A Lonely Road

from by Jordan O'Jordan

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A lonely road, headed out just to end in some strip mall mine,
Two stalwart kids, heading eastward to try out their luck again.
What did we expect—this was not a land that would have welcomed us.
Just a mountain range, just your basic plains, just some burning bush.

Were we fools to go? Was there nothing to be gained from such ordeal?
Was it our shallow pride? Or was it high time we swallowed that bitter pill?
Did we honestly think we’d make it home without some stupid scars?
Or was that our goal? We would mark up our skin just to prove it’s ours.

In a rental car, headed south toward the glint of Las Vegas sand,
You did turn to me, and with gravity, said, “Jordan, I’m your friend.
And we will never stop throwing ourselves at life, like some reckless stunt.
There are truths we may or may never know friend—and that is the point.”

“But here’s the trick:” you said, “Failure’s not just the thing that you thought it’d be.
It’s a weird specter, yes. But its shadows have shadows that multiply.
And behind the fear that you thought was the worst that you’d ever feel,
Lies another door, and behind that lurk things far more fearsome still.”

But then like an angel sent straight from the Heartland, our car radio played Dolly Parton.
She sang songs of assurance where folks tend to endure, further urging us to get shit started.
And we both knew, in this moment of grace that there are times in life when we must face facts,
Although events go awry, we can't help but to try: like some greyhound let loose on life’s racetrack.

In an all-night buffet, we were shocked by the sight of such bounty laid
In that bleak basement hall; neon tubes buzzed a chorus from every side.
There I made a vow to you, our sole witness an ancient soft-serve machine:
That I would attempt to know that bright diamond that glitters in every being.

You saw my bet, and you raised it a bit with your own reply:
You said, “I promise, friend, I will strive to hold on to uncertainty.
And then, furthermore, I’ll admit there are lands that weren’t built for us.
But I won’t quit this quest to search out my own personal paradise.”

You gave a kiss to me on my cheek, then my forehead, and then my mouth,
At that casino bar, then you slipped from your stool and you headed south.
But as you turned to go, you said, “Don’t worry friend, I will see you soon,
In that last light of day, in that wine-dark sea, at your new Midwest home.”

So, I departed, too. I caught a plane to a place where I had grown up.
Although, I still don’t know if such actions amount to a forward step.
But sometimes I hear your voice, saying, “Friend, it’s not ends that we’re aiming for.
Each day’s a pane of glass, and even stacked back-to-back: Time is still fragile, dear.”

Each day’s a pane of glass, and even stacked back-to-back: Time is still fragile, dear.


from Through Tough Thoughts, released August 19, 2016



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Jordan O'Jordan Seattle, Washington

These are the sounds that we use to woo water. Issuing forth from some human or other (i.e. Hydrogen bonding; banjo- and heart-strings).

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