Turnpike

Pops told me
pack light and travel vague.
Never park under a streetlamp or near
a sliding glass door. Keep nothing
in the trunk but a winch.
Keep the belt on and idle.

He said, the most
nondescript towns, sparkle
as they may, are dangerously mired
in rumor and the best motels
have sticky rugs — they’re honest,
nap-rated and unclean:

Some keys are seedy
but a big blue tag is pocket safe.
Stay away from the magnetic
stripe, it knows your name and
cash is the parlance of silence,
a worthy exchange,

Tender as the mercy
of a first dog or a hesitant kiss.
He said sleep when sleep calls,
eat the beans first and don’t fill up
on bread and soup don’t travel
well and ice is hard on the teeth.

He said don’t be fooled by the gear,
entertainments don’t last that long.
He said marry ugly, early
and wash your hands, boy,
wash your hands, your mother
will get along just fine.

Image: Nicolas Cool on Unsplash

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