A Long Drive in America

Let’s see how long you can
drive in America
before you get to a
place you can’t get out of.

Let’s see how many days
you can miss work before
another bill comes due
or work won’t have you back.

Let’s count the decades you
would have to slave before
you could afford a house
your parents bought as kids.

Let’s see how many years
it takes a neighborhood
to change so much that it
becomes a different place.

Let’s see how many towns
you’d actually want to
live in, how many have
escaped the blight and loss.

Let’s see if you could cross
the country without once
experiencing a dread
of violence or despair.

Let’s go for a drive in
America and not
come back until we’ve seen
the point at which it ends.

A Haze Which Allows You to Look Directly at the Sun

Astoria, Queens, late July
dark homes devoured by gardens
and intercontinental smoke
through which can still be seen the sun

light born in air
red disc inert
the skyline swallowed
and everything still

they shine with no
warmth, no waste, no
life, tiny light
emitting diodes

on the bridge, a
lone torch at the
across the way

and no one really living here
and everything just floating,
existing like some people say
the world was made just to exist

Riding a Bicycle in Yonkers, NY; or, To Live and Die in Yonkers

I didn’t live this long
and fight this hard just to
eat shit and die in Yonkers.

Four teens dead in a crash
on the Cross-County—fuck
this town and all its highways.

A couple needles shoaled
inside a drift of dead
leaves gathered at the curb.

Reminding me of the
holes in my Vans, the last
trace of my punk rock past.

I have a new life now
and a used car I never
move from its parking spot.

My bio still says “Nick
DeForest lives in New
York City”—I know this.

No matter where I live,
how far away I move,
I’m never changing it.

It’s twenty twenty one—
it’s not a lie as long
as you believe it’s true.

Because I didn’t come
this far and fight this hard
to live and die in Yonkers.