I am driving down the interstate

In search of love and understanding

I am driving to the airport in far off Syracuse

And I am hoping love and understanding are like salvation

And will ease my aching bones

And redeem my aching soul.

 

I am flying on an airplane

Like wings on the prayer I’m sending

I’m heading east toward the sun

To whom I’ll offer my acceptance

Whose head I’ll bless like Eprhraim and Manasseh

And hold my hands to hover o’er the burning heat.

 

I am travelling in taxis to my destination

And free to look around

As if this trip is nothing

As if I am a tired tourist

Moving slowly through the dark

Toward the fourth floor walkup where I will rest.

 

And I am riding subways

In blackened tunnels underground

The lights just flashing as the iron track is rumbled

By the rolling iron wheels

That screech their warning to the world:

I am coming to pierce your heart of dark and secret.

 

And I am walking in your deepest canyons

Framed by concrete mountains

And all who scurry on the ground

And we are talking saying nothing

But moving air from cave to cave

And stumbling on our wearied feet to skirt the deeper truths.

 

And I see the bums just picking garbage

I meet artists selling photos and sitting on their art

I watch the pencillers creating portraits

And the rich man selling carrot peelers to the poor.

I salute the salesmen in their sweat suits

And greet the greeters in the apple store.

 

We rest in restaurants and eat in cafes in the village

We see the hipsters in their sunglasses

Sitting on the sidewalk sipping coffee

And glimpse our reflection in their lenses

The rigor mortis of our smiling

Now showing too much teeth.

 

 

Just to prolong our search for truth, we ride a ferry back and forth

We go out to find it in the sea breeze blowing

Or in the salt spray of the wake

And the silent islands devoid of people

Or the seagulls just hovering out of reach

Like truth itself and love and our own real essence.

 

But we must walk still further to shake our tongues

Out of their accustomed path.

So we ramble through the forest in the middle,

We run through exhibits at the Met,

We wander up the West side

And visit Soho, Tribeca and the Blue Note.

 

Until we finally sit in the park at NYU

And say what’s on our minds.

We hug and kiss and say, “I love you.”

And we know this is the centre of our visit.

This is the holy grail that I’ve come seeking

This is what my son’s been waiting for.

 

And we are so happy and so light

And my son is radiant, beaming as he says he’ll see me in an hour after class.

Then I’m alone and reading how a father’s acts can shape his children

In ways that are as unintended as a swallowed grape you can’t unswallow.

And what has our moment of mutual acceptance left us?

And are we better when we know each other’s truths?

 

And then my son comes opaque as leather.

His face is smiling like a cat’s

And I wonder if that is my face also.

At the very core of who we are,

We cannot live in constant naked truth.

It burns and freezes like the ice.

 

And then I’m driving up the interstate

Heading home alone in moving lonely landscape

The trees ripe red with death and dying and down payments on next spring’s  life.

Love and understanding are like salvation that comes and goes

Like the aching of my bones as long as I am living

Like the joy and sadness that twist together in my soul.