The Hard Way

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Finally alone on the road
in these days of no longer
being lonesome.
Walking toward the oncoming,
like I can’t wait for it
to grow on its own in this race
toward my face I’ll never win.
The dead and dormant
stalks of last year’s roadside
weeds lean toward me,
bent by the slipstream
of these cars and trucks
that push me deeper
into the brush as they pass.
Even they have learned
what I never have.
I always seem to go
against the grain,
the arrows, spears and bullets
of all-weather steel-belted
death pushing against
where I want to go,
or want to be away from.
With a sigh, I turn around
and join the flow of flora
and four-wheeled fauna
on this bit of homeward highway
and wonder, the wind now
a gale in my face, why no matter
which way I turn,
whatever path I’ve chosen
always seems the hard way.

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The End of the Affair

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My partner and I called it
a year and a half ago.
It was time. Something
she’d never understand.
We’d been going up and down
the same road for years and
it had become nothing but
out and back with no exit
other than here and there.
And so this silence of a life,
this loss of the waves
of tremors I’d feel when
we’d take off together,
the vibrations of ear
and heart that would spark
these visions I’d share
with the few who might care
to see, to hear, to feel
what I did.

She’s waiting for me now,
for me to sit with her and
warm one another on
this cold January day,
to set our course wherever
I want now, instead of
our old north and south.
I miss our alone time,
there in the crowds
of steel and flashing red,
when a song, a memory,
an image other than
dashes of white on black
drawn on a windshield
chalkboard, would become
flesh as soon as she
let go of my hand, and I
grabbed that of my
other secret partner, my #2
of yellow. And so now,
The rest is silence.

This and the previous poem are so reminiscent of the blast of writing I’d do after my commute each morning from Clifton Park to Albany. Both accomplished in less than an hour. I’m sure they show it, but that’s how I work…or don’t.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

501I didn’t really feel it, that first time headed south on I-95 out of Fredericksburg. Pretty quickly you get distracted by the big rigs and Jersey plates flying by. And how the sun starts out blasting your left eye, but eventually becomes a blast furnace on your left thigh, by the time you reach Fayetteville.

Once you get past the relentless chain of Pedro and the hookers’ come-ons to spend your pesos South of the Border, and you take the exit east onto 501 toward Marion and Conway, the pace slows and your heartbeats get pinned to the thup-thup of tires crossing the tar strips on the road toward The Strand.

The first time we crested that rise by the ash pond and saw the hazy blue Atlantic and the not-so-distant-now sparkling spires looking like some seaside Oz, traffic got gummed to a crawl. But the pulse in the car pumped back up to sixty-five again when the little ones started bouncing in the back seat, singing Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.

I felt that.

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, my friend Shanyn Silinski is looking for work that somehow captures the rhythms of getting from here to there. Didn’t expect to be so wordy, my poems have been more commuters than world travelers these days, but this prose poem is what I felt all those years ago on our first trip to Myrtle Beach.