Thursday, January 30, 2014

Duck \ Trap Lines In Winter

Nancy: A loaded pulp truck coming toward you presents one sort of threat and, oddly enough, one in front is also dangerous.  Even though accidents are rare, except for rolling and spilling the load like pickup sticks, they’re often so grotesque, so tragic, that they’re memorable.


When I was a kid I was afraid
TB would get me.
The last few years I’ve been worried
about pulp trucks.
The way they come up behind you
until their radiator grill fills
your rear view mirror.
Or coming at you – is the boom locked
down?  Could it swing free and drop?
I could be flattened, just like that couple
up in the County.

And they overload them.  They do.  And then
it only takes one low overpass
and wham!  One of those logs gets knocked
back just like a pile driver
through the windshield.
Or they roll.
Oh God, the driver
just takes a curve a little too fast – 
the ambulance crew is holding a guy,
he’s shouting, “I know that car, I know
that car”– he breaks loose and starts
pulling at the logs with his fingers.
It happens.

I don’t like crowds.  I hate people coughing
anywhere near me.  I’m really glad
I never have to ride a subway.
But they tell me a fully loaded pulp truck
weights 100,000 pounds.  50 tons!
And who knows how often they check
those brakes?

Pulp truck: a truck used for hauling pulpwood or whole logs, often overloaded

Alan: My only poem, so far, to inspire a title for a novel.  True, a pulp western, but still, I’m happy to be associated with anything written by John Harvey, in this case The Skinning Place, number 10 in his Hart The Regulator series, from 1982. 

Trap Lines In Winter

Again now
doing what comes utterly
forcing thick feet
one and then one
to slow traverse
of white

A trick-track beaten
on my own
for my own use only
A cold occupation
digging out snares
set months ago

Some lost
some dragged off
by snow ghosts
some, with luck, frozen
tight into fur

Each seems hardly dead
as if come across
by accident
never lived
could be breathed warm
lifted tenderly
set walking

If I ever turned back
at each rise would see
no tracks
not me at all.
The red mouth
the skinning place
a voice

“Trap Lines In Winter” first appeared in Slow Dancer magazine.

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