Not the wild wind whooping into the Great Plains
or grappling over the Savannahs.
We have arrived at dusk:
Memphis Duluth Boise Prescott Dodge City
In our pocket the white citizens’ key to Texarcana.
At the Elks Lodge
we have been given the Street Guide to the city of Spokane.
We wander across from the bus station into downtown L.A.
into the small park
where the sodium vapor lamps
have turned the banana leaves blue
the color of vomit.
Old people are playing shuffleboard.
A faggot in a puce cap directs us to the town Footlocker
where we check our bags prior to registering at the “Y”
where we are to stay for the next year.
Under the Spanish moss municipal organ music is concealed.
–from Slow Newsreel of Man Riding Train, by Robert Nichols (City Lights Books, 1962)