On the Road to Satori – la Blues


Abandoned Underpass by ModalMechanica

la Blues

what a screwed up mess I made for myself
I’m thinking as I stand on the ramp looking out
over the industrial flat-top yellow chalk
blues of this city of modern-cheap

the rain barreling from the north
like winter’s solstice gone berserk
and this is California
it never rains etc.
—well, it’s raining
and freezing cold!

“here go buddy
you need this more than me” 
chicano compadre at the Circle-K
in drunken angelic slobber
round-faced mustached
yellow kind-toothed smile
handed me his grey stretch ski cap

I thanked him and put it over my dripping head
and went out into the forlorn ravages of
the extended trip home from Seattle
—by way of Coos Bay
San Francisco
and the Golden Gate

I stood on the clover leaf of the 10
just outside LA wondering
when is any of all this
ever going to stop?

I got a ride to Barstow with a truck driver who told me, “They just don’t
treat a man like a human being out here,” he shook his head
and confided in me his deep secret fears and insecurities
“No sir,” I agreed

Cale brought me to a truck stop
where he fed me coffee and a hamburger
and continued philosophizing the inhumanity
and indecency of life in these United States
“That’s how I figure it” he went on

“No matter how you look at it
this country, taken by right or might
has been laid claim to by the white man and
no one has been able to wrestle it back from him, you see?”
I nodded pleasantly as Cale ran a long dark hand across his glistening
forehead with a sigh “It’s like that ALL over” he shook his head and paid the bill
and walked with me out the door of the cafe

“The rest of us I guess
we’re all just guests! Whether welcome or not
but they sure don’t treat us like guests
more like invaders,” he continued
giving me a ready lecture
on the meaning of life
according to Cale

“But, I think you’re gone be doin’ all right by yourself
just keep on truckin’,” he grinned and raised his fist in the air from the cab
as he tooled his truck out of the rainy parking lot heading North
I was heading East, homeward bound, I hoped
for the road was a tired place for me by now

back then Barstow looked like a movie set
with wooden sidewalks along an area that
sat on a hill overlooking the high desert
and a big sky full of wispy thunderheads

things change so much
today I don’t even recognize the place
with its wide boulevards and row upon row
of tract homes unusual

there was a time
when all of this would have made
a lot more sense


4 responses

  1. “chicano compadre at the Circle-K in drunken angelic slobber round-faced mustached yellow kind-toothed smile handed me his grey stretch ski cap” — that is the epitome of poetic description. My inability to conjure such clarity and power outside of long-winded prose is the reason you never see me write poetry on my page. I leave that to the masters — like you.

    Liked by 1 person

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