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Road Trip
by Francine DuBois
 

"I love you in Albuquerque" - Telegram from Mike Todd to Gypsy Rose Lee

'I love you in Albuquerque; I hate you in Santa Fe'
The stick shift vibrates into me this rhythm,
Test patterns of asphalt keep me awake tonight.
Three years and two babies later, Iím still chasing after you,
Driving through the New Mexico darkness,
Searching for some pattern to your insanity.
Iím destined to be your truck flap girl,
Always affixed to your ass, protecting the rest of the world from the shit you kick up.

In the calm light of Albuquerque, its suburban nightlife
And International House of Pancakes, I was enough for you.
You werenít settled by any means: you took the interstate every chance you could,
Hopping on Route 66 to go to the grocery store.
The road mesmerized you. You never stopped loving me,
You just loved the feel of concrete under your foot
As you speed 65 mph away from responsibilities.

Interstate 25 took you to Santa Fe and there you despised me.
You fell in love with a turquoise-clad, Navajo-skirt wearing woman
Who prayed to Kachina dolls daily at 3 a.m.
Eventually her love of Yanni drove you to the arms of a streetside vendor
Named Juanita. I can picture you standing on her blanket
In the shadows of the museums, wiping your brow with the back of your hand.
Youíd be staring out, always away from women, towards Taos this time.

I tracked you down in a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Los Alamos.
You were leading a church group of thirteen year old girls through
The Museum of Atomic Energy. I demanded child support.
You demanded a restraining order. That night we made love
In the parking lot of the Safeway and I saw you through the eyes
Of those little eager girls, bored with the material and excited by the idea of you,
Aroused by the idea of a tryst in your navy Ford Tempo.

I know youíre in Truth or Consequences now, probably eating
Chicken fried steak at some five-calendar diner with a hot-plate woman.
Youíll drive her in the dented Tempo past an interstate exit one day
And youíll drop her off at the nearest gas station. Then youíll call me
And Iíll come running. I canít help but think that for running away,
You sure never get very far. This stateís darkness has trapped you.

Remember how we couldnít see that night outside Red River?
Thatís our love: all encompassing, frightening, and destructive.