Route 66 Summer 1958 (from Chained Dog Dreams)

We drove fast as rain over our blue highway.

The highway undressed far horizon button-by-button.

My father’s mercy furrowed the road ahead with possibility.

My mother’s wound baked in the front seat,

just a memory it was, but painful as parched earth.

The wound ploughed her skin with infection.

I sat in the back holding Frank’s fishbowl

and thought about a silver lake, a cooling swim,

hot dogs, mildewed canvas tents. Frank’s guppies sloshed

to the sound of the wheels praying.

A potato chip had wrecked itself on our motel’s kitchen floor,

the final detail of a thousand wrecks from the night before.

beautiful photos from the National Historic Registry.

Some of my poems come straight from a combination of memory, dream, and feeling–they read like autobiography, they feel like it, too, but except for driving on Route 66 as a little girl, I don’t believe the details are facts. I know I never drove with Frank’s guppies…and in fact, the only Frank I knew was my uncle who at that time lived in Alaska. I do love the smell of a mildly mildewed canvas tent, and that smell brings rushes of sweet camping memories.

6 thoughts on “Route 66 Summer 1958 (from Chained Dog Dreams)

  1. Oh Carol. This is wonderful and a delight to get a glimpse into your process.
    I recently read a book called ‘big magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert where she writes about inspiration and creativity. It was so good. One of my favorite parts was when she wrote about Ruth Stone, I’m sure you have heard of her process. Of catching a poem as it traveled through her… sometimes even catching the tail end and writing it down as she pulled it back so that it was written from the last word to the first.
    Creativity is magic and I’m grateful to read yours. Xo, Sue


    1. Thanks for the reminder to read “Big Magic.” What a great remark from Ruth Stone…my poet friend Aaron Abeyta speaks of words that he catches in a fishing net. But that maybe the poem is the words that get away.


  2. go with the dreams facts be damned while pondering fresh mildew wafting from the trunkroaring down the highway seatbelts long yet to be never quite catching up to the sunset westward horizon as fast as you may try favorite pillow close one long yesterday  What the hell… I do indeed remember that very smell as it took too long to dry those heavy green canvas tents. So dark, hot and muggy inside too. Some of my earliest memories are of camping- with my grandfather in Ohio in the 50’s and then with my mom and 3 sibs tackling thecontinent summer of 1960 driving to California by way of Kansas City, Great Sand Dunes,Mesa Verde, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Zion and on down into the SoCal deserts. Especially around the fire and building the fire- We returned to the desert every year with Norm and Jan and later on our own. I have the fondest of memories with Norm out there in those wide open spaces as Jan later hung back leaving room for some friends to join us. My sister didn’t appreciate the overall experience and so didn’t hear the call of the desert or sea on that level. Motels and then hotels for her, and then world travels, which I never managed. Why do you ask? A friend offered this insight yesterday:” It seems everyone is in transition of one kind or another”.So True, how bout you? I have been really putting the brakes on work, though it looks like I’ll be back at it soon enough. Our family trust check and Lisa and I both collecting SS now has changed our financial dynamic. I am grooving on it while she is still grinding through the past and upcoming events… but camping soon to come dear friends. I stopped at Richard and Lorras’ house late eve yesterday en route from Jans’ place… after 13 days. The new caregiver seems to be working out. I connected with them to collect the $400balance due from Timber Cove kitchen and we had a nice visit. Their bathroom project that we have been attempting to get going seems to have been kicked to next year. Now they can just get away over there and ENJOY it. It’s pretty nice. OK then  current dispatch winding down, I’m tired and actually have work related things on the docket for the morrow.     with a wisp of random whimsy off I go to my clean bed, friendly pillow ever ready    Tim in love  in so many shapes and sounds and smells 


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