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Blue Collar Boom: Excerpts

Ron Whitehead

Without Blinking-
Zen and the Art of Driving 100
miles per hour past Bryan Taylor and
others on Ohio County's Hwy 69 one-lane
bridge between Beaver Dam and

Part III: Down and Out in Kentucky The Bridge

for Stan

At 3AM on a hot summer night in western Kentucky
my eyes flash open and I'm on the floor
of the yellow farmhouse
cross the field from mom and dad's
in the middle of nowhere
not able to sleep I dozed off for a second
when someone turns on a light
and it's blinding my eyes
and here I am at the end of time
down and out in Kentucky
here I am whether
life's worth living
all the pain
and someone's turned on a light
and it's blinding my eyes
and I'm a broken man
buried in a tomb of self pity
I'm failing like no others dare fail
but at 3AM
on this hot summer night
on this plywood floor
I can finally see
as my eyes adjust
and I see the room
filled with lightning bugs
come in through broken windows
and they're all round me
filling the room
with golden light
and almost in a dream
I see Stan
and we're in the yellow Volkswagen
doing 100 on Highway 69 between
Beaver Dam and Centertown
and a car's coming the other way
and Stan and I glance at each other
and in that glance I see his struggle
his fear his anger his defeat
his defiance his will his desire
to succeed
his willingness to suffer
to pay the price
to see his dream become real
and we look back to the road
and we're doing 100
headed towards the one lane bridge
and Bryan Taylor aint slowing down
and neither are we
eyes steady and clear and
we've seen death
and been told we're crazy
but we're holding at 100 and without blinking
we meet Bryan Taylor at the center
of the one lane bridge
not a breath of air
between cars and walls
and as we pass without blinking
I see Bryan Taylor's
mouth drop open and fall to his chest
and in that moment of passing of seeing
I know that like Stan I will pull myself up
off this dirty floor
and live again

Ron Whitehead, the guiding force of Rant for the literary renaissance, is the hero of The Beaver Dam Rocking Chair Marathon, an anarchist with first allegiance to the heart, an agitator, and a true western Kentucky rebel.

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