Paul Moskowitz left his New Jersey factory job, took off across country, and found a form for his ''mind-talking'' and ''rhythms of freight trains and the car assembly line.''
Sometimes, Moskowitz said in an interview, ''language felt like the enemy - I wanted to make a jazzy music, and what I had was words.'' The result: ''Rome Along the Highway.''
Frankly, Moskowitz speaks out like a truck driver - inspired perhaps, but still giving us more than 30 obscenities and scatological references within the book's short span. Some may think that only cultural laxity allows the man to call himself a poet. Yet his technical achievement - a general sort of onomatopoeia - is real. He packs a line with so many images that the clotted lyricism of Gerard Manley Hopkins comes to mind; the use of serial nouns to modify other nouns ('' . . . buildings of small people entrances like the ones in the barking dog back alley streets of Paris. . . .'') sets up a chunky roll. The impactedness ultimately sounds like big rigs barreling through the night.
''I use 'Rome' to remark upon American decadence,'' Moskowitz said. He records his visions with such exuberance, however, that the thing communicated is large hope.