It’s a Hundred and Six Miles to Chicago

It’s a Hundred and Six Miles to Chicago

‘It’s a hundred and six miles to Chicago.  We’ve a full tank of gas and half a pack of cigarettes.  It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.’ ‘ Hit it.’ – The Blues Brothers


Tomorrow you’ll sit back and contemplate this spread of drizzling fields.

Not now, not you; your hat well down, your pallid elbow at the window

of a pale green Buick on a freeway in the 60s.

And not this viaduct dear god and not this catalogue of sheds and barns,

the earnest cyclist in the mac, that harmless roaming dog. Not here

above a place you never thought to love and don’t quite hate enough.

You’d sooner wake unshaven to a different day; a slow train west,

a festive smokers only carriage loaded up with crates. Hard luck.

You own this battered face, the passengers who wince from your O Christ.

Collect yourself. Somewhere you fell asleep, backed in. This train

is ready to set out again to where you’ve been. It’s almost dusk.

Step down. Above you there’s a blurred board ticking off

the twenty-four hour clock, a Wakefield afternoon.

A fast train eases in. It’s yours. You could get on.