Advice From Bruce Springsteen on Driving

Start by leaning against your car until
you glow like a broken cowboy song
and unlearn your father’s hands.
Listen as the radio tells you how to leave:
a dog who walks across a state to sleep on
a different farmer’s porch. Shift into first,
let cattails remind you of the silencer on a gun,
silos to quit drawing crows on the sleeves
of your varsity jacket. Push to second & watch
the night become the same before you were born:
stars tipped like sawgrass, a town of daughters
dreaming of tying sharecroppers to bedposts
& burning fallow over their necks. By third,
let part of you become pool hall & the other
scarecrow: a butcher-paper moon glows,
a pack of cigarettes grows damp on the porch.
Pass a 7-Eleven & the ghost of boys looking for animals
to cut their names into. Hang down your arm
like a crop duster & listen to the foxes cry
about growing teeth in the middle of the night.
Watch a woman strike a match like she’s walking
from a burning barn as you ease into fourth.
Now, remember the girl who washed her hair
in bathtub gin & made you lick the ends dry.
The entire road will begin to smell like thunder.

Tyler Kline is the author of the forthcoming chapbook As Men Do Around Knives (ELJ Publications, 2016). His recent work is forthcoming in BOAAT, the minnesota review, Spoon River Poetry Review, THRUSH, and Whiskey Island. He is a senior at the University of Delaware and the current Poet Laureate of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Find him online at