occasional poetry.

I love that Gary Soto never uses the word or the image I’m expecting to turn up in the next line. This is from Poetry Magazine, July 1981.

Hitchhiking With a Friend and a Book That Explains the Pacific Ocean

One 41, outside Stratford,
The sky lengthens magically
When you’re 19, the first time
On the road – and if you’re
With a friend, the birds life
And never come down in the same place.
I found myself out there, with Samuel,
Hungry as a fire, kicking rocks,
Under clouds giving up
Just as we came to believe in beauty.
It was that word, and others,
That had us pointing
To windmills and sullen cows,
The trees irresponsible with their shadows.
And it was the eagerness of grass under wind, a tumbleweed
Moving, a paper bag moving,
And our minds clear as water
Pooled on roadsides. We went
On for hours. The gravel
Turned under our march,
Until the landscape meant less,
And we grew tired. A banged
Truck stopped for us
And the driver’s giddy dog licked
And nuzzles our necks
All through the foothills, toward Pismo Beach.
Two hours, two beers, and the sky
Hazed with mist. When we saw
A rough cut of sea through trees,
We tilted our heads, nudged each
Other’s ribs, at the blue
Of waves that would end at our feet.

by Gary Soto

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