Magic Carpet

On a windy day in March,
we stop at a Chevy dealership
near Orbisonia, Pennsylvania,
for a closer look at an enormous American flag
on a too-short pole. It seems intent
on demonstrating some elemental
principle of travel.

As we watch, completely straight & sober
but feeling more stoned by the minute,
it becomes a country unto itself,
complete with its own square of sky.
Slow waves of wind beginning
out among the stars find endless,
inventive ways to pass through the striped field,
the alternating strips of crop and fallow
following the contours of a land
continually in flux, like a farmer’s dream
of swimming deep into the soil.

The medium becomes the only message.
And anti-nationalist that I am, I find
I would almost pledge allegiance
to this well-made thing
& the wind that gives it another, freer kind of life.
Where were we going, again?
We both agree we could sit here all day,
if it weren’t for the likelihood that sooner
or later someone would report us
to the police for suspicious activity.
We pull gingerly back
onto the old blue road.


I’m mining the Via Negativa archive for poetic material. This derives from a 2005 post, Stars and stripes.

Series Navigation← HomileticsWhen the Wind is Southerly →

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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