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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2 by John Wall Barger

Greyhound Fables

                                  What’re ya reading?
A bio of Samuel Beckett. What’s yer favorite part?
Where he gets knifed by a pimp. What
is going on with yar nose there? It’s bleeding.
          I stand, wobbly, rummage in my luggage
for vestiges of rum.
                               I wake in the small hours
inside a bus adrift across Ontario,
my cheek flat upon the broad shoal
of a neck, Hilda’s, a nurse with Confucian eyes
who journeys to Thunder Bay
to lay her murdered daughter underground.
                               A crow spotlit in dusty headlights
arches its wings,
dies. Mr Beckett didn’t die,
but he did die.
           Sings the bus, Trochee, trochee . . .

 Satellite dishes query
 the dawn. Children wave, 
 hurl rocks. A mother on a trailer porch
 cradles her newborn,
 her head cocked as if the baby
 whispered a fable about
 the dark lake across the road,
 as if she herself
 were being held.

Beckett, stilt straight, visited
the gaoled Pandarus
to ask why. Iron bars between them
moist as hardwood trunks.

I ask Hilda, Why?

Monsieur, said the pimp, je n’ai aucune idée.

A Start

Waste the morning. Squander money
on tickets going nowhere. Curse the internet.
Swallow the bile. Down a fourth
mug of coffee. Sit thunderbolt upright.
There. A new personal record. Two hours awake
to hit bottom.
          Now, light a cigar.
Climb on the scooter. Gun it uphill
the unknown way, up the winding mountain path
away from the city. Say
nothing. Do not even scream. At each fork,
take the strange road through palm trees & orange groves
till you’re off the map. Then go further
uphill, past the big black dog wailing for blood,
till the pass is impassable,
                                         till the past is beneath you,
a green ravine slashed by the nails of the world.

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