for Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt where the given word is Abysmal and the word limit 93
How do we keep arriving at the same place?
Disrespect, intolerance, atrocity.
Anger, hate, war.
Should it be such an effort
to be sincere, kind, thoughtful
helpful, collaborative, inclusive
Our norm continues to be
Mistrustful, defensive, offensive
Fearful, fear mongering, belligerent
With the best of intentions and assumption of sincerity, I
Misdirect, deflect, protect
Hunker down, build a fence, assume offence
In my heart, I believe and hope that I am more than this
Respectful, hopeful, generous and inclusive
Open-minded, unassuming and impartial
But I am human. I am animal. I am too, Abysmal.
Eyes bulging, exploding out of his head. Through a hypoxic blur, Eric stares desperately toward the house, dragging his body through the long grasses.
Gasping for air, his mind screams “Look out the window, Lizzie!”
It was reckless leaving the house without his Epi-pen. He’d come well-prepared on this country getaway, knowing his intolerance of grasses, bees, nature in general.
But after their argument, once Lizzie said she didn’t want the baby, Eric had to get out of there.
No reception in this isolated hamlet. No help coming, all alone and dying.
Lungs bulging, about to implode. Lizzie!
There is only now. No next, no then; but I know, there once was more.
Without conscious effort I always find myself here; by these stairs
Like I’m on repeat; returning full circle
It means something to me, this place; I can’t remember.
My skin crawls; I shiver. Apprehension holds me close.
Like I’m drowning in fear; suffocating.
Many people pass by; nobody approaches me; speaks.
I don’t think they see me. Can you, my darling?
Like I’m not even here; invisible, missing; an empty space.
Where are you, my heart. Where am I? WHO am I?
Note: I posted this on my travel blog in October 2019 – and thought my Random Thoughts followers might enjoy it. Don’t laugh too hard at the poetry 🙂
In Australia, roads are big! They’re long and wide. In some places, they’re extra wide where they used to be mining towns and needed the room for vehicles (horse and cart) to pass each other and for turning.
Even if you get off the highway and on to a secondary road, you really have nothing to complain about – size wise anyway. Condition and maintenance of is a different story.
In the 1970s when a child, we lived in Port Hedland, Western Australia for a few years. Often at Christmas, we’d all jump in the car (6 of us) and travel down to Perth. The road was gravel (not yet bituminised) and basically one long, straight, 1632km (1014mi) stretch. With wide open vistas. No fences or walls. Occasionally trees.
An unusual memory I have is of driving along this endless highway, in the summer sun, and coming across tiny patches of rain. Just above you for a very short spell. And then back into the sunshine.
Some years, for a change I guess, we’d go more inland via Tom Price or Marble Bar. I guess it broke up that straight line. Marble Bar has the reputation of being one of the hottest towns in Australia (I just read something that said ‘during summer, it’s quite normal for it to be the hottest town on earth). That’s extreme! 😀 We’d visit a pool there, among gorges, with Jasper banks. (Note: I’ve also read that it was first thought to be marble, and so the town was called Marble Bar, but it has since been proved to be jasper; a highly coloured cryptocrystalline variety of quartz).
Roads in Ireland, however, are narrow and winding and often slippery, with blind bends. Hindered by hedges, stone walls and ditches; by livestock and walkers and bicyclists and farm machinery, buses or trucks.
Sure, there are highways now in Ireland, just like in Australia. But for the sake of the drama, I’m not talking about them! 🙂
‘Have Leapcard, can travel!’ has been my mantra while in Ireland. In London, you have the Oyster card, Melbourne the Myki or in Perth the SmartRider (or in The Fifth Element New York, you have the Mooltipass!). This pass has me riding the buses like a local, everywhere I go. And then there are the tour companies, like Galway Touring Co, which I used this week to visit the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin.
I have to salute the Irish Bus Driver. Before they have to even deal with the weather, or roadworks, they have to deal with the roads – and that can be a nightmare. This comes from a confident Australian driver who still closes my eyes if a road train is coming toward me! (Note: A road train is truck rig (prime mover) with two or more trailers attached). (Double note: It’s more a narrowing of eyes. Please don’t tell the police that I close my eyes!).
Now, I’m no poet, but below is my heartfelt tribute to the Irish Bus Driver.
Whether driving Bus Eireann through cramped city streets
or out in the country, with tractors and sheep
or high in the cockpit of a deluxe touring coach
the Irish Bus Driver is better than most
Behind the wheel of behometh beast
a wily character upon his seat
his wits about him every day
exuding humour, come what may
The roads are narrow, winding, steep
obstacles lurk and idiots beep
the Irish Bus Driver breathes slowly, deeply
and protects his passengers, anger not creeping
He has the patience of a saint
keeps temper even, when things ain’t
conditions worsen, eyes are burning
good music plays, DJ grooving
With nerves of steel, he makes no fuss
he charms the women on the bus
reaches a hand to help the weary
has knowledge to share and is rarely dreary
His driving day is very long
from Dublin to Galway, detour by Cong
he says to his clients “meet back here by 3”
the next stop serves the sweetest tea
Of course, there’s always one who’s late
the driver must smile, and never berate
he gets points for highest of driving skills
and also, for zero ‘recorded’ kills
At the end of the day, on roads not for bussing
he gets us home safely, tired but smiling
“Thank you!” we call to our Irish Bus Driver
who continues alone. Back same time tomorrow.
As I said, not a poet! But hope you enjoyed that tribute
I’ve had only a couple of complaints about the buses in Ireland in six weeks. Both times, the bus was late or didn’t turn up. And of course it was raining.
But on the whole, the service is excellent, they are mainly on time. And the Irish Bus Driver has only always been friendly and engaging.
No, no, no. Oh shit! I’m in trouble!
Today of all days to miss the bus, with a special arrival due. The boss made it plain; there were to be no stuff ups!
“They’ve been through enough, Fred,” he’d said in that deeply melodic voice. “They deserve quick processing; tender loving care. Don’t let me down!”
And, there. Already at the top of the escalator. Nobody to greet them. There’ll be questions; uncertainty. Have they arrived? Is this it? Do they belong?
The unfathomable guilt they carry. They survived. Have they suffered enough?
HE will kill me!
An idyllic image. The dream.
Dusk in a tiny coastal town. Lights reflect off glistening water. Palm trees. Peace.
Campervan parked; adventurous spirit.
Your gaze lingers and a smile appears; widens.
You laugh out loud. Startling yourself.
White teeth show against your brown and dirty face.
Taking this one moment to relax; to reflect.
One deep, shuddering breath taken; respite from this terrifying moment in time.
This terror won’t last; remember.
This is something to fight for.
With a sigh, you turn and face the inferno; yet to be beaten.
(In sympathy with everyone dealing with the Australian bushfires)