The God of Dumb Luck
Only an old fool from Minnesota,
because winter hasn’t killed him
after sixty-seven attempts,
and because he’s fueled by a vision of spring
in the high desert of New Mexico—
mesas and buttes baked by a sun
exuding heat as well as light,
so unlike the winter sun of the north,
would chance driving in this snowstorm
on icy U.S. 27
south of Sharon Springs, Kansas,
trying to reach La Junta, Colorado by midnight
and Abiquiu, New Mexico, Ghost Ranch by lunch.
But, here I am,
hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly
my fingers have locked up,
leaning into the windshield
in hope of spotting a line on the highway
to guide me on this fool’s errand.
To turn back would be even more half-witted,
so I drive on into the storm, fool that I am,
praying to the God of Dumb Luck
for a snow plow’s spinning beacon to appear
Between La Jara and Romeo
van Gogh wakes in the back seat,
looks out the window
asks me if I could stop the universe,
it’s so hard to paint spinning objects;
I say no and Vincent begins to cry,
waking Picasso in the passenger seat,
who also looks out and wonders aloud
why the mesquite bushes look like mandolins
with broken strings and bloated bodies.
Georgia O’Keefe speaks from the radio,
asks if we could backtrack a mile,
she says she saw some cattle skulls
she could use in a painting.
I shake my head, say no to the radio,
no one can go back, only forward,
though Pablo thinks sideways is a possibility.
Vincent’s gone back to sleep holding his ear
as we pull into Manassa to pick up Jack Dempsey.I need someone to keep order in this poem.
Larry Schug: I am retired from a life of physical labor, including as a grave digger, recycler and forest fire fighter, to name a few. I've published seven books of poems, the latest being At Gloaming, with North Star Press. I've traveled the highways by thumb and ridden a few boxcars back in the day. I live with my wife, dog and three cats near a large tamarack bog in St. Wendel Twp., Minnesota. My website is www.larryschugpoet.com.