Route Ninety Seven


Ninety Seven
“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded – Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed – Everybody knows that the war is over – Everybody knows the good guys lost”
– Leonard Cohen

The prairie-wolf stopped in front of my car
Just a few paces from my door
His eyes gleamed full of wildness next to a scar
Straight across his head, some battle, some old war
I rolled down my window and said “Brother”
The prairie-wolf gave me a look from down low
And slowly trotted away without a bother
To where the thorn bushes grow

I am beside myself with sentimentality
A kind of road that goes nowhere
The stairs at the end of the garage lead to duality
Cars parked in the dark, in their concrete lair
Walk with me, says the ghost
I’ll show you the path, it is simple, like the truth
We walk hand in hand, so I don’t get lost
But the ghost fades at the puddle of blood, like youth

The prairie-wolf and I have parted ways
The moon has risen illuminating the road
I drive as fast as I can, never mind the days…
…I am risking with each turn, I should have slowed
But the pathmaker leads me to my grave
Such is the lure of the martyr
The speedometer hits ninety-seven, a wave…
…of the hand when the crash comes, no fear

What to say to those who would hide
Can we ask for revelations, can we turn the light on?
The road was simply not wide…
…enough for the truth and for the dawn
In the morning the newspapers will say
He died at the turn of a curvy road, drunk on speeding
But the prairie-wolf knows, morality is gray
He was driving ninety-seven, with a heart that was bleeding.

July 10, 2012 – Konrad Tademar

Leonard Cohen was born 21 September 1934 and is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His mother was Marsha Klinitsky of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry and emigrated from Lithuania while his great-grandfather also of Jewish ancestry emigrated from Poland with his father Lyon Cohen who was born in Poland. – the above quote is taken from Cohen’s song “Everybody Knows

According to the French anthropologist and ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009) – the Prairie-Wolf / Coyote (Canis latrans), also known as the American Jackal – “…are mediator animals between life and death” much like the raven.”

97 is a fascinating number – it is the number of the US Route 97 – which begins at a junction at California Interstate 5 and travels north all the way to the Canadian border where it becomes British Columbia Highway 97. In the US the Police-Code 10-97 means “arrived on the scene.” – The US 97th Infantry Division fought both in WWI and WWII – where it advanced as far as Konstantinovy Lázně, Czechoslovakia, when it received the cease-fire order on 7 May 1945. Maybe if it traveled a bit faster – Polish History would be different.

1 Comment
  1. Avatar of Andrew J. Sacks
    Andrew J. Sacks says

    Konrad, fine work, as always. Thank you.

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