out there in jersey
out of AC, the satellites
three square miles each, little groupings
moving like bacteria and multiplying around each casino resort
the sad drooping screen of a drive-in theater in the absecon swamp
a hobo camp overlooking an atv track
old smithville, and all the horrible memories with it
birch grove with its infinite secret trails and memories of orange bricks and stars against the dark blue sky
but away now, two lines parallel all down the shore
no man's land south of ocean city with the unending spinning of the white rusted ferris wheels and crusty splintery boardwalk
often found ourselves wondering who even lived down there
the empty mysterious houses of marmora
the isolated cold salty air of strathmere
a strange bluegreen lagoon between avalon and swainton
the endless streets crossing the three stone harbor avenues
the flat faded hell of north wildwood
the long lonely drive into west cape may
and back up, up through the pink and purple victorian houses
through crumbling antique stores with leaky roofs
past old women in fleece to miami beach
past dennis, past maurice, past lawrence
to those in orbit around vineland
200-year-old duplexes in brigeton near the jail
the winding developments in upper deerfield
to one of many franklins
seeing in the far distance the vastness of hammonton
even off to the west in sad, empty salem
looking across to wilmington, chester, finally at philly
standing on the broadness of mlk, beside walt, facing toward bb&t
stark shadows in the mind of blasted speakers and ringing ears
memories of a fight broken outside a godsmack show between an alt girl and a bigoted preacher shouting through a megaphone
listening in the cool night, the sun setting behind the brotherly city
but away now, through the puzzle of cherry hill
plazas and stroads, PF changs and goodwill lighting the dark highway
off to the barrens, the seedy center
the ever growing, sadly shrinking mouth of the pines
jersey's stomach grumbling and swaying in the wind
to tom's river to brick, back out to the sea
storming normandy, the thin barrier floating between jersey and the world
the tiny waterways of anchorage
quickly now, shooting back across through jackson
195 all the way to trenton
a garden of dreamlike statues
a stop at a hookahshop before the long latenite drive past the dimming white porch lights
following the wires and street lamps now through princeton toward the brunswicks
the red rutger bricks, the gray raritan waters
separating us from this the real north, the skull
and departing now again, to the east, the amboys
the wide wide turnpike reaching across the river, the firt glimpes of new york in the far fog
ghost of the amboy cinemas laying in its footprint
elizabth holding hands with hillside holding hands with springfield holding hands with invington holding hands with union, the water sphere wathcing over the whole state
to the busy clangs of newark
buildings like smoke stacks piling on one another caked in soot
clawing and clinfing to the passaic
looking back at the towering center from harrison, and get on fish house road just for the view, then to jersey city
that terrible magnetic peninsula
down west side, to the BP, the shawarma truck, china garden, state liquor, sammy on the register
pot smoke wafting up from west campus village, and again on audubon, and again on fulton, and again down on avenue c
but away again, this time with muddy boots and longjohns
out, northwest
the derelict baseball stadium in patterson overlooking the waterfall
the gates of hell in clifton
the forgotten water treatment plant in oradell wiht a thousand pigeons
the old rusting water tower overlooking lake denmark surrounded by sinking contaminated silos
more, further past sparta to another franklin
to the gingerbread castle, its hidden depths
to the poor bear's mausoleum
and further still to hi point
to climb the tower and look back upon this state
its ceaseless rivers, its shallow rolling hills
its dark forgotten buildings rusting among the trees
its winding arterial roads tattooing the landscape
its gray forgetting beaches
its sky the only sky