The Jack of Diamonds Goes to Silo-Land

Originally appeared in Heaven Bone, Issue #11, Spring 1994


The Jack of Diamonds goes to silo-land

To fill his grainery-juke box with horseradish

Passing chess figures of railroads

And electronic fields of wintergreen nostalgia

Where farms become passports to inter-dimensional play

He shakes his vest at maps of pink lightning

Parenthesis in a sermon of UFOs registered in Greece and the Texas panhandle

Here is Highway 54

Skirting the grasslands of Comanche thunder and horsewhipped flowers

Mimicking the dreamy smirk of choo-choos full of dairy schemes

The Jack booms like a hillside of bullhorns

Rattling suspenders in barbershop backrooms and splitting shutters in Mullinsville

His jangling chest nothing more than a bellows slung with harmonicas in crystal

His mincing eyeballs spangled with crayons and shards of geological passion

Auditing the inventory of towns in their hick-finery

In the name of his vermilion lordship's drive

To make cyclonic love to Kansas



Rouge silo

Silo of diamonds

Silo of tetrachords pleated with cherry lumber

Silo riddled with winds of fruit kisses and carpentry

Hugging its grain like a bed heaped with antique postcards

Telescoping the plains through peepholes of freckled amber

This is Jack's jeweled tower

His radar toy and homecoming transmitter

Station of barbecue dreams

Were carillons of tears are free to shine

His vehicle whirs with invisible ice

Freezing its wheel through his neon gloves

Jerking from ditch to crop and back again

To the rolling spine of Highway 54

Beaming fodder-in-the-shock through his library of memories

Hearts of alfalfa pulsing in carnation pages

Springing to caress his concertina face across the decades

Now the wheel manhandles his passion

Churning it by the bloody decibel

His hard-on no more than a ghost bucking reincarnation

His belly a blue juke box sputtering sequins and candles of burning wine

His eyes about to shatter into stained glass orchestras

No longer to monitor the crimson surge of prairie and silage

But he loves his terror

Remembering that life pole vaults to more life

Clacking the chapters into endless freight trains

Fear now boiling his corduroy skin at the stitches

His heartbeat about to lose itself in a crescendo of mellotrons

Set free in one galvanic thrust…

Oh rouge silo

Vermilion station

Kiss the hand of our transcendent Jack



After the crash

He drifts

A fuchsia doily of the hinterlands

Like a radiator of chiffon

Or crepe paper stencil graded for destiny

The sun is a set of watercolors bleeding in chalk

And with it goes the Great Plains

One more time he sees that green swell tickling with farms

Before falling through sound-novels

Past hints of galaxies

And classrooms of the dead

Somewhere Pike's Peak brushes an ocean with its buffalo

In turn colliding with a desert of dormitories

He knows the shift is not of Kansas or Colorado

That it was never a question of geography

Or even of once disparate planets

But of teleported capsules

Encoded with travel charts

A final guide to the frequencies

Looping him homeward

David Thomas Roberts (1990)

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