Faster, the rider willed,
the rushing air not yet in
Faster, he spoke aloud,
the mail won't deliver
Faster, the cheat grass blew,
leaning, pointed to the east,
Faster still, into the dusk,
the coming change of horses,
Faster, nearly finished,
can't break off to rest,
Stop! He has arrived,
the next rider grabs the bag
and is off...
The "Route 66" sign, though weathered and bent,
attracted adventure, a side-trip to take.
Beginning in Texas I started descent,
I drove through New Mexico, tired, but awake.
In one of the miles between hovels and towns,
with nothing but desert and tumbleweed brush,
I stopped at the rest stop and noticed that sounds
were missing, a breathtaking hush.
When "resting" was finished I made the next sprint
to hot Arizona, sun racing me west,
and then California, eyes fighting their squint,
I made it to Baker with mounting distress.
Beyond an old trestle on the 66 trail
was nourishment, boarding, a pleasant motel,
with palm trees and neon, a fence of split rail,
as daylight was fading, and what is that smell?
I followed the scent of a kitchen retreat,
a menu that offered a barbeque meal,
and soon I was full, but my quest incomplete,
I rented a suite for its rate was a steal.
The Royal Hawaiian lived up to its name,
or maybe fatigue had enamored my view.
The lounge of bamboo and a tiki torch flame
were the last things I saw as I finished my brew.
I woke at first light with a head-pounding pain,
and hoped I had made it to bed on my own.
I crawled in my car and continued on Main,
but still 66, as the signage had shown.
By noon I would stand on a Hollywood star,
a Walk of Fame placard inlaid with its gold.
The hundreds of miles with a whim and a car,
the account of my drive would be often retold.
The Joshua Tree is an odd-looking plant,
Not sure if it's even from earth,
With spiny long leaves and its multiple trunks,
Deserted and hot in its berth.
You won't find a Joshua lurking within
Home nurseries, gardens or lawns,
They'd rather have desert's familiar terrain,
Preferring their dry lonely dawns.
A Joshua Forest, misnomer at best,
Is hardly a thicket of trees,
Instead it's a scattered primeval cartel
That barely encumbers the breeze.
How many times, I ask,
was a fisherman’s task
to clean the catch of the day
upon this lakeside dock
by barely four o’clock,
well before the skies turned gray?
The handle of the pump
would jitter, clack and thump,
to wash that night’s fish buffet.
facing the east
early in the day,
leaving morning behind
as the southern sun soars high,
yellow masks pursuing closely,
the platoon following their orders
with natural precision and guidance.
Midday falls away and the solar flight
continues westward, while synchronized
faces track the sun's path 'til dusk,
when shadows dim their purpose .
By daylight's sullen end,
the sun no longer
I dream of space and rocket ships,
rotation of the sun's ellipse,
and traveling to planet Mars,
a pit stop to more distant stars,
galactic dust and pulsar flips.
To view without the webcam clips,
from my own eyes, not microchips,
with reverie's binoculars,
I dream of space.
The cusps of vivid quasars' lips-
the last of macrocosmic trips
before awakened mental scars-
they shield me from this world of ours.
Although my reason comes to grips,
I dream of space
The Monolith seems ageless,
enduring endless moments,
while buttressing the heavens,
surviving epoch's agents,
this monument of stone.
The wonder of existence,
in awe by sage and scholar,
would motivate conjecture
of origins in squalor,
its purpose yet unknown.
When seen from vast horizon,
it squats in desolation,
the wind and rain exposing
the Monolith's foundation,
and setting nature's tone.
Got my backpack brim full
As I hike this decline,
Into Goldfield at last,
Where the gold flows like wine.
I'll forget silver strikes,
It's now gold that's revered,
In the Goldfield ravine,
Where the crowds now appeared.
I will find branching veins,
Teeming thick with gold ore,
That would keep mine cars filled
And still waiting for more.
I may not like the heat,
Or my blistering skin,
A dry hundred and nine,
Listless fever within.
Life's exceedingly hard
In this hot Goldfield town,
I'll be tempted to drink,
And loose women, bunk down.
I will not let escape,
While my confidence wanes,
All the riches and dreams
I hope Goldfield contains.
Thirty thousand or more,
But the city's decline
Will leave most of them poor.
So the lesson is clear,
With my Goldfield goodbye,
That it's human to strive,
Daring risk to comply.
A time for pause, a time to rest,
the sowing done, you've done your best,
now weather is both friend and foe,
the Doppler watched to keep abreast
of coming thunderstorms, although
it's early yet, the risk is low.
Equipment sits in wait, for now,
while shoots define each seeded row.
The pace of farming would allow
a single respite from the plow,
another year, another spring,
has etched your face from chin to brow.
The price that winter wheat will bring
affords you time to have your fling,
to go abroad, have fun, relax,
let nature do its April thing.
For May will come, and too, the tracks
of twisters, say the almanacs,
though none had ever hit your land,
you must rely on callow facts.
So take the trip you always planned,
regain the drive that you demand,
go view the world and know you're blessed
to live where generations spanned.
Cramped aisles of New York's
high-rise apartment buildings
Wyoming's wide expanses
provide the converse, proudly.
Jack has published over 350 poems in his career, many with his own photography. He specializes in a view of the commonplace and Americana.