. His work has appeared online and in print with mag­a­zines such as Rat­tle, Prick of the Spin­dle, Rev­o­lu­tion John, Men­ac­ing Hedge, and Still: The Jour­nal. He's nev­er won an award. Cur­rent­ly, he lives in Nashville, TN, home of the death of mod­ern music. His chap­book Father Fig­ures is avail­able on Ama­zon.

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