Tuesday, August 19, 2008


From Cranberry Lake to Oswegatchie,
Indian Stream and  Stillwater,
We found Big Moose and the Enchanted Wood,
Not that we was looking, mind.

Up to Whetstone. Carthage. Phillie.
Driving fast and sleeping light.
I held that knife to my bosom.
Held it firm. Held it tight.

"Damn that man," my sister muttered.
"Damn all Hell," Aunt Sassy cried.
Race past Plessis and Keywaydin.
Getting close. I'll give  you that.

Drive in slow-like. Cut the lights.
Creep like possums, bite like lice.
Sassy slammed the old screen door.
Listen to that dead man snore.

Grab them papers, deed, the box.
Rifle money, break the lock.
Race that Packard, black as sin.
Fly through Oxbow and Bonaparte.

Sassy sings us like the lark.

Author's Notes: This poem came from a workshop with Liz Ahl. She gave us parts of road maps, four odd words and one object. My object was a small, delicate pocket knife. We had to use two of the words we were given. I used "screen door" and "black". The prompt was: write a road trip poem using your object and two words. I love what happens when I have wide boundaries and seemingly unrelated ideas to put together into a nourishing stew. I really don't know where this one came from -- but I like it!


chris said...

and so do i!! wow!! i love the sense of adventure and mystery, the short staccato sentences, the driving rhythm. and the very satisfying final sentence! you need to copyright this stuff, girl! it's good!!!!!

gretchen said...

Thanks!! I love your comments -- my audience + muse. I have been thinking about this poem like a Thelma and Louise -- except this crew of women prevail.


Nathanael Rey said...

ha ha sounds like my last break up! :-P

gretchen said...

Life can be like that, sometimes. Careful who you mess with...

Lisa said...

Great poem! Wonderful visuals.