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.


My photo
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, February 29, 2012

Newlove: "Driving"


You never say anything in your letters. You say,

I drove all night long through the snow

in someone else's car

and the heater wouldn't work and I nearly froze.

But I know that.
I live in this country too.

I know how beautiful it is at night

with the white snow banked in the moonlight.

Around black trees and tangled bushes,

how lonely and lovely that driving is,

how deadly. You become the country.

You are by yourself in that channel of snow

and pines and pines,

whether the pines and snow flow backwards smoothly, 
whether you drive or you stop or you walk or you sit.

This land waits. It watches. How beautifully desolate

our country is, out of the snug cities,

and how it fits a human. You say you drove.

It doesn't matter to me.
All I can see is the silent cold car gliding,

walled in, your face smooth, your mind empty,

cold foot on the pedal, cold hands on the wheel.

                                                                             -John  Newlove, from his Apology for Absence:   Selected Poems 1962-1992. Erin, Ontario: Porcupine's Quill.


  1. Just wanted to say I recently discovered your blog ( NYTimes online article yesterday ) and searching thru this and older posts I'm loving it .

    As a GearHead composer/musician theres much to relate to and the poetry is well worth the read

    So blame the NYTimes if'n y'all gets sick of my presence ;-)

  2. damn. I breathed through, in and around the corners of this poem like I was driving it in that night. Good deal