Traveling the Road (Six Men Passed)
That makes the second man I’ve seen
Walking on the side of I-85.
The first had a weighted beard,
Carried three overfilled backpacks,
And looked like he hiked from the mountains.
This man, older, wrinkled, and stooped,
Is walking up the exit
Opposite from the traffic forward,
Moving toward his time in reverse.
The scenes around me do not change
Except for the wood splinters in the road –
Disintegration of the trees around me.
Then the road closes to one,
Almost to a stop.
As I wait for it to reopen
There appears the third man.
Straight from some movie,
Ragged, long hair, mustache,
Sunglasses half on his sun-beaten face,
He moves casually, minus his bike.
His effort is hardly any,
Knowing he isn’t going places particular,
Sort of lost, sort of wandering;
The third man seems the least so far.
Man number four along the road
Carries a duffel bag of his life,
Headset turned to oblivious,
Head down, cap on,
Hiding from the deepening light
In the wide of this space.
Number five walks silent -
No bags, no music, no hat,
No facial hair or expression -
The length of the hair on number six
Allows a ponytail to his back
And a bag hanging low onto his ass,
Drunk as he staggers about.
Strong contrast between the men,
As well as the cut-through woods,
Forces my mind to passions.
And as I pass Green Lake –
A muddy expanse of water,
Murky in its cold –
I don’t know where I am.
The green has turned…
Starting to fade…
Becoming a dying brown.
And in the blind world
This place doesn’t exist
Counties, cities, creeks, all the sky,
Everything is named in color.
My car barrels past all six pedestrians
With the road expanding before me,
My guideposts dropping leaves like hints,
Knowing my walk has yet to begin.