Standing at the edge of a pulsing highway, thumb extended, a lighthouse beacon under an early sky, raining hues of blue. A meadowlark stops to chirp, waiting for a ride on the next gentle breeze to somewhere. Grass whispers to the pavement. Gravel crunches under foot. Speeding cars drift slowly by on this never-ending road to nowhere, leaving their noxious gases floating, polluting the stillness of the morning air. Getting from here to there is a gas.
license plates fade into the horizon... dusty shoes
This is my first attempt at Haibun. Critique welcome and thanks for reading. Changed the haiku after original posting.
Droplets of sweat flattened on our foreheads under the weight of a mid-August sun—flattened into ovals of sticky sodium, catching specks of stray dirt swept into the air from the passing semi’s and transport trucks, whipping the wind into torrents of chalky highway dust.
Pressed high against the skies curved plain, we used our thumbs to browse the passing cars like pages of an anthology enclosed by a narrow spine of asphalt.
But when one pulled onto the shoulder and we approached the passenger side window, we too were ****** with the expectation and appeal of a library—mutually eager in the labour of conversation for the currency of experience.
For a moment, as the prairie receded in the side mirrors, our car became the baseline of a frantic cardiogram, crowded by the landscape of rising granite walls and low-hanging canyons, and the space between our separate lives closed like parallel lines drawn by gravity to a magnetic core.
We pushed our destination west, as far as it would go, safe on the heels of expectation. In motion the passing towns crackled like neurotransmitters firing signals over axons of black asphalt. But each time the car slowed to release us, one more they faded into a rancid stasis, that, once more, we aimed only to depart.
The man beside me, he spoke in staccato sentences – as if his lips had forgotten the shape of words.
He said he’d been walking a long time, with a hungry thumb stuck out into the road, grasping for the wind beside passing cars. With tired eyes he watched them move on and blur into the faraway horizon.
He’d spent many days out there beneath the meat-eating sun, hoping to find himself in the shade. By night, he slept beneath blankets of stars and dead leaves.
A ghosted-out drifter upon the loneliest roads, appearing only in the transient headlights, and then gone.
I asked him where he was headed; he said it wasn’t what pulled him, but what pushed him instead. There was no beckoning light. He said the shadows, they snapped at his heels, and there was something in the deep lines upon that weather-blown face, like country roads – and I believed him, and kept my foot down upon the pedal.
He said a lot of things, in that strange, broken way. He said a lot of things for the longest time, and then for a longer time still, said nothing at all.
When backpacking, there are certain rules that everyone knows like take less than you can carry; you’ll pick up things as you go. Be careful when hitchhiking; follow your gut instinct. Always. Stick to your budget; you don’t wanna run dry in Kansas.
What no one actually tells you is: Don’t fall in love with a town or with a boy in a town.
A boy who is settled and nestled in a town is dangerous.
The other roaming, free-loving boys are fine, because they understand and you understand that, like a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, your both freebirds who must be traveling on. These boys are easy to love and set free.
Townies, on the other hand, are like rose-colored poison which seeps into your every thought, but then you don’t really mind.
They show you that their quaint little town doesn’t just look like magic.
It is magic.
They show you that there’s something beautiful in greeting the mailman with “how’s the wife?” the charming town diner where the pie is county-famous the declaration of love on the water tower written in red spray paint.
The boy shows you how to fall in love with a town, and in the town you fall in love with the boy.
They should start printing warning labels on backpacks: WARNING: don’t fall in love with a boy who is settled and nestled in a pint-sized town
because he will clip you wings.
just wrote today trying to get back into my writing groove (and I need to flush all the ****** writing out of my system) (starting with this piece)