Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Monday, May 7, 2012

John Wall Barger & blue Dodge

I just read this poem in a brand-new collection from Halifax poet John Wall Barger (currently living in Hong Kong), his second collection, Hummingbird (Palimpsest). It’s a gutsy, detail-packed, colorfully lively collection of what could loosely be called "travel poems"--set everywhere from New York and Mexico to Taiwan, India, and Italy. The following is in the sub-genre of childhood on-the-road poems.  Notice that a couple of passages are in italics. And, yes, "de-sert" (with hyphen) is part of the poem. The book also includes a couple of Greyhound bus poems, and one set on a Mexican bus." --Brian Bartlett

from the haunted doghouse
from our high shuttered house with the gutters & frogs barking --
between my parents in the blue truck
on the grey highway
we rattled like a bag of tools, an army tank
-- the insides of the blue truck
shiver at my two feel like green bean sprouts
under the DODGE wheel
shiver, wink, spark
like fireflies, gold vines, frog guts, frantic.
Dad rolls down the window,
spits away! The road hacks & coughs right back.
Out back under the mackinaw
are my Tinker Toys & Lincoln Logs. Telephone poles
are stickmen with broken kites.
Dad flattens his fingers
on radio buttons, one knuckle
a triangle, I've been through the de-sert
on a horse with no name, now his sore pinky taps
my knee, my mother Jean winces at it,
sews some more, It felt good to be out of the rain . . .
Her hands on needles & canvas
are warm carrots --
she smells like sunlight, mint,
she smells quiet today,
glad maybe to sew our future tipi home in Nova Scotia.
Away empty doghouse!
Away crooked rope swing!
Far from here anyway, this blue truck,
this boundless bobbing line
of electric thread,
my left eye fixed on a crystal nick
in the windshield.

                                                                  --John Wall Barger

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