Quick Trip, by Geoffrey G. O’Brien

Sign in to access Harper’s Magazine

Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?

  1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
  2. Select Email/Password Information.
  3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.

Locked out of your account? Get help here.

Subscribers can find additional help here.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!

Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.
Subscribe for Full Access
Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99.

By Geoffrey G. O’Brien, from Literary Hub. O’Brien is the author of four books of poetry, including, most recently, People on Sunday (Wave Books).

It was just a time of matter, that zone
Between running and stopping
Bred of gas and twilight
Where all speech is eloquent
As the outlines of cars and stores.
Always just twilight, hence speech
Always eloquent, caught between
Massing and dispersal. The oppressed
Possess the eloquence of eloquence
While you others have its awkwardness.
I hear fall will come, but not for any of us.
I hear it will be here, but not as we
Would have it, a burning tire,
Driverless rains that seem commanded
Because of such economy as is.
All scenes are hunting scenes.
There’s no good way to be, we must
Not say so. Nothing to do
But kick yourself down the service road,
A forgotten lane, flat on the ground
Or against a brick wall, slammed there
Temporarily, rights draining
Like a crowd gone quiet, so it is said.
Poetry would have you believe that
Words are acronyms while the state
That acronyms are words. You can’t
Yet be rescued from this earth.
So the suburbs politely burn
And the ring road, the QTs.
It will happen again means
The bad is still happening and the good
At least one street over
Wherever that loud bass is,
A verdict known before it comes.
I hear of it from as far as my lap.

More from