To Sing Along the Way
People I don’t know
love motels. People
I don’t know love chlorine;
hundreds and thousands of people
I know and don’t know
love motel pools, whirlpools,
hot tubs, saunas.
People I love, people who love
me, those people love room service.
intellectual weight: the idea of a phone,
wires, another phone, then food arriving.
Preposterous and sexual.
Sexy, like those bathing suits
you only wear in pools
in motels in Montreal, or
pools in Shawnee Mission, any pool
where no one you know will walk by
and know you.
Loving motels means loving
what has not rooted in your spirit.
Loving motels is loving
your very own ice bucket,
and the special shapes the ice takes,
is loving the shining cans of pop
sinking through the melting ice,
the sound aluminum makes
while you pretend to sleep,
is loving the hidden air conditioners
and the cable TV shows, and is
letting no one else, not even someone
you love, use your own wrapped
bar of soap, or your own little pack
of ten-months-old Sanka
or the sweet little hot plate
that just fits the baby coffee pot.
People like me and including me
love motels for the white towels
which remind us of something large
we have lost somewhere. We love
the deep shag carpet we would hate
at home. We love the key,
the number, the simple locks,
not like home where locks are hard,
needing a hip thrown against
the door, the dead bolt really dead,
we love the simple key with the simple
plastic shape: sometimes a fish,
sometimes a smooth, beige oval,
sometimes, if we’re lucky,
a shamrock, a clover, a doll or a dog.
We love motels for letting us
drive up, we get our own parking place
automatically, then we get love-
making that is not connected
to our own bed’s history,
and besides the white towels
we get white sheets
which we all love and never buy.
We get left alone,
we get the feeling of being alone,
and we need American to leave us
alone in the motels.