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April 11, 2023

Wildcat Canyon

Youssef Alaoui
Wildcat Canyon

Like a blotted circle in a crusty ash tray

the moon is out and we drive to chase it

across the bridge and into the night

roll down the window I need to puke

I leave pink racing stripes down the side

of your ripped up four door

these drugs set my teeth on edge

I can hardly feel them

your radio sucks like always can

we listen to that old station from the forties

not top forty? you say the forties

gives you the creeps

all whites there’s no going back there, man

no I say but the times we know better

but we don’t know you say we don’t

know any better than we did and when

I say we I do not mean we but I mean

our country tis of them not thee or me

it’s their memory even in the days of memory

they were remembering other memories

and you speed up the curvy mountain road

toward the clouds yes now I just wish it would

rain like it did when we were young

when that storm asked to come in all night

but I was too afraid to answer

so alone after they cut my arm

on the way home from school

and you swerve to avoid a deer

with your headlights off

stop the car stop the car I say

but you keep going and the mountain

will never end so I am going to build

a fort back here and light a candle

for me to stare at then close my eyes

and hope my brain stops spinning

as my breaths become lives and I

become one with the speeding car

and the night and through me these

breaths pass and you aren’t looking

for the end of that crazy road wandering

up to the sky in the deep of the dark

not at all and I give up wanting

I think of the lives I am breathing

in and out in my fort of coats and dead bags

taking account of the lungs this air has

passed through in a day and I feel a

state of grace swell within me

releasing all artificial guilts

so meaningless and at last you

park the car by tugging the e-brake

cranking the wheel hard left

we slide in a spiral

I am thrown against the door

losing more of that take-out dinner

when I realize

your friends and family will leave you

one by one until finally you die.

You know that, right?

*first published in Racket Journal, October 2020

Youssef Alaoui is Moroccan/ Colombian American, born in California. The Alaoui-Fdilis are originally from Fez. His family is today mostly in Casablanca and Rabat. His family and heritage are an endless source of inspiration for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings.

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