Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day on the Road

A little over a month ago I packed my “stuff” turned on an alarm that didn’t need to be turned on, and at four in the morning I kissed the wife, patted the dog, and headed west. In an hour or so I was through the gorge and headed for the Mississippi River crossing. In the early afternoon I was in the rolling hills of Arkansas, and by the time I decided to stop for the night I had driven 800 miles. The excitement had resurrected the child in me, and I had made notes for poems and stories all day, and my recorder was full of my ramblings.

There had been wonderful moments during the day. The passing scenery, and the thoughts of loved ones and friends, that I wouldn’t see for some time, brought ideas that had been hidden from me. Birds I had hoped to see sat in the fields and trees along the road, and sang at the rest stops. I met an old man sitting outside a camper reading his bible, and we talked about his trip to see his children in the east, and how his wife had passed a while ago, and how much he missed having her on trips like this, and I knew there was a poem there just waiting for me. Those moments were special, and others stick in my mind like the one time during the day that the world slowed down as a car came at me across the road divider, and I looked into the frightened eyes of the other driver as the wire fence caught him and began to shred his vehicle, and the few moments after when I stopped and gave thanks that the fence was there at just the right instant to save me.

That night I spent time in the worst hotel room I have ever been in, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to 33 different countries. I didn’t think it was that bad until I rolled over and fell into the hole in the mattress. It was like sleeping on the edge of an abyss all night, but heck, I was on an adventure!

The next morning I headed for the flat lands before turning north toward the high mountains and trout streams. Driving across the plains I watched the fences flash by, and remembered a poem I had written when I first made this trip, and saw the debris hanging on the barbed wire.

I’m happy to be back on the porch with you, and I’ll have more to share later, and a few new poems.

Barbed Wire

There are some days I feel like a fence.
A strand of barbed wire for every year.
Different debris on each level.

The lower strands almost unseen now,
covered over, or rusted away
all memories back into the weeds.

Many are bent against the other
from someone climbing up the years
taking it all, unbearable weight
unable to keep the tension.

Seems like everything that rolls
everything that could happen
hits me square and sticks there.

They’ve not been all bad.
There’s been great moments.
Golden flags in the solar wind.

I guess that’s life.
Catching moments as they roll,
keeping some, letting others go.


  1. Your trip sounds lovely even considering the hole in the bed. Hope you enjoyed it.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I'll try again.

    Thanks for the kind words about my book.

    Lee Lofland

    The Graveyard Shift

  4. Good to have you back, Robert. I will enjoy your poems that come from this trip, I'm sure. I envy you the opportunity to go to Colorado and have this adventure. Your wife is very understanding to give you up for this special time.