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The Guy Who Passed Me Doing 90 MPH and Playing the Trumpet

by Jay Rogoff

Left hand in charge of steering, his right on the
valves, lips compressed-how could his embouchure
hold firm in thruway traffic?-why this
lunatic didn't create fresh carnage

beats me; the speeding jerks on their yammering
cell phones lead sainted lives by comparison.
I love that blessed solitude while
driving, that heavenly, insulated

half hour or so so quiet except for the
car wheels revolving, turning the world under-
foot. Cool and modern, hot, baroque, or
classical? Armstrong or Miles or Purcell?

So What? Or Copland's Fanfare? Or Taps for those
cut down like grain as Gabriel harvests his
highway? Yes, Taps for everybody
jamming the planet, those half a dozen

more horn-men blowing up the proverbial
storm, burning ancient charts in a riff like an
X-ray whose tonic revelation
rouses the dead to the flame of sunrise.


Jay Rogoff’s new book of poems, The Long Fault, will be published by LSU Press early in 2008. His previous books include The Cutoff (1995) and How We Came to Stand on That Shore (2003). He has recent work in The Kenyon Review, Literary Imagination, Notre Dame Review, Salmagundi, The Southern Review, and several other journals. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. (4/2007)

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