I am not too happy with my poem today. I actually got a call to do some work and have been out all day. Now I am shattered and my brain isn’t functioning. And so I have used parts of an old piece of prose of mine that I was working on yesterday. Rhymed a few lines and cobbled together a very hasty ending …. not happy ….. but…
The truck’s engine roared throatily
Black diesel exhaust pumped into the clear desert air
An arm waved from the cab and then it was gone
Headed towards the interstate. And whatever lay there.
But that wasn’t for him
The devil lived in the cities … or was it god
He’d forgotten, cared not.
And so as the blue and chromed truck receded into dusty distance
As the desert calm returned to his ears
He hoisted the bag over one shoulder
An old guitar over his other and faced his fears
And walked on as loneliness joined him.
His boots kicked up small clouds of dry dust
One foot fell in front of the other
As each thought passed through his mind
He even remembered his mother
He supposed he was born to walk and … even to try
To forget. To make distance.
The road stretched out before him
An endless grey black ribbon without end
Without purpose, not much hope
Or maybe it led to hell around the next bend
He didn’t know … he didn’t care
Mirages formed in the shimmering heat
Patterns in the sky. A bird there. A face here.
Maybe a saint with a grinning leer.
And he walked. Boots clicked.
Leather creaked on his bags straps
Pools of sweat formed under the blue denim shirt he wore
Sticking to him along with desert dust
But he felt the sweat cleansed his forgotten soul
The sky was bright morning blue still
As he sat for a while
Drinking warm water from a plastic bottle
Washed down a pill.
He dozed in the shade of a billboard
It advertised a radio station
And he gave thanks for this shelter
Twenty miles or so?
The trucker had laughed in confirmation
He’d done the twenty already he guessed
It was now time for the ‘or so’.
He hit the top of the rise and then on downhill
In the distance a small dusty town.
Occasionally a rusty truck passed
Sometimes a hand would wave causing him to frown
Curious faces behind bug spattered windscreens
Studied the walker
He passed an old black dude
Battered straw Stetson with a small black boy skipping beside him
He heard the boy chattering
But the man just looked ahead unseeing
Ignoring the lone walker. He increased his pace.
And the town soon became reality
Not just a distant thought
A few old run-down buildings
He heard ringing. A tuneless old church bell?
An old irrelevant crossroads
Four ways to nowhere or maybe to hell.
The roadhouse was ramshackle
In fly blown desolation
He pushed the door and entered
No air con, no fans to disturb the desert heat
Locals drinking beer… and maybe the devil drank here.
Acknowledgements grunted as he ordered a beer.
He put down his backpack on the faded board floor.
Watched as dust motes danced in the hot still air
The bartender raised an eyebrow .
He placed the old guitar on a well-used old bar chair.
Searching pockets one by one
Dollar bills and a few coins
Exchanged for cold beer
Grunts from the bartender.
The joint was hot but the welcome was cool.
He swallowed his beer as he sat on the stool.
Murmured conversation behind him
The buzz of a fly
But the beer made the place comfortable
A couple more till his time to die.
For he’d come here to kill Ramirez.
And when that was done
It would be his turn to say goodbye.
© 2013 Stan M Rogers. All rights reserved.