Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Highway 53

Picture courtesy of ze Great and Powerful Google

There is a stretch of Highway 53
that God forgot,
hell wouldn't have,
and I called home 
for a lost year or two.

The half-mile that optimists claimed as "town"
wasn't much to speak of.
Meth cooking up in the weeds.
Jesus preached behind stained glass.
A single, screen door store
where you could get a beer
if the other two didn't suit you.
All of it strung together by the highway
that rolled out either side back into Nothing to See Here.

Except in the summer.

In the summer,
the sun baked that blacktop
until it was blister kiss hot.
And, for some reason, that burning blacktop
drew tarantulas.
Lots of them.

You'd start seeing them four or five miles outside of town.
Just a couple, at first.
Then, suddenly, you'd top a hill,
and they'd be so thick the road was moving.
And, someplace in the back of your brain
would just convulse.

Now, logically, you knew that those things
couldn't crawl up into the undercarriage of the car,
couldn't scratch through the windows,
couldn't get to the tender flesh of your thigh,
but the terror was pure and silver
and your foot was stomping the accelerator
and logic was drowned
in the rush of your adrenalin
and drowned out
by the crash of your heart.

Until you hit the town line,
and they were gone.
Just . . . gone.

And, meth, Jesus, or a cold beer
sounded pretty damn good.

For Open Link Night at dVerse


thingy said...

This is so frickin' good. I love it.

Fred said...

Love this MZ. You paint a very clear scene here, absolutely love from now, logically on…great job. thanks

Robert Gibson said...

I can see the moving road... and the last two lines end with a punch!

Katherine Krige said...

You made my skin crawl too. Ugh, I would definitely be reaching for that beer.


Anonymous said...

logic was drowned
in the rush of your adrenalin ->

know how that feels

RD said...

Meth / Jesus
Meth / Jesus
Meth / Jesus
decisions decisions

Love it


Sweeter said...

Cheers to that
Great job, M Zen!

Steve King said...

Tarantulas, meth, beer or Jesus. What a tale you've told about our options...a super drawing from experience. I guess your choice would depend where you were in the block. This is an excellent portrait and fine poem to boot.

Pat Hatt said...

Logic going out the window, like how you create and play with that, nice!

Brendan said...

Exactly why meth and Jesus consume those "towns" out in the middle of nowhere. What a fine, feral narrative. And that "silver" fear is like DTs for breakfast. Great work, MZ. - Brendan

Brian Carlin said...

I like the pace and the beat of this road movie...it's natural and rolls until the dead stop of town

Mary said...

Yikes, I can just see those tarantulas. I will take a cold beer and Jesus, please!

Natasha Head said...

Pure and silver...loved that! And even though my skin is left literally crawling, I loved the entire piece. You touch all my triggers...addiction, faith, and spiders (big hairy ones at that) Oh, lordy MamaZ, you've done up and inspired me!

mrs mediocrity said...

wow, you did a great job building the tension in this poem, i wanted to slam my foot on the brake and turn right around.

yikes. but great work!

Laurie Leclair said...

Blister Kiss - just perfect. I'll have to show this poem to my man, the arachnophobe.

hedgewitch said...

Logic ain't got nothin to do with spiders--though personally, there are other creepy crawlies that spook me more--you nail the ambiance of the setting well, great echo of the build in the last lines that sinks the nail. Excellent writing, MZ.

Claudia said...

OMG...not sure what i would do... what a place to live...glad you survived..smiles

Anonymous said...

I would have been out of there too - I'm not that fond of spiders, but tarantulas! An awesome write, Mama!

Anthony Desmond said...

meth and jesus... and tarantulas... what combination.. powerful stuff

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Hoooome Run, Zen Mama!
Kick Ass good, this is.

Sylvia K said...

Oh, this is friggin' great indeed! I think I grew up there!! Nobody does it better, Mama! Hooray!


Anonymous said...

A lot of fun, in a creepy way. Reads like a monologue for the stage. K.

Anonymous said...

So good. So very, very good.

The desolation conveyed here is palpable. And how in that, some people will turn to things just to escape it, no matter how much it hurts them.

And the spider imagery was fantastic. But I do love spiders, so while it didn't terrify me, I could quite clearly see why it would terrify someone.

Again, so very good. Great work here.

anthonynorth said...

Perfectly done - and by pure coincidence I watched 'Them' today. Different creature but a similar chill in the desert.

Anonymous said...

Well, mark hwy 53 off my places to visit. Don't like spiders. Great open and a good read. skin crawling, don't I feel manly.

ayala said...

And, meth, Jesus, or a cold beer
sounded pretty damn good.....
love this, MZ!!! Cool write!!!!!

Brian Miller said...

ok the tarantulas are a bit freaky....meth is too...a cold beer does not sound bad after that jaunt through town though...smiles.

Divalounger said...

Wow-this is a fabulous write--loved the visual hits I got while reading it--


Heaven said...

I will be speeding out of there too ~

Cool write ~

Fireblossom said...

28 comments in a couple of hours, geez. I get like, 9 and 15 for the whole post. How come you get to be the pretty one AND the popular one?

Spiders are just creepy. *shiver*

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

The beginning Sounds a bit like a Tennessee Williams tale or something . good job

Anonymous said...

Great poem, vivid and wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic - reminds be of trips to rural Australia - parts of it are scary :)

ab said...

From now on, I'm not reading your blog before I go to bed ;) Spooky but cool imagery!

Teresa said...

Think I'll sign on for the cold beer! Terrifying tale!

Ginny Brannan said...

Yeah, there IS no logic when it comes to spiders--of any size!! Wonderful choice of words described this place well. I wouldn't want to pass through there.This gave me the "creeps!"

Lolamouse said...

Yuck! They sound even worse than my recent black widow! I could just see that whole scene you describe. Great poem, MZ!

Anonymous said...

this made me shiver. so damn good.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Awesome write! I've seen the tarantulas migrating; thousands of them crossing the road. Drove through a river of them once; freaked my wife out. She didn't put her feet back on the floor for fifty miles.
Stunning bit of writing, m'lady!

Jebbi said...

I read this out loud to my son, he loved it too...what a great "descriptive" piece...holy cow!!

Shashi S said...

Its beautiful.. I enjoyed the use of your words like 'Optimist' and the conversational style of telling a story is beautiful.


ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
At twitter @VerseEveryDay

jen revved said...

Wonderful vignette; a narrative dance with locale. Beautifully done, MZ. xxxj

Dave King said...

Sounds like the ultimate nightmare, so well crafted.

happygirl said...

Creepy crawly... I could feel this one on my skin.

Cheryl said...

My heart's still pounding from the pace of this piece.

C Rose said...

such a wonderful written prose it metaphors the perspective of journey in such a dramatic way. wonderful write ~ Rose

Arron Shilling said...

a shit hole for sure but you make it great...must be the meth :)

Anonymous said...

That was horrifying. Bleck. My skin is crawling. :)

My favorite is "blister kiss hot" ... awesome.

And yes, at that point, I'd surely be looking for something to calm my nerves. Perhaps a blister-hot kiss.


lori said...

First things first. I always forget to tell you how much I love your blog title. Makes me laugh every time. Second, this is awesome in every way. Way to paint a picture. Well done :)