Summer of 1973

Summer of 1973

It is not 1973
it is 2020 and all roads are
blocked but back in the summer
of my right thumb when the roads ran free
I was $120 and a clean knapsack westbound
on US 33 smack-dab in the middle of Ohio
thumb out on my 19th birthday oh I made time
up to northern Michigan the first night
a campfire an art student Moira
who had clouds of curls she said
All art is Eros I thought Oh till I drank
like a teenager so sulked north
into Canada and the scorched dust
of the prairies stuck stuck stuck
3 days just west of Winnipeg
then into the clear cool of the Canadian Rockies
yes Karen she was blond I helped her
find firewood stayed till the money ran out
hitched with good buddy Jeff to the fruit farms
of southern BC to make a few bucks in the cherry
orchards Jeff you’re a natural they said meaning
I wasn’t and at 19 you wonder if you’re a natural
at anything especially since Karen was gone
empty and broke and blistered
with the company of a fellow picker
a writer he said who loved poems but was going
to write porn for the money oh and so
on to Vancouver and the ferry and Long Beach
at the cold blasted edge of the world we camped
“Granny’s Bakery” was the best everyone said
but it was the only place in reach so yes it was best
south to San Francisco ah yes I-80 east of Sacramento
a magic ride bound for Indiana with beer
weed frisbees and a pile of 8-track tapes
overshot home to Boston and Quebec City
and now almost 50 years later I see
it is only about reach and nothing else matters
and when I tasted the world all I did was trace out
a dusty teenaged squiggle across a continent
and as that line continued through the years
it is still just a squiggle doesn’t even weave
just sort of tangles struggles to go straight
a tangle but it was what I could reach
and by the gods of the highway
however dusty snarled and small
it is still where I went
and still what I did
and still what I claim
as my own.

Glenn Entis lives in San Francisco, California with his wife. He writes poetry about almost everything except his long career in computer animation and videogames.

[image: Hitchhiking | Alessandro De Leo]

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