10-23 Thumbs Down

In semester break at UNCC in 1975, with backpack, I hitched from Charlotte NC to Florida to spend time with a buddy. I spent hours waiting for rides. This one depicts a portion when I ended up  spending the night in a sleeping bag off ramp, somewhere in Georgia.

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Pounding pavement.

Pounding pavement.





Hitching exhaust fumes

as semis and flat tops rage by;

campers and U-Hauls clog inner lanes.


It takes only one mechanical host

for this parasite’s ride on 95 South.


Two men with thistly faces taxi me

through Georgia in a crumpled van.

They snort cheap vodka, munch Milky Ways

and drawl about a paralyzed son

withering in a VA Hospital. A fly

buzzes in and out of hearing.


At dusk I’m jettisoned by an exit,

knee deep in retreads. Swamp pines

are saber-toothed against the Zodiac.


The headlights and hungry jaws of a bug-eating grill

roar through pitch, blast by, horn blaring


and red lights trails,


squeezes into a red spot, and


disappears into the black hole


of a deep December night.



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