E W Shaffer

Poetry & Prose

Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of a miracle of poetic prose, musical without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?"
Charles Baudelaire at webdelsol.com
Copyright © Mike Shaffer, 2009

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Highway Nonsense


I. DOWN THE ROAD

It don't make sense, he said, it don't make sense! Out of the blue Eddie would say it don‘t make sense when the inequities and incongruities of life dawned on him. He never learned doesn't. He always said don't. He said it reading the newspaper. He said it watching TV and he said it driving down the road. He said it a lot driving down the road.

It just don't make sense Michael, he would glance at me and say when idiots in cars and trucks of any shape and size crossed the double lines to pass his Pontiac Chieftain lumbering up the mountain hills of Western Maryland. He said it when people made big wide turns to the left after first moving over to the right and vice versa. He said it when drivers in front of him did anything without warning and when they made him come to a complete stop while they sat there and cogitated about where they were going before finally turning one way of the other.

He complained about farmers that inched along on tractors pulling thrashing machines and wobbling trailers piled with teetering bails of hay and there wasn't a week in the last fifty years of his driving life he didn't gripe about the noisy tractor trailers that, from both directions, droned up the steep hill on U.S. Route 220 in front of his house.

II. BURNING ISSUES

When "it don't make sense" didn't suit him he'd say things burned him up. Now that burns me up, he'd say when drivers would ride his rear bumper to get him to let them pass when there was a long line of cars in front and no place for them to go except right in front of him.

He really got burned up one time when he had to ever-so-slowly follow all the other cars on the interstate into a single lane only to find out a mile or so down the road that a repair crew had forgotten to take down their single lane sign at the end of the day and there was no need to have formed a single lane after all.

It burned him up to see trash along the road and he went ballistic when he saw people putting it there, reminding them in carefully chosen words he didn't like his tax money going to clean up after them. It also burned him up when kids squealed their tires and when cars zoomed by without letting him in the line of traffic at on ramps.

III. FIRED UP

He didn't like it when traffic signals at the bottom of hills turned red just as he got there, especially when there were no cars around waiting for the light to change and he didn't like it when cars facing him on the other side of a traffic light sprang out to turn left in front of him just a second or so before it turned green.

It didn't take much to get him fired up but the thing that inflamed him most was being blinded by people who didn't turn their high beams down, in which case he upped his too, figuring if they were going to make it hard for him to see where he was going, he wasn't going to make it easy for them to see where they were going and as I write what you are reading now, it is frightening to remind myself how much time I must have spent beside him in the days before seat belts, racing toward other cars being aimed by drivers as impetuous as he was.






PROSE POEMS—Up to a few pages with exceptions of course. To some, a cross between prose and poetry, usually without character development or plot. Any subject, message or style, often with fresh and dense language.