Hitchhiking Through Mississsippi On A Summer Afternoon

Afternoon heat reflected off the
rippling currents of
vapor blurred the horizon. Everything
living played dead
laid defeated
under burden of heavy air.
I stood
on the blistering blacktop, doubts
swarming through my mind, while
sweat flowed from every pore in
my body precipitated by no more
exertion than the blinking of an eye. I had no
refuge, barren highway behind and
ahead of me, swamp on either side,
I stood
I stood
and wondered,
“what’s next.”
“What’s next, ” the
question I pondered
weeks ago when I decided
bussing tables, getting high, and
writing bad poetry was not as
stimulating as it sounds. The decaying
little town in western New York,
my home,
offered no solution to my
growing restlessness.
I sold my stuff,
put the ten-dollar bill in my shoe,
the bag of change in my bedroll, and
hit the road. For I am an explorer,
I decided, and
the unknown is
my destination.
Got lucky outside of Memphis
caught a ride, with a man who
spoke two words the entire time,
straight through to the south end of Jackson.
The air conditioning in the solemn man’s
car was a blessing at the time, but it only
amplified the weight of the stifling heat and
humidity of the south Mississippi afternoon.
I stepped out of that car
outside of Jackson,
my luck melted away with
my spirit. The few
cars that traveled I-55 that day
passed me by; I was invisible.
I walked for mile after sticky mile
collapsing into myself with each step. Somehow
I raised my head, despite the
ever-increasing gravity, and was
greeted with a pleasant and cruel mirage.
Ahead was
Terry, Mississippi,
ahead was
my destiny,
ahead I would
make decisions,
ahead was
one of those significant points
where an instant
determines the future. Where
there are three options:
continue on the same path,
change paths, or
turn back.
This was going to be one of those
yin-yang kind of days where
light and
dark are one, where
things are defined
by their opposites. Where the
same hand that strikes;
The future is determined by
decisions; decisions made at significant points.
The course can be changed, but
never the decision.
A car pulled over broke my reverie,
“Where ya headin’? ” the driver asked
“Forward, ” I replied.

by steve zabaldo

Comments (3)

I love this Kerouac Korrective... I'm pondering your leaving out the last line?
Oh! I just absolutely love this, Steve! What a wordsmith you are! ! ! Thanks for sharing this. Hell, thanks for writing this! One tiny suggestion, add a comma just before 'broke my reverie'....other than that, I'd say, IMO, this is perfect.
A compelling narrative Steve, with some great imagery - loved this: 'rippling currents of vapor blurred the horizon.' and a positive ending too. Nice one! Kind regards, Justine.