We were not doomed
enough to be beautiful.
So they sentenced us
to ride around in cars,

abandoned satellites falling
through an endless orbit,
maple keys twisting
in a circular wind.

From blue to infinite
blue runs the main
street of our little town,

atop the hill, a seven
block stretch of 66.

The bored teenage years,
on long, thin Saturday afternoons,
we would drive the highway
as far as half our gas money
would  take us and stare
down the line of road

until the distant sky
appeared a lake, the bank of cloud
like mountains beyond
rising to a higher sky.

There was a fire
in my chest back then:

the burn is gone,
but the light remains.


Benjamin Myers' second book, Lapse Americana, will be published by New York Quarterly Books in February of 2013. His first book, Elegy for Trains, won the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry. His poems appear in Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Measure, The Iron Horse Literary Review, and many other journals. He teaches literature and poetry writing at Oklahoma Baptist University.

I wrote 'Going Far' for my old high school buddies, trying to recapture the paradoxical combination of promise and hopelessness we felt coming of age in small-town Oklahoma. The constant but purposeless motion of our “cruising” about in cars seemed to me then, and seems to me now, an exterior manifestation of our inner lives. I have now returned to raise my own children in that same town, and I tried to end the poem with a sense of acceptance, an indication that a limitation can also be an asset, in a qualified way.



Copyright 2009