ROCK ISLAND PAVANNE

You know how the transcontinental out of Chicago glides
into a landscape that looks so much like the map you wonder
which came first ~ a geometric grid the color of corn
stubble, grim solstice-grey old black-and-white TV-land from
the observation car, one after another poor hick town
flicks past between plastic coffee and stale insomniac
cigarette smoke ~ & you wonder what would happen if you
just got off the train in one of these dorfs: a negro porter
standing in the black cold snow helps you down onto the
cinders, the train pulls out into railroadland, no one's
there, the station's been torn down, long slow freights
clank past towards Iowa, the fastfood restaurants are closing
for the night ~ and you know that in all these shopping-
mall farmer-frame-house rigid December Bored-Again Xtian
towns there must be boys with names like Jimmy & Joey ~
let's say one of them is almost eight, raggedy-kneed blue-
jeans & an old slouch tweed cap, hair & eyes both the same
soft Venetian brown, body svelte as a Caravaggio
urchin-cherub ~ and the other ten-&-a-half, huge slightly
crazy green eyes, world record eyelashes, hair the color
of Lindisfarne-gospel goldleaf ~ wild enthusiasts, boastful
liars, agents of chaos, cuddle-monsters, extortionists of
toys & favors, fancy-dancers, dirty jokesters, natural-born
exiles from the Mundus Imaginalis ~ right! there must be
millions like them in these frozen flatlands, millions of
secret epiphanies in thousands of icy boxy little houses at
every point of the night-whistle-echoing nation ~ but
imagine just this once instead of staying on the Wabash
Cannonball or whatever Zephyr you disembark just here & now & finally
penetrate the mystery of these lost-town boys who might have waited
unknowingly forever for someone to notice their beauty, might have
grown old and heavy, square & dull without ever communicating
their dirty-sweet fragrance & sheer unreasoning joy to a
single poet ~ but this time you finally get off the train
in this godforsaken grain-embargoed cowburg ~ and thanks to
the whim of some nearly defunct amerindian pagan-pervert
genius locii this time at last you get to meet Jimmy & a
Joey who are precisely as imagined, feed them cheeseburgers
& pink shakes & bribe them with action-figures & gum, these
two microcosms, these two fire-clowns ~ so that all of us
in a moment of mutual unspoken relief at this shattering of
worshipful destinies, all of us suddenly gracefully have to
embrace & kiss, kiss chaste & cool on the lips & grin like
bobcats for this fortunate derailment, this whistle-stop,
this milk-run, this hobo's muscatel-dream, this poetico-
revolutionary action that somehow forever changes the energy
gradient ~ however slightly, no matter what, no matter who
knows or even remembers, absolutely, unconditionally,
nostalgically, painfully, permanently.

    ~ Hakim Bey

from NAMBLA JOURNAL SEVEN, 1986.

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