WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD – PROMPT #44

Take a little road trip. You’re going on a vacation. Write about it. You had a favorite vacation. Write about it. You haven’t been on vacation in a LONG time. Write about it.

Or write about your dream vacation. Write about your vehicle. Write about road maps. GPS? Write about the street on which you lived. You see where we’re going? We’re on the road in one way or another. Write one more for the road!

Marie Elena’s Road:

Snippets of a Brooklyn Mission
(A daughter in crisis)

Calls in the night span nearly 600 miles
Of separation. In desperation,
We talk and pray for hours,
As schizophrenia’s power
Plots to devour her very core.

Grasped firmly in the jaws of crisis,
Dad and I turn the ignition,
On a mission only love can drive.

Finally face-to-face, we
See her palpable relief,
But this thief is unyielding,
On a mission of its own.

Her minute apartment becomes home
For a spell, as we try to slay this hell
That has claimed residence in her being.

But not all is lurid, as warm memories attest:
Love expressed as “Grandpop” meets her on the Pulaski Bridge
Each day after class, as her fragile-as-glass mind
Finds comfort in his care.

Laptop in hand, we’d snub our concerns, and
Sit on her stairs to catch our Buckeyes.
Or have a slice at Triangelo’s,
Reminiscent of Grandma’s own.

We soaked in the Brooklyn tone –
Polish bakery scents,
Market and Laundromat treks –
Nothing complex,
As we walked where we needed,
And nothing impeded our task
As we basked in the 50’s feel of it all.

Seeing through our eyes
Blew home’s breath into her setting,
Letting her fears reduce from life-threatening,
If for only precious moments.

That Fall, we followed our hearts to Brooklyn
On a mission only love can drive.

WALT’S JOURNEY:

THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW

I grew up near where the metal monsters rode.
Raised on the rumble and roar,
impressed by the power and speed.
Six abreast the rails curved around the bend,
straight and narrow the metal runs
under the trellis, Northward toward Buffalo,
to the South along the lake shore toward
Erie and Cleveland. They were the major players:
New York Central, Pennsylvania, Nickel Plate,
Erie, Burlington, B&O. Saturday afternoons
spent sitting among the corn in my
grandfather’s garden, trying to guess
which rail carried the next train through.
A blast of diesel horn, and a half wave/salute
from the engineer,  and the train continued
to high ball it to its next destination.
Always my dream to ride the big
NYC 20th Century out of town.
Born too late, the dream will
always remain just that.

372 thoughts on “WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD – PROMPT #44

  1. Two fabulous poems. You two are really something else! Having just read Sherry Blue Sky’s poem, at http://stardreamingwithsherrybluesky.blogspot.com/2012/02/dialogue-of-poems.html I am having an emotional Sunday morning.

    My poem is a true story, and the she was me.

    WE’RE GOING TO SEE THE SEA

    She must have been eight
    when she first saw the sea
    which seems pretty late
    for a small island girl.
    But World War Two
    had put an end to travel
    and lots of other good things, too.

    So when told of a trip
    to a place she’d not heard of –
    Littlehampton it was – for a dip,
    she was ecstatic,
    though in for a shock quite traumatic.

    ‘We’re going to see the sea,’
    she chanted, all the way there.
    ‘We’re going to see the sea.’
    But when they arrived she was so surprised:
    they’d put a high fence round the sea.
    An ugly ramshackle contraption, it was,
    surrounded by rusty barbed wire,
    its feet in the water,
    a few yards away from the shore:

    ‘Why?’ she asked in a plaintive tone,
    ‘why have they gone and spoiled it?’
    ‘It was made to keep out the enemy,’ they said.
    Without that, she would have enjoyed it.

    ‘It must be so pretty’ she wailed in a pet,
    ‘without that nasty obstruction.’
    ‘I think I’ll go home now, if you don’t mind.’
    Said her Mum ‘Oh no, dear, not yet.
    There’s a picnic to eat
    then a ride on the seat
    of a swingboat, high up in the sky,
    and sandcastles to build,
    you’ll see, you’ll be thrilled
    before it is time for goodbye.’

  2. Yes, Marie, wonderful memories and thanks for adjusting my poem. Only it’s not just completely right. When I get such a prompt, and travelling, is a wonderful prompt, your mind keeps on spinning. Hopefully you’ll forgive me for sending this and I promise you, this, final, edition.
    Oh, how will I ever learn?

  3. DOING EUROPE

    When you saw
    Rembrandt,
    chewed the old
    Gouda,
    bought a
    Genever for
    Granddad,
    lined up the stairs
    for
    Anne Frank,
    picked a yellow
    water bike and
    pedalled through the canals and
    learnt how small
    you are
    among ocean going ships in
    the industrial harbour,
    that’s when
    you wonder
    how a gondolas
    feels like
    and
    that’s when you reach out for your bag
    to put a tick next to
    Amsterdam,
    Venice it is tomorrow.

  4. Pingback: Little Bird of Doubt « Magical Mystical Teacher

  5. HEALING WATERS
    I grew up on Lake Erie.
    At times it was my best friend.
    It healed my sorrows
    and soothed my fears.
    It provided a steady rhythm
    to my otherwise chaotic life,
    and a predictability
    in an unknown future.
    I live inland now
    with no booming waters nearby.
    But when I roam I always find
    that I am drawn again to that rhythm:
    to the healing sight and sound of water
    Wherever I can find it.

  6. Wonderful Day, Wonderfilled Life

    What a wonderful day it had been.
    I sat with Peter, Jayne’s husband,
    lunching with Kate, Jayne’s friend,
    and Aaron and his Richard,
    Jayne’s son and son-in-law.
    Jayne was somewhere, painting,
    my Barbara, too.
    An accidental meeting between us,
    the non-painters on the tour,
    way, way, way high up
    in a small Tuscan village.
    Bel canto music purred
    from the outdoor speakers.
    Their dishes looked like canvasses.
    peasant food made fabulous
    I wasn’t hungry, so I passed.
    I wasn’t thirsty, either,
    but I drank their wine.
    We talked,
    then we walked,
    and talked some more,
    about nothing, mostly.
    Not even about Jayne.
    Or Barbara.
    I bought a small painting
    from a small studio,
    for a small number of Euros.
    It hangs now in a small corner of our home,
    and in a big part of my memory.
    We rode down
    to our Montecatini hotel
    in a bright red funicular
    and never once thought to
    sing Volare.
    What a wonderful day it had been.

  7. Pingback: Waiting for the Women « Magical Mystical Teacher

  8. Two great starts. Marie, yours is a nice little journey and a vacation to the reader on its own. 🙂 Off to get some coffee and brainstorm my way to a poem.

  9. Goose Feather Vacation

    Baritone laughter floats on a plumeria-scented breeze
    down a narrow silver path, past a faded scrollwork sign
    A curve of clean white sand
    warm and sugary
    trickling through relaxed hands
    cumulus reflections off a tranquil sea
    conch shells, bleached coral, & fishnet bar decor
    pirate bartender serves dirt cheap white rum
    brightly colored tropical costumes
    roosting on a terrace rail
    A habitual philanderer’s paradise
    martini’s, cigars, grilled speared fish
    lust-colored flame flickers in cool trade winds
    steel band resonates a Calypso pulse
    exotic flashes of whirling skirts & swaying hips
    glittering moon path across black water
    alarm clock shatters another dead end mirage

  10. “…picked a yellow water bike and pedalled through the channels…” I’m right there! Thank you!

  11. Stranded
    by Jane Penland Hoover

    On and on in all directions
    palmetto, sand, and slash pines stretch,
    long shadows fall behind
    the way we’ve come.

    Earlier my ocean fervor
    imagined all of us refreshed,
    by the sea’s salt flavored air.

    My man weak from surgery.
    paralyzed and silenced by the stroke,
    still he’d smiled and nodded yes
    when I asked, ride?

    Edgy, one thumb extended now, I
    stand the length of desolation
    begging to be helped, taken.
    A camper driver brakes.

    I run from our stalled car – look back
    at the four of them:
    he in silence stares,
    Grandma cuddles our curly-headed infant,
    while five-year old big sister
    presses face to pane, pleads, Mom…

    Riding east for miles and miles,
    I measured minutes, some desire
    to flee responsibilities, my world
    waiting for a wrecker.

    I remember that mechanic,
    patient with the damaged parts,
    those rescuers trailing lights,
    me left alone,
    us to navigate the rest.

  12. A really long one from me today, and I’m not even sure it’s a poem, but the prompt brought back a lot of memories. Thank you!

    ~ The Sea ~

    All four of us,
    The whole compartment is ours –
    Our cozy home
    For twenty four hours.
    My sister’s lucky :
    Got to sleep all the way up,
    I’m sure old enough,
    But they said, “No.”
    During the day though
    They let me climb there,
    I lie listening
    To the railroad’s heartbeat:
    Ta-dum, ta-dum… ta-dum, ta-dum…
    Dozing off,
    Waking up to the tinkling
    Of glasses – hate the tea,
    Love the glass holders:
    Silvery-shiny, sun catching.
    There’s more sun as we get closer,
    During stops
    Babushkas sell corn on the cob
    And sweet cucumbers –
    Won’t be long now.
    I’m waiting, plastered to the window.
    When I first spy it,
    I mistake it for part of the sky –
    Just another shade of blue.
    When I realize what it is,
    It starts playing games:
    Peeking out, and hiding again,
    Teasing, but in a good way.
    It is there, I know it now.
    Soon, very soon we’ll see it.
    There’ll be a station first,
    A small town with a salty breath,
    A house painted white,
    We’ll live in for a very long time –
    A month –
    A kind quiet woman
    Will greet us at the gate,
    She’ll feed us pelmeni
    (The food I dread, I call them jelly fish, )
    And her husband – if sober –
    Will play an accordion, and sing.
    Then there will be a hot path,
    And ice cream you have to eat real fast,
    Before it melts,
    Sun hats – yes, but sunscreen – what is it?
    And finally, we’ll see it.
    All consuming, dreamlike,
    Inviting and generous, like a promise.
    We’ll run towards it,
    And it’ll wrap all around us,
    Take us in –
    My sister watching over me –
    I’ll look up, wet and happy,
    And see Mama and Papa,
    Their impossibly young faces,
    Smiling at us from the shore.

  13. Outer Orbit 

    On the trip down the Trans-Siberian railway
    I never went on, it was the first appearance of the Aleph
    which reminded me of the vacations you can take
    in someone’s eyes,
    the screeching of life’s brakes
    which brought me back to here.
    Remember the trip to Alaska?
    I tried to find out how much Russian vodka I could drink
    before we got to Sitka,
    how many layers I could bleed through before we left Ketchikan.
    From the 30th floor in Seattle,
    the planes looked like they were headed straight for us.
    I kept searching for my own form of surrealism
    but I hadn’t finished inventing it yet. Just try
    and find the beginning of that circle.
    Cathy used the piano as a table for her late-night sandwich.
    Then she cut it in half. The sandwich.
    Then neither of us said what we were thinking.
    Think the sound the piano wasn’t making.
    Then she went to school in Oklahoma and got engaged.
    In order to be free or at least feel free
    I must throw a rug over the barbed wire,
    climb back out of myself
    and look for the dumpster Jedi within
    and blend him into the expressionless man
    who stares at a roller coaster and sees nothing but a metaphor.

  14. It Would Have Been a Vacation

    It would have been a vacation.
    Packed bags, airplane flight, eating out,
    staying at a hotel, shopping,
    and getting away from it all.

    Seeing old friends, meeting new ones.
    It would have been a vacation.
    Family sharing memories,
    looking over old photographs.

    Lots of hugs, eating, listening.
    Together, working toward a goal.
    It would have been a vacation,
    but there was one person missing.

    We helped bear the weight of her grief,
    which cruelly threatened to crush her.
    If the warehouse hadn’t fallen,
    it would have been a vacation.

  15. Wide Side Mirrors

    Wide side mirrors will be enough
    for him to see what is
    approaching from behind
    and the white line racing

    away on his left. He sees
    no need for the right side
    mirror nor a rearview
    since he has no plans

    to pass anyone. No plans
    other than a circular route
    to the west coast and back
    in an old rented motor home

    stocked with bottled water,
    sandwich meat and cheese.
    He dreams of driving West on
    route 66 to the city of Angels

    then up California State Route 1.
    Of course there would be detours.
    The grand canyon has reserved
    a place for him to rest.

    He sees himself hugging
    a great sequoia and viewing
    a golden Pacific sunset. He is convinced
    that Old Faithful will not disappoint.

    Mount Rushmore shall patiently await
    his arrival as will the bison, elk and
    bighorn sheep along the way. He prays
    for the time and day when the wide side

    mirrors are all he needs.

    By Michael Grove

  16. Willows Dripping Leaves

    We two watch the yellow truck
    roll up the length of curve,
    our drive trees we planted,
    watered, arching over now
    shadows falling long
    receive our sighs

    What remained of our possessions
    on the way to Durham distant town
    unknown to this sheltered cove,
    its wind-brushed grass where Holsteins
    graze, unfazed and unaware

    of our goodbyes whispered to the willows,
    the blue-grey heron, beavers in their den,
    turtles sunning on the shore once ours,
    uncluttered now the kayaks sold

    Clasped hands squeeze
    release

    Two vans engaged
    we go

  17. Farewell Begins

    every measure emotional notes pierce deeper
    seeking out different chambers of my heart
    an old man’s valor trapped in cinnabar walls
    beyond lingering scent of an endless feast

    golden roads have turned forbidding
    a desolate silence in fading light
    beyond banished plains of exile
    place in the song where farewell begins

    a journey through an old friends heart
    inscribed in traces of smoke and dust
    where home is a five thousand mile dream away
    when will we join old friends again?

    reopen the valve of joy in my heart
    spread me like honey over slices of your poetry
    send joy rippling like an offshore breeze
    sign your name with nobility

    by Randy Bell

  18. Away Too Long

    No guidebook is needed
    when the destination is home.

    The roads are familiar,
    street names like family,
    restaurants look the same
    with menus that never change.
    Things to do, places to see,
    ingrained in memory —
    the faces are all older,
    the people still the same.

    The easiest path to travel,
    hardest journey to begin.

  19. Marie, loved your poem. Hope your daughter is feeling better.

    Walt, loved you poem, too. Always something nostalgic about trains, a feeling of yearning and loss, a beautiful feeling though.

  20. Pingback: Away Too Long | Awakened Words

  21. So many wonderful poems here, I’m in awe and slightly overwhelmed. Loved. Loved. Loved. Something about ‘Born too late’ in Walt’s poem lit a spark in my head.

  22. We were just talking today about how nice it would be to go back to Europe one day, as tourists. We used to live in Prague, both our kids were born there. Lots of memories.
    Nice, Andrea!

  23. Thanks so much for the kind comments on my poem today.

    Schizophrenia is a relentless monster. Though there are still struggles, my lovely daughter is doing far better at this time, and we couldn’t be more thankful. As I told my dad, though that was a difficult trip for obvious reasons and in obvious ways, it is one I will treasure always.

    As always, Walt’s prompt has spurred many memories and great poetry. What a talented and supportive group we have here. Thanks so much, all of you!

    • @Marie Elena, I didn’t understand your poem when I first read it (daughter in crisis?).
      Then I read your explanation and now I keep returning. I never was on that road but how I understand now! This is so tender that I can hardly grasp it – only now you gave me this flash and now I love your poem. Rhythm, words and speed. Thanks!
      I’m so glad that you arrived in time and also that your daughter is better.
      Hugs from Trans Atlantic East Lake Erie.

  24. ~PACING~

    Placing feet

    heel…to…toe,

    heel…to…toe;

    roaming,

    rousing,

    dreams to motion.

    Portioning mortar,

    cleaving stone

    to humble stone,

    brick fixed

    on solid thought .

    Building tower,

    mindful mansion

    raised by intentions.

    Choices changing

    purpose to action,

    weight in each step;

    heel…to …toe,

    heel…to…toe,

    pacing.

  25. Pingback: ~PACING~ « Metaphors and Smiles

  26. Your poem brilliantly epitomises that very American travel culture of whistle-stop tours. What day is it? Wednesday? This must be France…

    BTW I only know her as Anne Frank.

    • Viv, yes, that was the image I wanted to create here. And Viv, Marie Elena helped me – she corrected my misspelling, so yes, Anna Frank is Anna Frank – she wiped away my wrong spelling so you can’t see it anymore.
      Then later I found out “channels” and “canals” aren’t the same, so though channels works better with the rhythm, I had to put in the right word. Oh, what a mess. Guess the key word is “patience.”

  27. Pingback: I Slip Through the Gate « Magical Mystical Teacher

  28. My Mobile Haven

    I love my car
    Its my mobile haven
    A Paradise on wheels
    An ecstasy in motion
    Although when stationary
    its just as therapeutic
    I shift gears to park my soul
    and slightly roll the windows
    to allow rich gentle sounds
    of the surroundings to penetrate
    my Psyche and have access to
    Massage my inner being
    The train ay a distance
    dog barking faintly from afar
    The variation of wind
    from violent to soft rustle
    swaying branches bushes boughs and leaf
    helpless against its power
    Theyy offer no resistance

  29. My Mobile Haven

    I love my car
    Its my mobile haven
    A Paradise on wheels
    An ecstasy in motion
    Although when stationary
    its just as therapeutic
    I shift gears to park my soul
    and slightly roll the windows
    to allow rich gentle sounds
    of the surroundings to penetrate
    my Psyche and have access to
    Massage my inner being
    The train ay a distance
    dog barking faintly from afar
    The variation of wind
    from violent to soft rustle
    swaying branches bushes boughs and leaf
    helpless against its power
    They offer no resistance
    But a sweet musical yielding
    that aides me through the day

  30. George

    When my GPS took my friend and I to Maine
    We decided it needed a name.
    Because of the female voice
    We tried out girl names
    But found ourselves singing
    “Good morning, George, how are you?”
    Every time we got in the car.
    One day George stopped speaking
    For no reason.
    We played with the voice controls
    And found that only one alternative voice worked.
    It was a male voice.
    We knew he was George all along.

  31. Here’s another with a different tone:

    Florida

    Celebrating the end of one journey
    With another
    Accomplishing the miles in hours
    Because I accomplished the knowledge in years

    When I get back
    It will be clock in times and documentation
    And “State your name and date of birth”ing every time I give them meds.
    But now
    It is manta rays and Blue Men
    And “Hello Mummy”ing every time the camera points at her.

    When I go through all the footage,
    I will ignore sea lions and rockets and paper mache castles
    And I’ll pause on her
    looking at me, wondering why
    I keep saying hello.

  32. Orlando Vacation

    My daughter and I did Orlando
    after her college graduation.
    Sea World, The Epcot Center,
    Universal Studios, The Blue Man Group,
    an Arabian Knight show.

    The weather wasn’t warm
    or cold, it was as if Florida
    thought that the other states
    would be jealous if it got too hot
    so it made its guests
    keep their sweaters on.

    Decorated Christmas trees
    stood by Micky Mouse shaped hedges.
    Christmas carols played on loud speakers
    giving it an other-worldly feeling.

    By the time we headed east
    toward the Kennedy Space Center,
    we were exhausted and ready to go home.
    We would have skipped it
    if we hadn’t already purchased
    the tickets. So glad we went.

    The IMAX Hubbell Space program
    was the highlight of the trip for me.
    Truly looking at other worlds.
    Feeling very small.
    Overwhelmed, with the thought
    that despite human puniness
    God still loves us.

  33. Marie and Walt – you kicked us off in grand fashion! Marie, yours tugs at the heart with such poignancy but leaves room for hope – quite a feat. And Walt – my Dad, my Grandpa and my brother – all fascinated by trains and they passed it to me … great poem

    • Marie Elena: I am touched to the heart by the poem of your journey. I have made the same journey many times, once also in the middle of the night, to my son’s side, to breathe some hope and normalcy into his fear. I love the uplifting tone of your poem for, truly, that is the greatest gift we can impart to our kids: hope, and belief in better days. Beautiful poem, very touching, so glad I came across it here.

      • Sherry,

        First of all, welcome to Poetic Bloomings!

        Ironically, I was just over at your site, while you are here! So much beauty to be found on your site … photos and words … I could envision myself in your world quite nicely.

        Thank you for your empathy. I’m sorry to hear you have been down a similar road, Sherry. It’s hard to watch someone you love with everything in you, struggle so frighteningly. Bless your heart. I wish you and your son well.

  34. Discovering the Self in Selfish

    In less than three days you can:
    Ride the rails across a country as wide as a continent
    And stay awake for most of it!

    Constantly marvelling at where you live
    And how you aren’t having a throw-down with
    Your travelling companion.

    You can also be brazen enough to read your poetry aloud
    In a cafe you’ve never before entered
    And in front of a group who are
    As diverse as fingerprints

    Who are also, as it happens, judging you
    At least some of them, in the style of Olympic
    Figure-skating judges, especially the Russian one
    Who always seems to leave room
    Which is why it’s best never to go first

    In less than seventy-two short hours you can:
    Be reunited with a dear friend,
    And walk with her in the inky dark
    Beneath a waning white globe of a moon
    All the way downtown and back – safely.

    You can also have several meaningful conversations
    With your dear friend’s philosophically and politically attuned soul mate
    Plus his enchanting partner and friend, another talented artist
    Not to mention observe their two delightful daughters
    maturing right before your aging eyes
    You can share pictures of your daughter’s wedding
    And give a set of prints from that remarkable “North Saskatchewan” day
    to dear friend so that she will have memories to hold in her hand
    As well as her heart

    You can haunt many scenes of your childhood
    And wonder at how unchanged most things appear
    As well as revisit bad habits – at least briefly –
    Smoke the odd cigarette – speed in the rental car,
    with seeming competence, albeit reckless abandon
    But without actual mania,
    At least that’s what you tell yourself, and hope it’s true

    You can finally make copies of your most recent published work
    Assemble for presentation, feel good about that,
    And leave same behind as thank-you gifts
    In addition, you can pig-out on Hostess cupcakes
    and your Aunt’s homemade brownies
    even though you promised her and yourself you’d share…

    Although it screws up your schedule,
    you can take time for a long, hot,
    self-indulgent bath in a huge claw-footed tub
    And, go online, go online, go online
    Plus journal, write poetry, read, repeat
    Listen to “Fall Out Boy” especially, “This Ain’t a Scene”
    And other cool nano songs…

    In less than three days, you can
    Discover your selfish self is a person
    Not totally unlikable
    Vow to stay in touch
    And mean it.

    S.E.Ingraham©

  35. Vacation Roadie

    As a child, the yellow
    brick road beckoned;
    I coveted the ruby slippers,
    Toto, and the assorted
    adventurers of steel, straw,
    and lion fur.

    The yellow road was paved
    over with concrete; cement steps
    leading to work. Sandwiched
    in those early adult years, I basked
    in the jazz, gumbo, and wrought
    iron railings of New Orleans.
    Followed up with the Waikiki
    weather soaking the white beaches,
    and frangipani of Hawaii.

    In my fifties, I left part of my heart
    in Venice, as we moved on
    to Florence, Naples, Rome,
    and the beauty and simplicity
    of Ischia, strolling from one end
    to the other, each block a treasure
    of old churches, markets, and food.

    Roads have been rough,
    smooth, and sometimes
    tarred and flat. May all
    my roads lead always
    to oceans.

  36. Marie and Walt, both of your poems are intense in entirely different ways…

    Mini-vacation

    There are no maps
    To direct me
    No highways to follow
    No hills to climb
    But I can find you
    With my eyes closed
    Destinies of the heart
    Are traveled
    Through the mind

    I love ‘meeting’ all of you guys here. It’s like a vacation each time:)
    Happy Trails to all!

  37. ON THE ROAD WITH THE SHEPHERD

    as I pass through a dark valley

    behind me are yesterdays
    I long for, but will never come again;
    the road in front of me
    stretches further than my reach;
    today, the journey that awaits
    is one I must take

    I am not alone

    after a sleepless night
    the early morning air lays softly
    like a cold compress on a tired soul;
    the pre-dawn traffic, quieted,
    hours driving alone
    bring silence, stillness and peace

    my soul is refreshed

    on the far horizon is a sliver of daylight
    between the dark earth below
    and the storm clouds above,
    causing me to remember
    there is order in chaos,
    safety in storms, and solace in trouble

    the Lord is my Shepherd

    2012-02-27
    P. Wanken
    * with a couple phrases borrowed from a friend

  38. Pingback: On the Road With the Shepherd « echoes from the silence

  39. Every time my family visits any of the well-known theme parks, my husband’s constant refrain, upon exiting a ride is, “Did I mention the merchandising? As a nod to him, here is my attempt at a Kyrielle Va-Cay Poem…

    Souvenirs

    We visited a famed theme park.
    We rode the rides ‘til after dark.
    When exiting each ride device
    we had to face the merchandise.

    Attractions have their brands and themes
    which vendors take to big extremes
    which we then buy at thrice the price.
    So…did I mention…the merchandise?

    And characters, we noted, grace
    each t-shirts and hand-painted face
    of patrons they want to entice.
    And…did I mention the merchandise?

    Vacationers from far-off spheres
    recall their trips with souvenirs.
    And ‘though these words should but suffice…
    we can’t forget the merchandise.

    ###

  40. My poem ended up as a bit of an emotional road trip, but I still think it fits. Was able to tie it up with a couple of other prompts as well (love it when that happens!)

    Seeking an Answer

    Her search for an answer
    Took her beyond the edges of the map,
    Down roads paved with more questions.
    Grief is her companion on this trip,
    A cumbersome stray dog
    That never quite sheds its feral nature.

    The murmur of reluctant voices
    Pelt her senses,
    Silent taunts that only cement her resolve.
    The dense smoke of days gone by
    Waft around her,
    Seeping through her cracks,
    Obscuring the view rushing by her window,
    Masking her constant pain.

    Grief invites her
    To drink of his sorrows,
    To lose herself in despair.
    She refuses the distraction,
    Continuing her search for an answer,
    Still questioning how
    The man who so easily entranced her
    Could slip so easily from her life.

  41. Roadblock or Dead End

    Roads of hope and regret merge today.

    A trailblazer I am not,
    but a travel guide, I hoped to be.

    A path I helped forge is being paved by others
    with different ideals and ideas.
    So, I stepped off.

    I watch in sadness as my dreams and goals
    are pushed aside by loud, obnoxious
    steamrollers with self-indulged plans and
    little regard for others coming up the trail.

    I hoped to create a smooth course with
    well-marked signs and directions,
    where you could find your way in comfort
    and familiarity. Instead, I find myself
    wondering where I made a wrong turn.

  42. Pursuit

    I followed you relentlessly for I desired to possess you.
    You tantalized my dreams and pervaded my thoughts.
    Such a breathtaking vision, you seemingly flitted from path to path.
    You were as elusive as a butterfly and I lost my direction in pursuit of you.
    Dusk came and I wearily paused from my arduous and unfruitful journey.
    My lethargy caused me to rest amidst the fragrant moonflowers.
    I reflected in the soitude of the panoramic twilight sky.
    Perceiving that you had paused in your flight too, I embraced you.
    Running I could not capture you, but upon meditation you were mine.
    Oh Wisdom, you are unexcelled in beauty, and I regret I hurried so long.

  43. submitted by my writing partner, Ely the Eel…

    Dawn

    Driving down the winding blue highway
    from Beaumont to Hemet,
    looking out at the San Jacinto valley,
    the westernmost mountains to the left,
    the car-filled plain to the right,
    not another soul on his road,
    he marveled at the complex dawn,
    so many layers, varied tones, even textures,
    black becoming purple begetting rose
    before the sun took its first glimpse of the ocean.

    Sunset gets all the press, he thought,
    probably, like the early Beatles,
    due to advance agents.
    Oh, sunset has its own virtues,
    if one likes that garish kind of thing,
    beach goers gathering in hoards,
    oohing and ahing,
    pretending to see a green flash,
    quickly dispersing to watered down happy hours.

    Dawn gets little notice, few raves,
    a shame, really, but also a saving grace.
    It might not be the same
    If the press got a sniff of it,
    people setting alarms, gathering in roadside view areas,
    flipping down their shades at the first sign of yellow,
    probably adding some kind of Bloody Mary rite to it.
    No, let the dawn stay hidden,
    a gift for the early risers ,
    those who pull over and write an ode to its beauty..

  44. Not sure what is happening with the comments. Seems they have taken the prompt to heart, and are taking road trips of their own. 😉

    Thank you for not letting it hinder your comments. Loving the camaraderie as much as the poetry!

    Marie Elena

  45. WHERE THE ROAD LEADS

    A wanderer of nomadic existence,
    I’ve always had this insistence to keep my feet
    in motion; no grass grows where fools tread.
    Instead of being the nobody home body,
    I tend to follow my heart, for no matter
    when I start, it always comes full circle.
    All roads lead to where your soul resides,
    and when found, I comfort and hide
    every ill this thrilling life inflicts.
    No map can direct, nor guidance system find,
    your co-ordinates are impressed upon my mind.
    This happy gypsy is always glad to find you.

  46. Bring It Back Empty

    It was one of those itsy-bitsy
    foreign jobs;
    the car rental girl told us
    such a good deal –you pay for a full tank
    at the airport, at a greatly reduced rate—
    Then, you can return it
    empty, if you want.

    We drove it all over
    the Salt Spring Islands, plus
    throughout Vancouver, Victoria,
    then back to Vancouver …
    And never put an ounce
    of gas in her

    A week later, heading back
    to the airport,
    with the needle…
    very much on “E”,
    We both laughed remembering
    a comedian who joked
    that he thought,
    the ‘E’ meant, “enough to get home on”
    We decided we’d risk our ‘E’ was,
    “enough to get to the airport on”

    Holding our breath, driving through
    Vancouver’s rush-hour traffic—
    Especially every time we were stuck
    on a bridge— had us oxygen-deprived
    and giddy by the time we got
    to the airport parkade.

    We had just pulled into the place,
    Could actually see “Budget’s”
    big orangey-red sign
    when the little car coughed once,
    Then gave up the ghost ..

    That is to say, she died completely.

    As if choreographed:
    My husband got out
    I slid into the driver’s seat
    and put the car in neutral
    My husband rolled up his sleeves,
    and pushed us to Budget’s lane

    Two rental agents,
    and a manager, came running
    out of the terminal
    looking very upset,
    “Omigod – what’s wrong – is it broken?”
    and variations of this theme, were expressed.
    My husband straightened,
    dusted off his hands, said dryly,
    as he handed over the keys,
    “You said to bring it back empty—
    we’ve been driving around for hours…
    Our estimation was slightly off,
    and for that I do apologize…”

    S.E.Ingraham©

  47. North Dakota

    Driving down long stretches touchng the sky
    Fields of canola greet you from the side
    Beaming yellow smiles as you pass them by
    No more cars in sight, looking far and wide
    Plain, but North Dakota does have its Pride
    Helping businesses market their fine wares
    Soaps, candles, berry jams, cards, barn wood chairs
    A land of Sioux and Teddy Roosevelt
    Unique rock formations and teddy bears
    Its strong, enduring spirit clearly felt

  48. Late to the party. So fun to see such a huge number of responses! 🙂 No time to read yet, but here’s mine:

    Open Road

    The numbers on the signs
    are all getting smaller
    burning in our headlights
    on this harsh and hazy highway.

    The cornstalks in the fields
    are all getting taller;
    hope hovers in their shadows
    as we brave this broken byway.

    The odometer says we’ve got
    a thousand miles to go
    and we pray there will be shelter
    when we finally arrive.

    Our hearts are harried, worn
    and our tanks are running low;
    is there somewhere else to go?
    We ponder, as we drive.

  49. Our RETCH-ed Trip (misspelling intentional)

    Employee of the year won a trip to Nassau.
    Limousine ride it did include.
    Suitcase contents all over the tarmac
    was just the start of what ensued.

    From a paradise peddler we bought a great “dinner cruise”
    while we soaked up the sun on the beach.
    Two teetotalers aboard a “rum runner”
    cruise; no dinner, just drinks within reach!

    We followed the sun as far west as we could,
    but then rocks jutted out in our way.
    We snorkeled two minutes in the colorful reef,
    until under us swam a stingray.

    Our final meal there, did not taste quite right,
    This getaway wasn’t much fun
    But now we can laugh about the limo ride home
    and the stops due to food poison!

  50. VACATE?

    Vacate?
    Yes, I oftentimes wish
    to go astray, to go amiss
    to disappear, to vaporize
    to quickly vanish
    from every eye
    undercover and in disguise
    like secret agents and sly spies
    to abruptly thin
    and become a mist
    momentarily I don’t exist

    Gas up the car honey
    let’s hit the road
    grab the kids
    and we’ve got a load

    Pop in a CD
    recline the seat
    inhale the fresh morning dew
    sweet rolling Amish hills
    here we come!

    Vacate?
    Get lost and go amiss?
    Yes! Now that would be interstate bliss.

  51. test 4. Walt is conducting an experiment on this comment fiasco. This reply will appear in various places throughout and I will log the time of each posting to monitor their placement to see if there is a pattern to the madness. Thanks for flagging this situation. Walt.

    • test 5. Walt is conducting an experiment on this comment fiasco. This reply will appear in various places throughout and I will log the time of each posting to monitor their placement to see if there is a pattern to the madness. Thanks for flagging this situation. Walt.

  52. TRAVELLING

    Comments posted here and there.
    First they’re here, then they’re there.
    Nested in a jagged string
    comments are the damnedest thing.
    But when they should be here, they’re there.
    When I want them there, they’re here not there.
    So where will they appear whence next I send them?

  53. Ready or Not, Here I Go

    Travelling at the speed of life
    ready or not, here I go.
    Not everything falls as it should
    it would be good, but ready or not,
    here I go again, jumping in feet first.
    It could get worse if I were the man
    with a plan but I can stand to think
    on my feet from time to time. In my mind,
    I’m ready. But even if I’m not…here I go.

  54. How we got to Vegas

    Looking back on it, we might have
    thought twice before bringing a kid
    blessed with agoraphobia
    thirteen hours to the Grand Canyon.

    It just never occurred to us.
    Looking back on it, we might have
    noticed the first signs of distress
    when he stopped in the parking lot

    at the South Rim and turned around,
    striding away from the view, not
    looking back at it. We might have
    forced him to stay, but why go there?

    Nature’s overrated, I said.
    Let’s go to Vegas. So we did.
    Did we have the best time ever?
    Looking back on it, we might have!

  55. (A TROLAAN – well, maybe)

    TWO-SEATER WITH ORGANIC COFFEE

    Early morning meandering thru
    endless, misty, coastal meadowland.
    Entranced with the warmth and feel of you,
    enveloped together, holding hands.

    Always comfort, encapsulated:
    A Roadster-smooth-jazz Sunday drive
    and music/heart strings modulated,
    an engine purring, then roaring alive.

    Lovely bakery along the way
    laughing at sugary, crumbling pie.
    Living this friendship that’s never strayed,
    leading our hearts on our Loving ride.

    On the road…..together again,
    only depth and miles behind us.
    Ohh…..so missing you, my friend,
    only…if…you could just…unwind us.

    • Henrietta,

      Loved your title and the following lines.

      “Always comfort, encapsulated:
      A Roadster-smooth-jazz Sunday drive” and “early morning meandering”. Yes I agree most road trips are very lovely in the early morning meanderings in your roadster! Especially with coffee!

  56. Mount Kilimanjaro

    You didn’t tell me,
    Though I came right away
    When you told me
    That they would take us
    To the summit of
    Mount Kilimanjaro

    We climb now
    Past the shadows
    Flickering with wildebeest
    And skulking hyena
    Away from their whimpering
    Childish cries

    Above the moody landscape
    Of burnt grass and bamboo slopes
    Golden-red in the pining sun
    Past the stench of rotting carcasses
    To the coveted top
    Of Mount Kilimanjaro

    How I wanted to see it
    That white square
    Transforming to a coral sea
    As the sun sets
    Above a layered landscape
    Of muted blue and green

    You told me once
    That something foreign
    Occupied the space in you
    Once filled with life
    …but you didn’t tell me
    You came up here
    To Mount Kilimanjaro
    To die

    Janet

    I was stunned the first time I read Hemingway’s
    The Snow’s of Kilimanjaro.

    No, I have never climbed this mountain, but I would like to:)

  57. FISHERMAN’S PARADISE

    My
    dad
    loved to
    fish mountain
    streams, clear icy
    water, milky blue-
    grey and knee-deep with trout.
    A fisherman’s paradise
    he’d say. We’d pack the car with tins
    of food, drinks, the tent and sleeping bags,
    and drive east toward the rising sun.
    Into the mountains, narrow roads,
    gorges steep and slick with moss
    until we’d reach fisherman’s
    paradise where we’d
    pitch the tent and
    wait for Dad
    to bring
    us
    fish.

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