Thursday, July 30, 2009


Just outside of Flagstaff
on a stretch of dusty road
in a phone booth with the glass broke out
she told me how she growed

and by the time I got there
she was halfway to L.A.
with some guy up in a Kenworth
who had half a mind to stay

But ain’t a man can keep her
you turn around, she’s gone
she’s running from the devil or
she’s chasing down the dawn

Now mister I ain’t crazy
and mister I ain’t wise
I’m just half a cup of coffee
rubbing sleep out of my eyes

Got pretty close in Frisco
give or take a day
but I seen I barely missed her
when they pulled him from the bay

Seems I’m always half a step
or two or three behind her;
her laugh was like a lighthouse
but her shadow’s what defined her

I heard she blew through Texas
maybe stopped in Lafayette
and I just come from Coeur d’Alene
on axel grease and sweat

Now mister I ain’t stupid
and mister I ain’t scared
she may be splitting atoms or
she may be splitting hairs

But she ain’t stopped for long enough
to see her own forever
and I ain’t gonna stop until
we’re running off together.


Julie said...

Hi, Joaquin! Fantastic poem!! This one also makes me think of a song. I love how you can bring a story to life on the page, and I literally hear music while I'm reading it. Seriously. I hear notes. That is awesome. It also makes me think of that old Bob Seger song, "Sunspot Baby." Chick took off with the American Express. Ha! Ha!

It's also like watching a movie every time I come here to read. The stories are exciting, the pacing is great, and I'm on the edge of my seat.

I love the ending, too. No matter what she did, he's still after her. I love all the excellent details like "half a cup of coffee" and coming from Coeur d'Alene on "axel grease and sweat."
Excellent work, Joaquin!

P.S. - What number is your work in Clarity of Night? I've been trying to read them all, but life keeps pulling me away. I'd love to read yours. Or have you posted it here? It's quite possible, because I think I've lost my mind:)

Aniket said...

Now mister I ain’t poet
and mister I ain’t expert
I am just a fan who loves singing
Your singing-dancing words!

:D :D :D

Catvibe said...

Like Julie said, this is such a song. Do you write music too? This would make a great tune. I love the character you've created. Both of them actually.

BTW: I had you in my top 5 in the contest. It was a tough decision, there were so many awesome entries. But your poem was that visual for me, as your poems are, so I loved it just that much more.

Karen said...

joaquin - Every time I read your poems, I feel like I'm a movin' n a groovin' across this country - running from someone or after someone or from myself. I want you to know that I love the journey!

I remember once you wrote a poem asking why you don't write traditional poems. I read your work and I know why you don't. You are anything but an ordinary poet. You are a unique voice that transports me to your world. Thanks for taking me along for the ride!

As for Highwayman, I'm still thinking about these lines: "she told me how she growed" and "when they pulled him from the bay." Seems to me there's more to her and to the chase than I first thought, and if I'm not misreading, this adds another layer of meaning.

Excellent work, as always. Even though I mentioned the journeys, I never quite know what to expect, which is what makes me wait for Thursdays with great anticipation. Love Lyrics and Maladies!

Silly Girl said...

hi, JC!

I remember hearing the music behind your words from the first poems i've read... ;)

So happy that more and more people are listening, while music's still playing.

Sarah Hina said...

Joaquin, you have such a gift for narration and movement in your poems. They just pull me along, breathless. There's always a great voice, and a cast of characters. I really do see your work as a cross between poetry and prose. It's so easy to read, yet so hard to achieve.

My favorite lines:

her laugh was like a lighthouse
but her shadow’s what defined her

I see him reaching out to grab her by the shoulder, and her hair just slipping through his fingers. A girl who could be confused with the wind. But more dangerous and alluring.

Vivid, captivating work, again.

joaquin carvel said...

julie - thank you - funny you mentioned movies - that's how i often feel at the buffaloe pen. your words (there and here) blow me away. also - i wondered if i was writing a bruce springsteen song he hasn't written yet (sorry bruce) - maybe that had something to do with the music in this one....? (and i'm 103 @ clarity of night if you wander over there.)

aniket - what i wouldn't give to hear you sing 'em. double to see the dance. :) thank you!

cat - sadly, no. i borrowed a guitar a while back and can only play a couple of chords about 70% of the time. maybe that's why i try to find music in words though. and thank you for your vote! that means i got at least two (thanks again aniket) - which is about the best one can hope for when one enters a poem in a fiction contest.

karen - holy cow. wanna be my agent? seriously, though - thank you - having you along for the ride is always amazing. and i don't think you're misreading - it wasn't out of forethought, but i caught it later - i wondered about it, and i wondered if anyone else might wonder about it.... (see - i'm just along for the ride half the time too!)

sg - you were the first who mentioned hearing it - it meant (and means) more than i can say.

sarah - i can see that too, the hair & fingers - "confused with the wind" - :) thank you - you know narration and movement so well your comment stunned me a little - in a good way.

Silly Girl said...

was afraid u forgot...
silly me

Jannie Funster said...

There's your hit country song. (I might even have to steal it.) :)