Fighting the Static

Marlena Chertock
10/17/10

Revision:

The static wakes me every thirty minutes,
in-between falling back
and realizing where we are. In Virginia
the radio signals must be more
spread out,
the signs are.

He’s driving me down to North Carolina,
because he won’t let me drive. Maybe he doesn’t trust his life
in my hands. Sometimes we reach spots where the music
cuts off,
with a sharp spike. Each time he starts singing
every fifth word of an eighties tune,
the static creeps up through the potholes in the road and
the distance
from the signal. Reception begins
to fade as we drive on and my eyelids get heavier.

If I put my hand in front
of the radio display, it frightens the static off,
maybe for a few seconds longer. We try anything to
fight it off.
Silence we can’t bear, but mostly we can’t even
talk to each other
or the cashier who rings up our chips, in the gas station,
so we play music.

I want him to stop
twisting the volume knob when we’re talking
about something he doesn’t want to,
the sound climbing and falling drastically, his
inability to talk
for longer than a few minutes makes me wish the static would stop invading
the music.
I want to talk to him, have a conversation where he listens. I want to tell him
we’re losing, the static will soon permanently take hold,
but the static acts like a sedative on me,
rumble, crackle, pop, hiss
my lullaby,
trees and light poles flashing by
my mobile
hanging over my crib.

***

Sometimes the static wakes me every thirty
minutes, in-between falling
back and realizing where
we are. In Virginia
the radio signals must be more spread out,
the signs are, and the gas pumps like honey
drips off a spoon and
into a cup of tea.

Sometimes we reach spots where the music cuts
off, with a sharp spike in
muffled mumbles and distorted decibels.
Static crackles through the speakers, we can’t recognize
our music. Each time we start singing,
the static creeps
up through the potholes in the road and the distance
from the signal. Reception begins
to fade as we drive on
and my eyelids get heavier.

Sometimes if I put my hand in front
of the radio display, it frightens the static off,
maybe for a few seconds longer. We try
anything to fight
off the static. Silence
we can’t bear, so we play music, sometimes we can’t even
talk to each other or the cashier
who rings up our chips, in the gas station.
The discordance of quiet
and our hectic lifestyles interferes
in our minds, keeps us awake
at night, or on long car rides.

Sometimes I want them to play monotonous
songs, so I won’t be woken up,
but they like playing
rap, it keeps them accelerated,
prepares them for long drives.
Sometimes I want to tell them
we’re losing, the static
will soon permanently take hold,
but the static acts
like a sedative on me,
rumble, crackle, pop, hiss
my lullaby,
trees and light poles flashing by
my mobile
hanging over my crib.

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