(after Chapter 15 of "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck)


Cars whisking by on 66,

Languid, heat-raddled ladies

With a thousand accoutrements,

Oils, creams, powders, colours and pills

To beautify and to make the bowels move,

A bag of bottles, jellies and potions to make

Sexual intercourse safe, odourless and unproductive.


Lines of weariness around the eyes,

Breasts lying heavy in little hammocks,

Lines of discontent down from the mouth,

Stomachs and thighs straining against cases of rubber.

Disliking sun and wind and earth,

Resenting food and weariness

Hating time that rarely makes them beautiful

And always makes them old.


Beside them, little pot-bellied men,

In light suits and panama hats,

Clean, pink men with worried eyes,

Wanting to think their lives are rich,

Instead of the thin tiresome routines they know,

And that a time is coming when

They will not be afraid any more.


He with his worried eyes and

She thinking how the sun will dry her skin.

They drink a five cent soda and crab

That it isn't cold enough.

The woman uses six paper napkins,

And drops them on the floor.

The car disappears in a swirl of dust.

Cars whisking by on 66.


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