SW Road Trip Haibun: Holiday in Quemado

The road has its own demands. Make plans, the road reserves the right to laugh. Hail. Close. Be patrolled with USAmerican religious trooper zeal and yet you go 80+ under sun & big sky. You can’t even buy a small Trinidad in the Country Store and another hawk’s hovering over the interstate.

Ducks, Red Tail Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Vulture Capitalists, Ring-Necked Pheasant, Magpie, Redwing Blackbird, Mourning Dove, Quail, Chipmunks, Canadian Geese, Raven in the Canyon above the Colorado’s lonely echoing call, Lizards, Prairie dog, Lazuli Bunting (Garcia shoos before I can get a cellphone shot), Buffalo, Jack Rabbit bounding at Cousin’s High Desert home, Cottontail, Ground Squirrel, Cattle, Egret.

I now realize that all Magpies are but one & the same Magpie. – 5.21.15

& you drive on. Memaloose, Condon, Wasco, Boise, Chief Twisted Hair never knew potatoes, South Jordan, Moab, Grand Junction where you walk past the vacant trailer, step over the irrigation ditch and find the path around the cemetery & song sparrows for your evening walk. Denver, Taos, Peñasco and the vegetarian café run by Lesbians & detour when I-40’s closed by a crash of a semi jackknifed.

Use in the sense of a knife dates to at least 1672, in the Account Book of Sir J. Foulis: For a Jock the Leg Knife 00l. 08s. 0d. Scots. This is interesting because it predates the earliest known appearance of jackknife by some decades. Jackknife is an Americanism and is generally thought to be from one of the senses of jack referring to a mechanical contrivance of some sort. It dates to at least 1711 when it appears in the Official Records of Springfield Massachusetts…

Double back. Drive faster. Think Airbnb around here by 2050, ain’t payin’ no $300 a night. Figure once you’re past Pie Town, pickin’s get slim and one man’s wi-fi

In Quemado, NM

Quemado, New Mexico, where beetles & tumbleweeds come to die. – 5.22.15


Garcia naming the one river the Santa Barbara, del Pueblo, Lucio, de La Plaza y Embudo sticks with you, a memory of his hoarse laugh, his Walmart cantaloupe smile & the evening Embudo, better than sounds of gun shots. & you are a Cascadian in New Mexico, a coffee snob, serial speeder, rabbit-lover, carnivore in love with the road as long as a decent song’s on the iPod since corporate radio killed the radio star.


Solar Powered Prayer Wheel

iPod under spinning prayer wheel plays “Holiday in Cambodia.” – 5.23.15


About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). www.POPO.cards. He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: https://paulenelson.com/americanprophets/) has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com
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