Excerpt: John Abbott
From There Should Be Signs Here
There Should Be Signs Here
The viaduct over on the east side of town is always the first place to flood after a big rain, making Riverside Drive impassable, leaving us no choice but to take other streets through other neighborhoods, the ones where the churches and schools have achieved such a state of grace that we can no longer tell if they are still open for business or have merely become the haunt of delinquents and leaders of gangs who form their own municipalities out of parks and playgrounds the city can’t maintain. This division won’t last forever, at least not without new codes written in a language so watered down the ink bleeds as it touches the page and the lines all blur together. Anthem for a Runaway Nothing like the stations left of the dial or buried in static transmitted from low watt shotgun shacks when you're driving away from nothing toward more nothing it's all you've got to help you remember or forget depending on the state you're in don't mess with pills just turn it on turn it up fuzzed out guitar boogie shuffle stomp give me that backbeat and I'll tap along against the steering wheel window down voice raised above the offbeat pulse of night Truck Stop Blues At midnight the trucker finds himself In that place where the wheel And clutch become extensions of thought The road stretching like the space Between dreams. In moments Like these the cities appear more Alike than ever, their ability To measure distance falling away By degrees, like the tick of The odometer, like darkness passing Into morning, like the will to keep His eyes open When morning comes he finds himself Parked on the side of the road The cab silent except for the occasional Hiss of a passing car He has no memory of falling Asleep or pulling over or even Shutting off the radio and turning back The ignition But the relief he feels Is quasi-religious and like a recent Convert he feels the need To tell his story to anyone Who will listen, like the priest Sitting next to him at the diner Where he stopped for breakfast. At the end of the story he expects The priest, a youngish guy with a deep Tan, to say something profound Or perhaps bless him But instead the priest says, “I know a guy who’s got some stuff To keep you awake.” A statement which Makes the trucker mad for a lot of reasons Reasons he would like to explain But his coffee grows cold And the blacktop outside the window Calls him like the voice From a half remembered dream.
John Abbott is a writer, musician, and English instructor who lives with his wife and daughter in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Potomac Review, Georgetown Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Arcadia, Atticus Review, upstreet, Underground Voices, Fast Forward: A Collection of Flash Fiction, and many others.
There Should Be Signs Here is available from Wormword Chapbooks.