North Dakota to Minnesota to Wisconsin

My hands are cracked and wind burned, bleeding. My eyes heavy and blackened, have expanded from the freezing temperatures, and keep rolling out of my head. The fog is coming in, a mist over my eye sockets. It’s hard to remember where I come from and where I’m going.

The highway is a man of 18 wheelers and RVs and grays and silences and cold. I have no women left to nurture me. No women but myself. The highway is a man. But it gives me privacy, no one to run into at campsites, rest stops, bathrooms. No women journeying this road. All the women are making phone calls, writing letters, and holding the world up by strings.

~

A Minnesota liquor store, with its overpriced wine from California, and nothing from Washington, is all it takes to cheer me up. I settled on an Australian Shiraz as I listened to a Saint Paul t.v. program talk about a pickled corpse from Jamaica, found in a barrel of rum.

~

Driving through Duluth, Minnesota, Bob Dylan’s hometown—a gray hillside Lake Superior city as ancient as Athens—I flipped through the FM dial and found a community station playing nothing but Dylan. It was magic; the old songs had the same melody, but the words had changed and spoke directly to me. Bob Dylan was coming out of the radio telling me you’re on the right track, you’re gonna be fine.

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