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Gregory Woods


This beautiful road. Where does it go?

When it gets there will it still be beautiful
or will it have strayed, as tends to be the case
in this piss-take of reality, into suburban sprawl—
all gas stations, porn warehouses, and chapels of rest?

And will the ‘there’ it gets to | be worth having got to,
worth the worn-down clutch, the nerves frazzled
by that accident black spot on the hairpin above
the ravine, worth the passive-aggressive satnav?

There’s a scary moment when, hitting seventy
with the roof down, it all goes blurry and you forget—
I forget what. You might consider dredging up
a line or two of prayer from childhood, meek and mild.

Will it still be beautiful when you ease yourself out
of the driver’s seat in a layby for an urgent comfort break?
Will there be orange-cowled lizards and oleanders?
Will there be bullet holes in the rusted road signs?

I know a thing or two about beauty, of course,
don’t we all? You can have too much of a good
thing. Sunsets, harmony, daffodils. Bloody panoramas.
Me, I like to go indoors and deprive all the senses.

When I finally work out how to open the door
of my hotel room, I find the wi-fi has plugged into
some foreign power’s intelligence service
and in the disco-lights of the minibar it’s beginning

to rain. I telephone the breakdown people.


Copyright © Gregory Woods, 2022


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