There’s more dead animals than you’d think along the Eisenhower Interstate System.
At one point yesterday, between Erie and Toledo, I thought I was driving along a deer cemetery. Reminded me of of Ginsberg’s great poem, A Supermarket in California. (It’s one of my favorites, and I pretty much share it every semester with my students–California, as well as his straight-forward instructions for Ways to Revise a Poem.)
Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados–babies in the tomators!–and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I think it’s the images of long unfettered aisles, peopled in Ginsberg’s imagination by husbands and babies (in my own memory, a family of four dead deer) that calls up the comparison. Totally disparate things, I know, but maybe it’s the dislocation of road travel that creates these odd juxtapositions. You’re not tethered by the quotidian when you’re on the road: no bills, no garbage day, no arm draped on the refrigerator door, hoping a hot meal will magically spring to life. You’re more prone to free-association when you’re driving. To daydreaming. And to creating patterns and meaning unbound by minutes and hours, or the chatter of others.
I took the photo above on my way out of Ithaca. What’s so surprising to me is not the fact of the roadkill–I am thankful and humbled by the employees of the Ithaca Department of Public Works–it’s just the method of transportation that’s a shocker. Living in Boston, in the concrete heart of it all, you don’t find yourself following dump trucks with dead deer hanging off the back.
N.B.: The Big Boy in the title of this post refers to the 24-hour restaurant connected to my hotel, not a self-anointed nickname.