Highways I’ve Heard from my Bedroom Window

On sleepless summer nights
Through screens which failed
To keep out dreaded mosquitos
Hovering just above my head
The evil whine of wings behind
An insistent dog bark
I won't look at the clock
But I will go back in time
To 11 Boxwood Avenue when I-95 was less than a mile
From my bedroom window
That marvel of Cold War infrastructure
Connecting Maine to Florida
Through Boston and New York
But here outside Providence
Travelers speed as fast as possible to get through on the way to bigger better places
Me, too.

I'm in mountains of Colorado
At 107 Pawnee Avenue in Manitou
At the foot of Pikes Peak
Highway 24 winds through Ute Pass
Up above my window
Drivers downshift to ascend the steep grade
Transmissions whirring and whineing in the pitch of mosquito wings
Travelers forever climbing
Me, too.

5912 Genoa Street, across the street from Lois the Pie Queen in Oakland California, like most things in California,
surrounded by highways.
I-80, the Bay Bridge crossing to San Francisco is less than a mile away, awaiting an earthquake.
Berkeley is even closer,
Gunshhots and sirens, and the silence of the homeless under the bridges,seeking shelter.
Me, too.

Then to 1760 N. Washington Street, Denver, between 17th and 18th, one way streets just north of Colfax, the original I-70, heading west and raising spirits up and up for weeks in the mountains,climb and ski and bike and find and seek higher peaks before storms gather and lightning strikes trees in two.
Me, too.

Calle del Emperador, Valencia, third floor, the window is really two wooden doors, ceiling to floor, then the same but panes of glass, opening onto a balcony overlooking the downtown pedestrian street, bars and shops and crowded tables, a constant hum of animated conversation I don't understand and clinking glasses being delivered or retrieved by ambivalent waiters. Not really a highway. No screens. It's not exactly a window, either. It's a completely different world. I slept there for four years, but didn't sleep much. Views of concrete on the other side of the street and fleeting glimpses into other people's lives. I was three blocks from City Hall Plaza, worked there, too. Took trains and planes to Brussels, London and Paris, Vilnius, Quebec and Sevilla as an international publishing editor. Have you ever believed dreams were coming true, even though they weren't?
Me, too.

Married with children, three in four years, the domesticated routine of settling down and slipping into middle age half asleep, the other half hearing distant voices, maybe my own, come then go, a child's cries, the rip of some idiot's moto, an endless parade of garbage trucks lifting all that trash up and away, car horns calling for yet another idiot who has double parked and left the hand brake on so it can't be pushed out of the way, the hydraulic hiss of city bus brakes at the stop across the street, the ambulances screaming to the new hospital, and the endless mudslide of cars on Peris and Veloro coming across the bridge locals call the Scalextric, the newsagent and bar beneath the window push open their metal blinds at the same time each morning, facing the day to day grind and routine of making a living, living a life distant and disconnected, on Calle Inginiero Joaquín Benlloch.
Me, too.

My bedroom is a tent. There is a screen door with a zipper. There is no sound besides bugs, birds, wind and distant surf eroding the shore of the sea. The sea is a highway in many ways. Travellers connecting deeply, then moving on.
But not me.

I like it here, with memories of highways I've heard from bedroom windows of my past. The bedrooms and windows left behind. The highways that brought me here, where there is no bedroom, no window. No highway. Just a tent illegally camped in a secret place near Almenara by the sea. The sea is a highway in many ways. Travellers connecting deeply, then moving on.
But not me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s