—Fresno, CA

Smog-checked knots of workweek exhaust gather here,
Commute in accidental carpools

With fear, reserve tribal-fueled response
Raw power converts to hate: all makes,

Models, road-trip fast lanes stalled stock-still
As gridlocked dinosaur fossils, smug

Compact rentals drive-thru hunger steers
Towards one more near-extinct gas station

Gone dirt-cheap off-ramp watering hole
Where spent caravans of mass

Convenience collide head-on with time-
Stripped gears, cups of fair trade, hope

Rage crude as oil will clutch, spill over
This desert waste-dump souls lost as us call home…

So, hell yes, bless each mirage, speed-trap
Parking slot, even gunned engines of idle

Progress redneck war vets kill to throw shade, spit
Date-rape punchlines, or else crack

Hack faith-based jokes at clerks in turbans,
Citizens bigots lit on drugstore spirits

Bypass out of pride, their own wrecked states,
Misguided bankrupt inheritance of god-

Forsaken slurs muttered like free-verse
Prayer: dipshit, sand nigger, terrorist…

Jesus, fellow patrons, discount addicts, just
Let kneejerk habit repair mistakes, forget

Its low-tar cigarettes, racked pocketknives, blood-
Shot dreamcatchers, jugs of mist-

Blue cleaning fluid collecting dust
Like sunburnt rain gutters outside public rest-

Room doors marked: Out of Order
Long enough to ignore billfold maps, six-packs

Of scratch-off tickets, mule-gray sky caught between
Camelback foothills… at least try to help fix

Broke pit-stop valleys of graveyard parts, unless
Empty ashtray violence, tanks remain

All dead-air schedules want faults to fill
Before this homeless man runs hard pitch-

Black hands through his licorice-whip hair, sleep-
Walks barefoot across another motel lot,

Disappears in clear rearview mirror blind-spots
Against swing-shift fists quick as chitchat,

As folks charge beef-jerky links, take hits
Off energy drinks, ask eyewitness

Privilege for spare change, till second thoughts
Race such checkered pasts, face these tireless

Flags of white lies, guilt, facts self-service
Silence turns to profit, none of our business.