Dust Bowl wind stripped the land.
Foreclosure notices pasted most windows.
Going means losing everything tangible.
Staying means losing everything intangible, too.
Grapes of Wrath style westward journey,
doing odd jobs to purchase food—
penny candies for the kids
are the greatest of extravagances.
Truck breaks down in Albuquerque
not far from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe station.
Empty stock-car blues player on mouth harp
and another on banjo
pass the hours west toward California,
to Flagstaff and savvy rail-yard men with dogs.
Thankfully more bark than bite
hounded our skedaddle.
Hallelujah preacher directed us
to forestry work available in the Kaibab.
More than a year before we make it to view
the Grand Canyon.
copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney
I have spent a many years of my life living adjacent to national parks. In those years I have met a variety of people who have never visited the national park they live adjacent to. This baffles me, because I love natural wonders. They were city people or had city people priorities, as in their needs were met by the city or town or church.
This poem is a fancy (fiction) to tell a story about what it took one imaginary family to visit a national park—the Grand Canyon.
I think every American should visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone national parks at least once in their lives. I believe it should be required by the constitution, but that amendment is not likely to pass or even be introduced on the floor of the house of representatives.
I encourage people to make lists of things that cause them wonder, a wow sensation that tingles the body. If it is seeing Beyoncé live in concert, do it. If it is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, do it. If it is running marathons, do it. Each reader knows what is important at the core of your life and I encourage you to place your time and effort into making it happen.