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The American Hot Rod

Published in The American Poetry Review Volume 30 No. 3

An excerpt:

In Call Me Ishmael Charles Olson writes, “I take SPACE to be the central fact to man born in America, from Folsom cave to now. I spell it large because it comes large here. Large, and without mercy.”

He could have just as easily and accurately written SPEED because it is just as fundamental to the American experience. Americans race everything from lawn mowers to jet skis, from hospital beds to tricycles—anything that moves. It always seems to come down to who is the fastest—with a gun, a car or a CPU. As Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America—that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement.” Or as Neal Cassidy said, “Go! Go! Go!”

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