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Updated: Oct 5, 2022

(featured in the February 2021 issue of The Deal Mule School of Southern Literature)

My dogs are beyond barking,

Reduced to a starved whimper;

Mushed into a grueling auto-pilot trudge:

Rock kickin’, my jeans asphalt-frayed,

Pebbles rudely nestled into my shoe-bottom crevices

Hitchhiking down that ol’ Mississippi highway.

There are no songs, no poems to praise this homeless lassitude,

This dreadful rural drift to anywhere but home

‘cause all you’ve ever considered is roam, roam, roam

Like a mosquito buzzing through endless days: your legs spent,

Stumbling on every rut; eyes shut & stinging from sweat

Yet still squintin’ for some last glint of hope through the haze…

Triple distilled’s my desperation, mixed w/ an indelible desire for Freedom -

Its dull dagger engraving its demand on my heart;

The desire roofied and served as any a drink

From Life’s almighty brewery t’we bibulous buffoons…

We’ve.. No… I’ve got t’go, go, go.

Strength or weakness. Take your pick.

Half-cooked roadkill blemishes the pavement.

The po’ critters never had much a chance,

Ignobly mashed as potatoes into gruesome poses;

Their last catastrophic inklings of conscious captured:

Some seemingly napping w/ tongues protruded,

Oblivious to the officious flies;

Others simply squashed like watermelon,

Entrails vomited from their bellies.

Is this how others shall remember me when I’m dead?

Eh. Nevermind.

Vultures eye me skeptically. I sneer right back…

Wind chimes from trees chirp and play in the wind…

Dismayed, distracted by nimbus memories

I think of lost friends, family, pets.

All the missed opportunities I was too lazy t’embrace.

The dreams deferred.

The road stirs me to reality again w/ a slithering sizzle…

90 damn humid degrees…

Dehydration takes a toll. Senses are dull.

Strength or weakness. Take your pick.

A myriad of empty beer bottles, cigarette butts

& condom wrappers litter the ditches,

Mocking me w/ the luxuries of others -

Those cheap pleasures cast aside Whereupon now I’m forced t’stride -

Us both spoiling this good, green earth. Goddamn!

My damnations are as caustic as the midday sun,

That damn egotistical glow

Sighing its morning breath down my salty spine.

Strength or weakness. Take your pick.

Sweat, step, step, trash,

Step, step, step, car,

Step, step, trash, step,

Wipe sweat, snake, car…

If I’m most lucky I may bask in the homely aromas

Of pine trees or the charred remains

Of a late Autumn bonfire. If I’m most lucky…

Typically I’m doomed to but the fume

Of chain-smokin’, country-bumpkin’ trucks

Wheezing by me at the speed of redneck dickfart without so much as

A sympathetic honk for my calm, poised

hitchhiker’s thumb…

The sun is setting swiftly these days…

What a lousy hell wherein I’ve stumbled

When the granite of my sanity’s crumbled…

and crumbled…

No time t’rue now though -

Strength or weakness. Take your pick.

(and make it quick!)

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