In Houston

This is what it means to be a child of ten-lane freeways

Wide eyes rising to meet billboards of smoky eyes, always blue

Glazed and mascara’d, tilted up at impossible angles—

Simple, aimless. Shining eyes giving direction

To the unmarked boxes where desire lives

Always on the outskirts of town

Never far from the skyline, polished gleam of energy

Which, as an industry, is just a kind way of saying

The same cowboy deals we’ve been doing

Since the derricks were still onshore.

Driving in the country, we’d watch the pumps rise and fall

Like resting breath. We’d chant their names

Like zen koans. Our parents joined in, and we were all so happy

Because we could live well, down there on the bayou

And when we slept, we dreamed of money

Everything bought and paid for with the corporate card

And a company car to drive. How we might live

In the shining buildings with more of it, with their doormen and their cool tile floors.

Awake, I dreamed of ways to get there. I wished for blue eyes

To look up at someone, with just the right amount of longing

(an act practiced long enough to feel real,) to suggest

Desire, want, whatever a man might need.

Behind that: power greater than money or God

And all the good Christian values in the whole damn town.

So simple a child could understand it in a trip down the I-45 Beltway.

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