Thursday, April 8, 2010


She was long and low and lovely
and she handled like a boat
as I barreled down I-80
in my old man’s hat and coat

they was all that I took with me
but they couldn’t case my shame;
left my father’s house in ashes
but I couldn’t shake my name

it was all he ever gave me
‘fore that long and awful ride
of a drifter and a grifter
hawkin’ used cars on the side

and a pretty little penny
out to catch herself a thrill -
what her daddy couldn’t buy her
in that mansion on the hill

Didn’t know where I was headed
what it was I thought I’d find;
if I’s out to capture somethin’
or leave somethin’ far behind

Atlantic City to Toledo
like a Waylon Jennings song;
just a slice of pie and coffee
ragtop open all night long

Passin’ every Joe and Johnny
99 on cruise control;
phantom faces on the highway
patrolman on a pecan roll

No he didn’t give an answer
but what answer could there be;
wasn’t nothin’ but a monster
and sir what does that make me?

Livin’ like I had no reason
to believe in much no more
since the day he made the papers,
that state trooper at my door

but way out in east Nebraska
I felt something breakin’ free;
the captain of a Continental,
windblown prairie as my sea

Just a captain, a Continental,
and Nebraska
as my sea.


Julie said...

I love this thrilling story! I kept thinking of the movie, "Bonnie and Clyde" as I read. The narrative pacing is awesome, and I imagined so many stories while riding down the highway with the narrator. I love how you leave a lot of the suspense open for the reader's imagination to take the wheel.

Fantastic lines:

"Left my father’s house in ashes/
but I couldn’t shake my name" and
"phantom faces on the highway/
patrolman on a pecan roll."

A cop with a pecan roll made me smile:)

The "pretty little penny" is a perfect phrase. I love the title, too. A Lincoln headed through (or to) Lincoln? Well, at least that's where my mind went. Fantastic work, Joaquin! You always make my day.

Karen said...

I don't know if I've told you this or not, but you make Thursdays special to me. It's sort of like waiting for a treat you know will come, and then it does, and it's better than you imagined it would be.

Jesus, Larry - I mean, joaquin - I always love your roadtrips! Give you a car and you can create an adventure and a storyline that is always a treat.

I love the mystery of what came before with the hints about the house in ashes, the "monster", and the narrator trying to shake his name, all the while wearing the old man's hat and coat and driving his boat.

I am always fascinated at the way you weave the two part harmony of your poems and at how they work together and separately so well.

This one is clever and fun and intriguing at the same time. It made me laugh and sit back to enjoy the cruise.

Nevine said...

I felt a little like a fly on the wall of your car in this treat that evokes memories of reading "On the Road". Your road poems always make me think "This is America" because so much of this country's soul is encapsulated in every word... the people, the places, the thoughts. I also love the ease of your words and your rhyme... it comes off so flawlessly, and it seems like an effortless job for you. I do so envy that!

There is truly the effect of an open landscape, the rush of wind in hair, and then the quieter moments with the patrolman enjoying his snack, before he has to hit the road once more. Deluxe stuff, Joaquin! As always...

Karen said...

Oh, and here's that ragtop!

Ji said...

honorable mention award, thank you for the energy and attention!

joaquin carvel said...

julie - thank you - your comments always make my day too. i'm glad this took you along for the ride!

karen - to be honest, it's sort of an answer to springsteen's song "nebraska". but i hoped it would work independent of that too - so i'm glad it does. and glad you found a ragtop, by hook or by crook!

nevine - wow - evoking kerouac? that's seriously amazing. thank you!

ji - thanks!

Aniket said...

"Didn’t know where I was headed
what it was I thought I’d find;
if I’s out to capture somethin’
or leave somethin’ far behind"

That's exactly how most of my road-trips go!

Have fun when you're on break and we'll be right here waiting. :)