Song of the Open Road & Dirge


by Jeffrey Burghauser (July 2022)

Cityscape #3
, Richard Diebenkorn, 1963


Song of the Open Road

Quite simultaneously light & dense,
__My mind’s divisions are. A summer gale’s
Deftly tightened filaments
____Scrape against the Highway’s grain, and violin it.
__My thoughts have tails.

There’s only one surmise of any size
__That Modesty may let me mark as known:
Being On the Road supplies
____Sixty opportunities in every minute
__To die alone. 



Most of the blazing believers in lost
__Causes believe they can stride into Death.
Likelier, they, in the Nighttime’s exhaust,
__Follow the dwindling tide into Death.
Sacred, the muscle commanding the fossed
__Hinge of an oyster. I’m pried into Death.

Bookies & scientists guess at the curve
__Nation-states use as a guide into Death.
Wisdom is always unvalenced. Observe:
__Nero & Whitman both spied into Death.
History, Lover, strikes more than a nerve;
__Cause & Effect see me tried into Death.

Language: the treasures that Poets may hoard,
__Far from what Flames push aside into Death.
Grandly, the ship of my being is oared
__Slowly with grievance. I’m plied into Death.
Calming malevolent waters, the Lord
__Jesus reduces Poseidon to Death.



Table of Contents


Jeffrey Burghauser is a teacher in Columbus, OH. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Leeds. He currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Fearsome Critters, Iceview, Lehrhaus, and New English Review. Jeffrey’s book-length collections are available on Amazon, and his website is

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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