ROCK ISLAND PAVANNE   
 
You know how the transcontinental out of Chicago glides into a landscape that looks so much like the map you wonder which came first -- a geometric grid the color of corn stubble, grim solstice-grey old black-and-white TV-land from the observation car, one after another poor hick town flicks past between plastic coffee and stale insomniac cigarette smoke -- & you wonder what would happen if you just got off the train in one of these dorfs: a negro porter standing in the black cold snow helps you down onto the cinders, the train pulls out into railroadland, no one's there, the station's been torn down, long slow freights clank past towards Iowa, the fastfood restaurants are closing for the night -- and you know that in all these shopping- mall farmer-frame-house rigid December Bored-Again Xtian towns there must be boys with names like Jimmy & Joey -- let's say one of them is almost eight, raggedy-kneed blue- jeans & an old slouch tweed cap, hair & eyes both the same soft Venetian brown, body svelte as a Caravaggio urchin-cherub -- and the other ten-&-a-half, huge slightly crazy green eyes, world record eyelashes, hair the color of Lindisfarne-gospel goldleaf -- wild enthusiasts, boastful liars, agents of chaos, cuddle-monsters, extortionists of toys & favors, fancy-dancers, dirty jokesters, natural-born exiles from the Mundus Imaginalis -- right! there must be millions like them in these frozen flatlands, millions of secret epiphanies in thousands of icy boxy little houses at every point of the night-whistle-echoing nation -- but imagine just this once instead of staying on the Wabash Cannonball or whatever Zephyr you disembark just here & now & finally penetrate the mystery of these lost-town boys who might have waited unknowingly forever for someone to notice their beauty, might have grown old and heavy, square & dull without ever communicating their dirty-sweet fragrance & sheer unreasoning joy to a single poet -- but this time you finally get off the train in this godforsaken grain-embargoed cowburg -- and thanks to the whim of some nearly defunct amerindian pagan-pervert genius locii this time at last you get to meet Jimmy & a Joey who are precisely as imagined, feed them cheeseburgers & pink shakes & bribe them with action-figures & gum, these two microcosms, these two fire-clowns -- so that all of us in a moment of mutual unspoken relief at this shattering of worshipful destinies, all of us suddenly gracefully have to embrace & kiss, kiss chaste & cool on the lips & grin like bobcats for this fortunate derailment, this whistle-stop this milk-run, this hobo's muscatel-dream, this poetico- revolutionary action that somehow forever changes the energy gradient -- however slightly, no matter what, no matter who knows or even remembers, absolutely, unconditionally, nostalgically, painfully, permanently.

"Hakim Bey"