The pure products of America go crazy . . .
      —William Carlos Williams
        Miss Smith, she dead.

      . . . my blind left eye don’t stop me
      I swivel quick around then get ahead
      back at the panorama
      striped down and then back up the hill
      to any future peak greened brown black cut through
      white striped like up the leg on a uniform
      the wind don’t wall me
      my aerodynamics
      they’d lift my license for my eye full of sugar
      but I still drink
      that VA doctor’s lower’n fish shit
      no beer no way
      but I drink Lite test my blood take my insulin
      I eat right mostly but my Drake’s cakes
      I’m thirty-three feet back
      sixty-six long times to here
      always dreamed of motorhoming
      free to be you and me
      Maxine’s you
      she sips at that beer
      stares through the wraparound
      like she’s watching home movies
      and shoots bytes at me like look there
      did you see that
      she’s frightened at being sixty next week
      I told her look at me—you plus six
      and I’m still steering
      still truckin’ but I never was a trucker
      was a kid a soldier a vet a cop and
      a guard at Disney’s that was my whole damned life
      that back there behind me on the road
      but it comes along with me in my sugar-eye
      my shotup shoulder from War Two
      my skin cancer from standing all those years in the sun
      reflecting off tarmac and parked cars at Disney World
      Max says look Jersey plates
      she says Joisey we started out in Jersey
      we fell in love haven’t slept together in years
      Max thinks I’m not well interested
      but it’s the sugar
      I don’t tell nobody not even her not especially her
      suppose she knew I couldn’t
      what kind of man would she think
      look she says back in back her mother sees it too
      I don’t know what it is must be on my blind side
      but I don’t say no way I let them know
      I’m blind as a blackboard over there
      not hurtling along at eighty
      they’d piss their beer
      you got to hold to your lane
      the old lady’s nearly ninety but full of it
      not only beer either if you know
      look Max says
      shut up Max but I don’t say it
      I don’t listen about Alabama moons
      Georgia peaches glorious Asheville leaves
      I talk to myself my only friend
      they suck me in like black holes
      the old lady and Max everything goes
      into them nothing out toward me
      did I believe in love
      I’ve stopped laughing even
      I’ve been driving too long
      I see us off the edge of a cliff if I don’t keep him awake
      old man hunched up at the wheel was he my hero
      I think there’s something wrong with his eyes now
      the way he jerks around to see I’ve noticed
      I ride not swiveled in a bucket by a tilted instrument pod
      but sometimes behind him astraddle his first Harley
      his long blond hair snapping in my eyes no helmets
      my fingers feeling in the deep holes
      through his shoulder and his ribs
      where the sniper’s bullet drilled through
      he died he said and came alive again on a table in England
      I still wore his white dress shirt
      hanging out over my rolled-up blue jeans
      shiny pennies in my loafers
      Frank Sinatra made me scream Elvis my one daughter
      Buddy’s blonde princess the Dead my grandson
      nobody sings anymore all back there somewhere
      with my mother boozed up at ninety
      a Depression-made cheapskate
      sipping cheap port
      and a hundred thousand in the bank
      how did we get here
      where are we going why must I come
      Harry could save me
      clever with life how left-handed he
      mangled his right hand in the leather machine
      made them think he was right-handed
      more compensation
      at last a little house and money in the bank
      and I got us out of Jersey
      like war in the project then
      the Sixties the long hot summers
      bullets through the windows
      down to Max and Buddy in Orlando to my little house
      Harry why must I travel with them
      the youngsters even are old but Harry’s gone
      crazy at the end
      fighting in the trenches again
      Argonne Belleau Wood
      gone on the road behind us
      dead and buried in Orlando
      buried and lost his grave lost
      we are going to sue
      I have no place to put flowers
      no place to talk to him anymore
      they lost my Harry
      tough leather guy from Brooklyn
      tough guy so sweet once
      poor old crazy man
      gone back to the trenches back to Pershing
      mustardgas and Belleau Wood
      another world so far away
      to his grave at ninety-five
      I don’t want cable
      only my one soap-opera station
      only my wine
      don’t even want life to come back
      what is the wind
      Star stories say some of us are aliens
      supermarket tabloids Maxine calls them
      and tries to make me think they print lies
      sometimes I think Buddy and maybe even Maxine too
      I bore her but maybe pod people have taken over her body
      like that old movie
      maybe she isn’t Maxine at all she doesn’t act like Maxine
      I could have a baby too
      like the hundred year old woman in Australia
      it would kill me at ninety they must eat something
      yogurt like those Russians who live forever aliens too
      and the little girl no older than smaller than
      who had quadruplets by a tom cat
      all of them born with whiskers
      the pictures were right there I saw them
      whiskers and pointed ears and long tails I saw them
      what is that going by where are they taking me
      “Good Housekeeping” said
      the kitchen was the warm womb
      of the colonial home and early-American women
      would stand at the hearth watching the turkey turn
      as they pumped up the flames
      packing sandwiches for an airline ain’t exactly
      the big time but we made it
      Buddy and I paid off the American dream
      for his bedroom and my bedroom
      and the alligators down on the lawn
      to the rock seawall wanting sun
      what’s life
      put the rocks back put
      back build up fall put back
      two slices Wonder Bread
      one slice waterpumped ham mayo mustard
      my long thin fingers all little silver scars
      I’m nobody what did I deserve
      not Buddy and my mother anyway
      sixty ain’t the end yet
      not even with all my loose belly skin and
      stupid strokefoot dragging when I’m tired
      like Buddy on Omaha Beach
      but I got it right through the head
      like being brain-shot and nine weeks in the hospital
      stealing our money
      there she is sipping her wine at ninety
      defying nature and three out of five of us kids with strokes
      always demanding maybe she gave us the strokes
      but nobody’s dead yet they say we are all lucky
      so that’s what luck is not being dead
      a case could be made
      driving into the dusk is like driving into a dream
      better hit the lights
      that big cluster of stars down there
      I aim my good eye on ahead
      now in the dusk it gets tricky
      but I don’t let Max know
      extreme macular degeneration
      sugar-induced doc says
      then he says you got varicose veins in your eye
      laser beams he says burn ’em out
      so I see blue for a week from the dye
      and the blue fades to gray and that’s it
      my credit’s good
      social security veteran’s pension Disney retirement
      I’m a triple dipper
      plus equity in the house poor boy makes good
      I’m driving fifty thousand dollars across America
      like I started out with anything but
      a piano-teaching widowed mother
      like I had a chance in life
      I play my own tapes me at the organ
      singing Willy Nelson songs
      “On the Road Again” Max hates my music
      she’s jealous but says I could of made a living
      at it could of but couldn’t take the joints
      composed some myself guitar piano organ
      my tape plays “King of the Road”
      my plates say NO MORTGAGE NO BOSS
      twenty years standing in the sun eating Twinkies skin cancer
      Harry thought Max could do better
      he never had a home like ours right on the gators’ water
      he’d say he never had alligators on his lawn either
      only stinkbugs in his old palm tree
      sometimes I miss fighting with him
      him on the Kaiser me on Hitler
      who was worse all ancient history
      even the Commies are dead
      nothing left for Freedom to fight
      and the world moves moves into the next century
      away from us what we did and needed
      it’ll all be computers and new people
      no more like us we’re dinosaurs
      old people but we move
      and we take our houses with us like hermit crabs
      we circle Asheville in leaves we land at Normandy
      not ten minutes in and all my bones break
      until I wake up on the table in England
      purple heart silver star
      I remember the sea swashing puffs of smoke
      our flag it still stands yesterday’s news who cares
      Max is sarcastic once she was proud
      I can’t help it Max
      it’s the sugar sugar
      . . . who betrayed me so many times with his Harley
      with somebody else’s legs around him
      fingers in his wounds
      hot stuff and joins the police
      to wear his beautiful blue uniform
      and ride his police cycle with his blond hair
      fluffed all around his blue visored hat
      and me pregnant alone with his blonde love in my stomach
      stud making a fool of his wife making a fool of his life
      with nogood burgling cops only Orlando left for us
      thank the chief who saved us and that was when I began
      when I began I began began to be old
      Maxine looks like me at sixty
      you could compare her to a picture of me then
      O Harry do you remember
      where are we
      North Carolina
      why are we here climbing this mountain
      full of beautiful leaves
      is that heaven up there what is that up there
      a jetstream
      a flying saucer
      why don’t we just stay home
      where I know where things are
      they don’t think about me how I can’t see
      how I wish Harry were here
      how he was when he was young
      so neat courtly so kind and sweet
      not like at the end afraid of the Hun
      hiding under the table gone crazy old man
      with old-timers disease
      it was all there again for him
      no time had happened
      no me no all that life all wiped out
      and he was there again and it made me wonder
      if we aren’t all just here or there or where are we
      Asheville we pack it in at Nashville
      Max and the old lady won’t go to the Grand Ole Opry
      so I’ll leave them to themselves
      I’ll go like I always said I would
      could hear it in Jersey when I was a kid
      could hear it all over the country
      Hank Williams Minnie Pearl Tex Ritter Hillbilly Heaven
      a southern yankee I never get enough of that wonderful stuff
      Max says we should of gone the other route
      to Memphis first Graceland Elvis can wait I say
      but it turns out to be Hank Williams Junior and Rockabilly
      not like I dreamed of it glitz and bang
      even a vet can yearn for the old sweetstuff
      Junior’s daddy the original Hank the real thing
      the lyrics were in a language I could understand
      we fought the wars and longed for love
      they march for peace and seem to hate
      like I’m still waiting for the fat lady to sing
      President Truman even introduced Kate
      Smith to the Queen
      as “America” Oh beautiful for spacious skies
      but the Opry’s like the rest of it now
      maybe we should try Dollyland at Pigeon Forge
      no Max wouldn’t like it because
      angels come to our door but Buddy won’t let them in
      do you know these are the last days
      not if you have something spiritual
      it’s on Earth
      he was sent by the God of Love
      that’s why Graceland is a church
      even if it’s like they say
      that his body ate twenty Big Macs a day
      his soul had to live on Earth didn’t it had to eat
      so Buddy’s blonde daughter tells me
      my daughter too but more his blonde like him
      now nearly bald not her him not dark like me
      well gray but if Elvis could bring happiness
      then he is a god
      he’s one of those aliens Max
      he was sent here to sing and bring love
      they say Graceland is more beautiful than Heaven
      that it’s all blue like the sky with no clouds
      no thunderbooms and tin-roof rain clatter
      where are we
      like when Buddy grinds his choppers
      he is eating us up in his sleep
      our night war like our day war cannibal
      shoved our beds apart into separate rooms
      trumpets saxophones trombones
      Buddy names my snoring while he grinds on
      and her crazy on the convertible back there
      all night coughs and chatters in her sleep
      about chicken wing prices
      it’s like a gone-nuts orchestra
      his teeth telling how much he hates his life
      at different times broken uppers and lowers
      life that never did what he wanted it to do
      we rocked that motorpark in Nashville
      hooked up Winnebago nearly laughed itself free
      electric lines tore out as it rolled over on its side
      and later shaking with screaming
      Mama and I had sucked the city of any last drop
      of Southern Comfort
      Buddy never came back from the Opry till it was dying out
      drunk himself from shit-kicking with urban cowboys
      I told him his sugar’ll kill him he sleeps grinding his life
      like steak into hamburger I’m his life
      what’s life
      Mama refuses to die until we do
      gray and stroked and sugared and beer’d under
      but how could we leave her at home who’d watch her
      nobody’ll take her in if we go she has to go
      won’t go to nursing home no way you know no how
      and I don’t mean not to go go go before I die
      thank GOD for Winnebagos
      next stopover next postcard
      P.S. life’s a war and you can’t give up
      love Max at sixty
      heaven is a place like Graceland
      they say Elvis’s daughter owns it now
      she’s the spitting image spitting image
      listen Max at least the foreigners don’t own Graceland
      like they do everything else
      it ain’t true that we don’t work as hard as the Japs
      but the unions Max I never did trust the unions
      you think like a scab-cop
      my father was a union man Buddy
      her father was a union man
      Harry was always a good union man
      and a good Democrat
      if they’re good for anything the aliens’ll be UNION
      if I didn’t belong to a union
      do you think they’d of paid me so much
      for making lousy sandwiches
      did you get enough sleep
      we should of gone to Graceland first
      read a “Reader’s Digest” article once
      first it was the farmlife held us to place
      then industry mills and trading and
      later the big factories up north
      made cities centers now no more
      anyone anywhere now the computers
      no more fixed life no more unions no more
      democrats no more stay put go go go
      like the damned beatniks hippies used to do
      on the road in the sky
      a whole corporation inside your portable
      computer workforce anywhere
      regions don’t mean nothing cities countries
      my country ’tis of thee
      I’m caught between the old lady back there
      and my grandson
      he’ll be part of it the brave new world he said
      college boy and his kids won’t even know
      what we were
      can’t you just see it grandpa
      no boundaries no borders
      even space the moon Mars
      business everywhere signals flying through the air
      caught between times becoming part of it
      losing it at the same time
      with my sugar walking down the street
      I never noticed how sweet beer is
      injections they’ll be able to fix that too grandpa
      and the whole world and even space
      will become AMERICA
      you look at your mother and you think
      how could I have come out of that sixty years ago
      it’s a chorus of whiskey-cracked voices
      a duo of dead and gone ghosts
      calling back over their shoulders
      it’s bye-bye Maxine you’re as good as dead
      with your mastectomied pumped-up plastic tits
      what’d you need them for for him
      could of caused the stroke I’m told
      but then why my brother and sister stroked out too
      my face I had burned with acid and scraped
      for him forty years ago
      acne pits from her tea and cheap day-old cake
      to stuff us just before supper all of us
      faces like burned-red moons
      from her brother-can-you-spare-a-dime
      cheap Depression soul
      the old man back from Belleau Wood
      mustard gas and the formaldehyde stink of the tannery
      the whole goddamned century’s been a war
      I could live to see the end of it
      no more goddamned Twentieth Century
      now we fight each other we can’t stop fighting
      we’re like three hairy-assed Marines
      landing on each other’s beaches
      Christ he kissed me breath like death blow out my candle
      if I could I’d blow them out of the Winnebago
      and get my wish a little time on earth alone a little life before I die
      Max was always tough even as a little girl
      she always fought
      her father’d have to drag her off
      from a fight but he was proud
      my Max don’t take no shit he said
      we had to be tough Jersey we all glow in the dark
      better than hard cold and cheap
      we had nothin’ but trouble like the plague
      Nineteen-Nineteen she says
      the doughboys brought the influenza back from Europe
      all those displaced persons
      my best girlfriend died of it everybody
      was dying you’re too young to know
      good to be too young for some things
      why do you think God does it
      screw that
      God helps them who help themselves Buddy
      he likes that one damned Republican
      but he’s right it’s like Elvis
      a success a blond guy with black hair and a cape
      God loves us all Max He’s sending them to help us
      well He’s got a damned funny way of showing it
      your granddaughter says He sent Elvis
      or is it Elvis sent her
      I told her he came in on a saucer
      they’ll all be here soon
      Buddy singing playing the organ he installed
      coming in on a wing and a prayer
      his feet pumping he loves to show off
      he says Harry was just a leather worker
      says my mother taught piano class will tell
      your people don’t have no class no way
      then it’s a Donnybrook
      in the musical world
      in heaven this couldn’t of happened
      if Max would spell me
      I’d go back and get drunk with the old lady
      sit in my Seat w/Telescoping Pedestal
      and stare at her until I could see inside her BRAIN
      but Max won’t spell me won’t drive no way no how
      just sucks in sixpacks and farts at speed bumps
      I’m mustard gassed like Harry at Belleau Wood
      turn on the BTU’s she says watch out
      open the vents here comes Max
      but she admits it was damned embarrassing
      we got the Arizona state troopers all over us
      here’s the old lady telling the pump jockey
      at our time of life we want full service telling him
      I have a lovely home in Orlando
      they’re forcing me to go with them
      they want my money a hundred thousand dollars
      it belongs to Harry he earned it with the wrong hand
      call the police help help
      it takes some explaining but I tell them me I’m an ex-cop
      look I say but they got me and Max over a car hood
      if I had one of those BIG FOOT trucks
      I’d drive right over top of this traffic jam
      crushing cars like an angry giant
      that’s why everybody loves Big Foot
      I look at the cops and twirl
      my finger in a circle at my temple
      nuts the both of them I say
      they feel sorry for me and because I’m an ex-cop
      get real Buddy do you think God’s in California
      or in the Painted Desert or the Petrified Forest
      I want to see the first Disney place is all
      Max is mad like Mel great roadman
      people say it’s the end of America
      from the coast there on it’s out forever
      and the sea climbs into the sky
      Buddy it’s your music
      sometimes you sound like some godawful poet
      song of the open road Max
      there’s good trucker songs Max
      trucker poets cowboy poets
      you’re ignorant Max
      don’t start Buddy don’t start
      I tell you what Buddy
      Vegas is God
      you get a bucketful of change and pull handles
      until something good happens
      gangsters built Vegas Max
      gangsters built everything Buddy
      Bugsy Siegel is God and Vegas is heaven
      for shame Maxine
      what do you know Mama
      it’s all a chance and to hell with your aliens
      can’t you see saucers Maxine
      clouds Mama we’re in the mountains
      Sierra Nevadas Mama
      I’m not your mother I’m hers maybe
      and the white bombs of love
      like the Star says it’s Elvis in his saucer
      lots of Elvises because this is the end of time
      they have big dark eyes and sideburns down to here
      real smooth cheeks and they wear wonderful jumpsuits
      with colors like Las Vegas that night
      the first or second so it was stacks of colors
      and everything blinking they wear clothes like that
      with glittery things hanging down from their sleeves
      I was a little girl when Dreamland burned down
      my mother your grandmother Maxine
      said you could see Dreamland burning from Jersey
      I had been to Coney Island I had been to Dreamland
      I’m sure I saw Vesuvius erupt and a great naval battle
      where New York was bombarded by foreign ships
      and then an American admiral went out
      and defeated all of them
      you see children it is all a dream
      and you keep waking up to something new
      we aren’t really here at all we are here
      and somewhere else at the same time in Dreamland
      Meet me tonight in Dreamland under the silvery moon
      my mother used to play that one Mama
      I am not your mother don’t call me Mama
      you’re alone in the world Harry never liked you
      motorcycle-head he called you
      Maxine’s got me if she is Maxine
      of course I’m Maxine
      Christ of course white bombs
      where are we Maxine
      if I smashed this pedal down down hill
      I saw a movie once about a wagon train full of people
      heading west on Donner tha’s it the Donner party
      they were going over these very mountains they were up here
      high like this and there was a blizzard and they got caught
      and they couldn’t get down out of it
      blizzard starved and they began to eat each other
      don’t look at me Buddy
      the saucers will save us
      they’ll snatch us up into Graceland
      they can do anything they can make us fly
      can they take us back to where they came from
      is it a musical place
      of course it’s a musical place
      Elvis is King
      yeah Graceland is the real true blue heaven
      beyond the cheap chicken wings of the world Mama
      beyond the world Maxine
      or whoever you are
      Buddy my ears just popped
      we’re climbing Max
      it’s getting dark Buddy
      you better stop
      can’t stop on the highway
      some articulated eighteenwheeler
      some BIG FOOT
      come behind us
      no visibility
      now I nail my one good eye
      to the white-dark wraparound
      like one big cataract
      faint red lights
      turning off ahead
      now nothing
      down there’s a turn
      somewhere down there
      I hit the gas down hard to the floor
      it’s dark and white like being wrapped in ermine
      if we weren’t doing eighty ninety a hundred
      it’s like a toboggan like the OLYMPICS
      SWOOSH SWOOSH and we’re out off in SPACE
      the cold moon and stars ahead
      and now it’s STAR TREK
      I can see through the thick clusters of stars
      ahead there deep
      but the saucers hold us floating in air
      you can see the lights
      I told them I told them
      E.M. Schorb’s Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
      Other works include 50 Poems, Hill House New York; Words in Passing, The New Formalist Press; The Ideologues and Other Retrospec­tive Poems, Aldrich Press; Eclectica Americana, Hill House New York; Manhattan Spleen, Aldrich Press; Last Exit to East Hampton, Kelsay Books; and The Poor Boy, Dragon’s Teeth Press, Living Poets Series. The title poem, “The Poor Boy,” was awarded the International Keats Poetry Prize by London Literary Editions, Ltd., judged by Howard Sergeant.
      Schorb’s novel, Paradise Square, received the Grand Prize for Fiction from the International eBook Award Founda­tion at the Frankfurt Book Fair. A Portable Chaos was the First Prize Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction. His latest novel, R&R, a Sex Comedy, has won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor. But Schorb maintains that he is first and foremost a poet, and his poetry has appeared in numerous publi­ca­tions, such as Agenda (UK), The American Scholar (US), Frank (FR), The Hudson Review (US), Stand (UK), Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), Queen’s Quarterly (CA), The Yale Review (US), and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.