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February 2, 2010

Ease on Down the Road

Everybody knows that a fairytale starts out once upon a time,
but a truck driver’s tale starts out you ain’t gonna believe this shit.

~Teri Horton

She finds her Pollock while looking for any old gift
in a thrift store on a California corner. There it sits,
among seventies lunch boxes and ceramic Buddhas,
on the wall with an eight dollar price tag. (She pays five)

The relentless Horton, a long-haul truck driver,
seventy three, with saucer-size glasses, a permanent
aqua net, and a voice that rakes across driveways
covered with hot ashes. Proud and dignified she

sits in her chair cock-eyed but lady-like still,
this little bitty gal with a trashy mouth who lives
in a trailer crammed with claimed salvation
and redemption found in a green dumpster.

She comes from the heart of the Ozarks, a tough
life on the farm, children taken from her and then
a dead daughter who was only eighteen. One day
Teri takes off her good boots and walks into the sea,

and comes out with nothing left to lose. So when
they say her painting is a fake without any proof
she tells a tall tale about John Wayne, Joan Crawford,
a bartender named Pops, and calls it provenance.

(Some believe it all, one even says he knew pops.)
Now for inspection by the critic, he tilts, he twirls, he squints
and stops It has no appeal, dead on arrival, she knows
nothing, so does it matter to me? I’m an expert, she’s not.

Next she calls the scientist in, he says he found Pollock’s prints
among those bended rays of life. Soon a collector comes round
with a low two million dollar pitch, but Horton just laughs and says,
Before I let them take advantage of me, I’ll burn that son of a bitch.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 10:12 pm

    She shoulda took the 2 mil and run…

  2. February 2, 2010 10:29 pm


  3. February 3, 2010 1:25 am

    Good stuff. I read it a second time to find out what was going on. I read it a third because I liked it so much.

  4. February 3, 2010 11:26 am

    I love LOVE LOVE this poem – rich in detail, strong in voice. I love the sound of it – all those internal rhymes. Especially liked the line about the daughter who comes out of the sea ‘with nothing left to lose’.

  5. February 7, 2010 1:40 am

    Wow, thank you so much. I sent it to Teri Horton and she called it “kool”, which really made me smile.

  6. February 7, 2010 3:50 am

    This has a nice easy feel, a cool groove all the way through.

    I tried writing poetry. Didn’t work out. I keep reading and learning. This is more my style as far as reading. I will read more.

  7. February 7, 2010 12:26 pm

    Oh my god, Lou, that is just awesome! Your description of Teri just puts a big smile on my face – her voice, and her trailer….I reread those two sections over a couple of times, just because they were so beautifully done. I am fast becoming a very big fan of yours.

  8. February 8, 2010 9:14 pm

    Lou – this is marvellous, confident writing, gives a sense of person, time, place, story. Fabulous. You are quite a poet.

  9. February 11, 2010 12:56 pm

    Thank you. This is one of the poems I wrote when all my poems started turning into character sketches and I got the feeling I should at least try to write stories, even if I failed. I really appreciate your encouragement.

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