Thursday, February 6, 2014

Headline Poem 2/5/14 -- Those certain roads

(Photo credit Robert Knudsen/John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston)

Today's headline poem is based on an article in the New York Times about Robert Frost, pictured above talking with Jacqueline Kennedy at a White House dinner in 1962, a year before his death at age 88. "The Letters of Robert Frost" will be published in a projected four volume edition of all the author's known correspondences, and is said to soften a battered image. The article was titled "The Road Back," and triggered a walk down a few of those certain roads...

Those certain roads

There are certain roads you know by heart
X marks the spot
dot, dot, dot,
the anticipation of every curve,
knowing when to slow down,
knowing when to swerve

Mockingbird Canyon was one of those roads
I drove it at least two times a day
Windows down with my hand catching wind
in my 1969 turquoise Volvo
flower stickers and striped interior
The heater didn't work, 
and the windshield wipers
barely did their job, 
but the radio played all of my favorite songs,
while I drove along 
alone or with friends,
Singing like The Indigo Girls, Patsy Cline, and The Grateful Dead

There were sections
That required no thought
Easy and straight, 
until the big dip
I lost my stomach every time,
even though I knew it was there 
Then came the curve
many didn't make right
seems each day the signs increased -- slow down,
and go away from the house directly behind

more twists and turns,
past the nursery,
where the friendly woman lived as a wife
then an older woman --
her waves became slower
until she hardly came outside at all
eventually, she sold the land, 
and it became someone else's home

Those certain roads hardly ever change
the moon shines in the same spot,
depending on the day
dead rabbits, wandering dogs
the occasional drunk and disorderly
looking for a log 
   to rest 
   and sit
Horse back rides, and running through the woods

Those certain roads called me home 
from college and trouble, 
I could tell you stories of motorcycle accidents and fallen trees
(The neighbors denied they saw a thing),
but that was long before my driving began

From Diamond Drive at the bottom of a hill, surrounded by forests and a familiar chill,
To Harley John and Stallion Crest,
Those certain roads,
Where I always felt safe

Walls do talk, and mine were covered 
With Bop magazine boyfriends,
And maps of places I'd once travel 
Those certain roads are etched in my skin, part of my memories, always within

They welcomed visitors from near and far
Seems like Mars now,
Foreign but familiar, 
Like a place I recognize, 
By the corners and colors, 
But will never discover 

Those certain roads
Make me smile, 
I'm glad they were mine for awhile...