Coasting

 

STEPHEN GIBSON is a poet. In 1996 he co-founded the arts magazine Mobile City, which has since been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, and on NPR’s Morning Edition. Stephen’s poems have been published in literary journals such as Ploughshares, the Boston Review, and Gargoyle. He has read at a wide variety of venues including the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, Sarah Lawrence College, the New York Public Library’s Writers at noon reading series, and the Blabbermouth Reading Series, which he coordinated from 1994–2004.

 

COASTING

Tonight, riding home, I keep looking up at the distant radio towers,

and watching the red lights flash on and off over the city and the hills.

As I ride, the Summer night is just beginning around me. And I like

it, this overlapping hour between coming home and going out, the

hour of cars circling the blocks in search of parking, of laughter from

rooftop restaurants, and music that echoes into the street from open

bar room doors. Downtown, people are still walking to their subway

stops, while behind them the internally lit office buildings are becoming

palaces- block after block of burning light simmering toward a brown-

out. I ride hard through traffic, noticing turn signals, smelling the pollen

in the air, and wondering to myself what is important in this world?

At this moment someone I know might be lifting money from their

wallet at a crowded happy hour, or staring at closed storefronts filled

with fashion magazines and other attention getting devices. I am seek-

ing to find the meaning below the static of the merchandise. Then, at

the top of the rise, I stop pedaling and let myself coast down the last

avenue. Overhead, the sequences click on. Click off. I can see the sunset

like a forest fire slow-walking across the suburbs beyond the river, head-

ing west. “Touch me now in this fading light…” might be words to a

song I would like to hear right now, or they might be words I want

to say to you when we are lying together in the darkness, and the night

is cool across the city once again. Click on, and I am coming. Click off,

I’m almost there.

 

-Stephen Gibson 2001

 

Published: June 2nd, 2011

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Coul-O-Phobia