Inktober: 31 Days of Poems: Ride

I’m using daily prompts associated with Inktober (artists doing ink drawings) to spur poetry this month. The poems flow from the prompts, though it may not be obvious (at all); and sometimes the poems are revisions of earlier poems that came to mind when I mulled the prompt. If there’s a photo in the post, it was chosen after the poem was written. I’m “showing my work” by offering some of the words, phrases, associations that came to me for each prompt. The poems may or may not have anything to do with gardens, gardening, or “nature” as it’s commonly considered. To see all the poems (once they’re written), check the Inktober landing page.

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Today’s prompt: RIDE

Some associations: a car trip, ride the trails, train ride, something/someone rides again, in for a bumpy ride, free ride, rollercoaster ride, rough ride, along for the ride, get taken for a ride, if wishes were horses beggars would ride, ride off into the sunset, sleigh ride, ride the wave, ride on another’s coattails, ride roughshod, ride herd, hitch hike, schlepp, voyage, ride out a storm, riding for a fall, joy ride, Easy Rider, park & ride, magic carpet ride, ride shotgun, she’s got a ticket to ride but she don’t care, commute, Sunday drive, domineer, badger, nag

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A sort of non-poem made by taking some lines from my actual travelogue of a train trip from Boston to New Orleans, Memphis, and Minneapolis in 2006, subtracting most of it and adding a bit, and arranging the lines in stanza form.

Train Travel Fragments, 30 Nov. 2006

Water tower modestly introduces Grover, N.C.
Trees leafing brown, yellow, orange,
a few red, some still green. The usual vines and pines.
Carolina Asian store. Tobacco Outlet, necessarily.

If I were Proust —
I’m reading Swann’s Way
I’d prattle now for five pages about
how the quality of the sky’s colour
is significantly reminiscent of the ocean’s
or some fruit’s, but I won’t.

Our humming metal box glides, bustles,
mostly moseys through a succession
of small towns and cities,
an overdose of charmless beaten-down landscapes
seeping into captive swamps, pastures, fields.
Once, near Rocky Mount, I saw a white sheet hanging
from a distant tree flanking a rutted field.

Current points of interest are the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit
Bible Church, brilliant red maples, Monday morning traffic.
Later, a giant magnolia, lawn ornament snowmen,
harvest scene of straw, pumpkins, hay bales.
Sign for a business: Deceased Pet Care.
A repetition of trailer parks.
Tires, always tires.

I should mention that the train is the place
to appraise a possible mate. Minor stress — late trains,
trains stopped inexplicably for two hours,
missing sleep, missing home, dreading home,
the buzz and thump from nearby earbuds and
one-sided cell phone calls, both banal and intimate —
winnows the gracious from the rest, like me,

like this guy, telling anyone who’ll listen
that his dinner on the train last night
was worse than a meal at Guantanamo.
I didn’t have dinner on the train
but I’d bet my life it beat being force-fed.
I silently rate him poor mate material
and don’t make eye contact.

Just outside of Atlanta, near the Birmont RR Junction,
a horned goat chews kudzu on a hillside.
Huge hollies, magnolias, pines laden with dark cones.

Later: Fifteen black vultures constellating a dead tree.
We’re easily overtaken by an Alabama pickup
on the parallel country road.

Tuscaloosa. Vines, desiccated.
Thin pink clouds in a pale blue sky,
like the one I saw over the ocean
in Newport, Rhode Island,
almost eleven years later.

© MMWms 2019

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