Michael Andrews Arts

See Announcements for details on publication of Archilochus poems in Arion Magazine.

Roadside Epiphanies

A Current Project


Roadside Epiphanies is concerned with travels on various highways.
      Mostly these are American Highways, but the odd foreign highway does creep in along with barns, snakes and roadkill. I ought to include favorite train rides like the Orient Express where the conductor stole my glasses, or the train from Lima to Huancayo over the highest train pass in the world and not even a whisper of heating.
      But the main focus is on sights beside the road, which sometimes includes signage and often enough the bit and scraps of our wasted lives like wrecked automobiles and cracked windshields.
      The fact is, it is amazing what can be seen alongside a highway if only we could keep our eyeballs peeled.
      But then, we would rather be asleep then awake.
      More's the pity.


The Nullarbor, Australia

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere
dead center in the Nullarbor
we find this guy and his family
waving forlornly beside a car
as though they were dead meat
and they knew it.

He is out of gas.
He is white.
He is middle-class.
He is an idiot.
He is from the east
and this is the first time
he has ever left home.
I pour my spare gas into his tank
while he chatters on
about how he's heard all about
how dangerous the aborigines are —
killers all, man eaters, death
dealing fanatics waiting
for the stray white man
and his family to wander
into his ambush.

"Haven't seen anything
of that description, mate,"
I tell him, turning down
his last few scraps of
withered dollar bills.
"The gas station is only
fifty miles further on,
you'll make it, no sweat."

Two days later we drive
through the aborigine reservation.
On the side of the road
is the reputed killer abo.
The entire weight of western
civilization has sucked all
the juice right of him,
crushed him down to four
and half feet and 80 pounds
of dried up, shriveled old man.
He has his grandson beside him,
age three, who doesn't have
a snowball's chance in hell
of getting out from under
the white man.

The old man is waving a boomerang,
hoping to make a year's
salary from a passing tourist.

I'm a white man
and I'm in too big a hurry.

I look back down that road,
the paving and the calendars,
at the old man waving
his tired arms, and twenty years too late
I wish I had taken the time

to stop.