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ODOMETER HAIKU NOTES WHILE DRIVING ACROSS AMERICA



1 o'clock in the afternoon
I kiss my mother on the cheek
and leave Toledo, Ohio -
70,609 miles on the odometer.


@ 70,680
a one-armed man in bib overalls
sickles weeds
near Edon, Ohio.


Passing thru Indiana,
I slow down.
Why go further?


Chi-town! Dan Ryan Expressway!
Rush-hour traffic comes to a halt -
on the pedestrian overpass,
I see up the dress of a girl on a bicycle!


Ouisconsin -
sun sets on white silos,
barns the color of Indian blood;
the corn plants are knee-high.


Turned back the clock 1 hour;
orange sun thru barn slats.


@ 71,052 miles, 10 at night,
a barbecue & Coke in Black Earth, Wisconsin -
a cherubic blonde curb-girl in tight black outfit
& nickel-plated coin changer!


71,143: @ Emily's in the Ocooch -
Ariel & Aimee: I give them
a bird that whistles
a bird that sings
a plastic bird with water -
it does not compare to the sweet tweets
that come from their little hearts.


71,446 miles on the odometer,
just past TeeCee, Minnesota -
should reach Fargo @ 71,655 -
thursday night/ it is now 8:30
don't see any poems
I smoke a doobie.


Whatta ya know!
Passing near St. Cloud, it begins to rain.
Lightning rips through the big night sky.
A semi passes;
everything disappears into water.


A long, shooting star over Fargo -
crossing the Buffalo River
@ 1 a.m.
I imagine bison
& what the river looks like.


20 minutes later, a rest area.
Under half a tank of gas.
71,681 on the odometer.
A blue Volkswagon pulls in.
A big guy gets out looking real whipped
& staggers to the john.
I sack out.
The moon is round above a hedge.


$5 for gas
in Cleveland, North Dakota -
c'mon Bismark!
Show yo' yoogly face!


Cruising thru Bismark -
on the landscape
housing developements like pimples.


N. DAKOTA/ E. MONTANA
95 degrees
car is running hot
me, too
this country is fucking butte city
all day
running hot to Billings.


60 miles from Billings
a rainbow appears -
I think of children
I think of me.


Crossing the Big Horn River
I turn the clock back 1 hr.
& almost clobber a grouse
pecking gravel in the road.


Following the Yellowstone River for miles;
finally pine trees!


Overpass Hotel/ Billings, Montana
I meet Mrs. John Arp
whose son served recently in the Coast Guard
in Toledo, Ohio -
she says he never writes.


Coeur d'Alene, Idaho -
2 guys on a sickle
all wet & cold
cruised across Montana
goin' to Eugene, Oregon
a great concert
Grateful Dead
Santana
etc.
they say,
"you oughta go!"


Midnight -
Moses Lake, Washington -
I stop at an all-night carry-out
to score some beer -
at the check-out counter
2 strange looking guys with B.O. -
they buy:
a can of Spam
Wonder Bread
Dinty Moore Beef Stew
2% milk
2 packs Pall Mall.
Saturday night in Moses Lake
& everybody's drunk -
I get out of there fast.


2 a.m.
15 miles to go -
above the Naches River
the moon is a cue ball
rattling down the chute.


The taste of death in a mountain stream
direct
like headlights beneath the porcupine stars
a radio tuned to fading music
late at night
arriving home
after all these years.


@ 73,159 miles on the odometer,
I turn the ignition key to "off."



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Comments

The following comments are for "ODOMETER HAIKU NOTES WHILE DRIVING ACROSS AMERICA"
by gomarsoap

Penelope/posting
Thanks for the comment. I submitted this piece in the poetry category but for some reason it showed up under haiku.

I really like reading "road" poems. Do you like any of yours well enought to post? Was Dead Horse Gulch one of the group you refer to? That remains to me a really excellent and memorable poem. I even remembered the title and it's been awhile since I read it. That's a rarity.

( Posted by: gomarsoap [Member] On: October 31, 2004 )

Crazy
I liked the craziness coming across in this piece. "Road weary" should really be called "road crazy", don't you think? But it gives us a good chance to be collecters of fine imagery, personalities and circumstances. This has a sense of whimsy and perspective that is yummy. I like it a great deal!

( Posted by: GibsonGirl [Member] On: November 1, 2004 )

US23
I used to commute the US23-I80-I94 zigzag a lot. The mileage seems correct, I wish I had my logs.

This is a lot better than "On the road with Charles Kuralt."

Regardzz

Teflonez

( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: November 14, 2004 )

nice trip
You mean you made it all the way to Moses Lake and you didn't come see me, here in Seattle? The last time I made this same trip, I didn't bring any psychological aids. Don't know what I was thinking.

Nice poem too, Bob -

( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: November 23, 2004 )

Bob's Road
Bob,

Searched the site for Ohio and found this one. Really glad I did.

The sun through the barn slats, the noting of the height of the corn (heard of "knee-high by the Fourth of July?"), the reminders of mortality and danger interspersed with the trance-like awe/fatigue of the journey. Good stuff.

I like the expressions of time and space in the resettings of the clock, the odometer readings, and the invitation to another possible destination (Eugene, Oregon for the Dead & Santana).

Great road poem.

~ John

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: August 20, 2006 )





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