Joe Indian Road, Parishville, New York



A center stripe on such a road would be no more than affectation,

The prospect of two vehicles on the same stretch of this blacktop

Which ambles from nowhere to nowhere, old logging path

Morphed into a convenience for fishermen or bird watchers

Heading to the odd bits of Adirondack Park land scattered in its path

All but a mathematical impossibility.

Indeed, the fog lines are barely visible, a series of dots and dashes

Along the crumbling berm of the shoulders,

And the signs testifying to the calamitous curves ahead

Are faded and pock-marked

In testament to generations of pellet-gun marksmanship, twelve-ounce projectiles.

There remain the odd traces of the byway’s former usefulness:

Rusted blades or unevenly-spoked wheels from ancient logging outfits,

The odd abandoned hunting camp, and here and there,

Visible through gaps in thick, ancient stands of pine

(Having outlasted the original settlers and logging concerns

Through the sheer stubborn implacability of biology),

You might see an anomalous abandoned bus up on blocks,

And there are those who have sworn they have seen them

Adorned with curtains in the windows,

But that is most certainly a trick of the light,

A mis-apprehension of something half-glimpsed by the drivers

As they sped by.


(Post added for the Wednesday challenge at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  No toads or gardens, imaginary or otherwise, were injured in the composition of this poem.)






12 thoughts on “Joe Indian Road, Parishville, New York

  1. These are my favorite phrases/lines:

    “no more than affectation”
    “Which ambles from nowhere to nowhere”
    “Morphed into a convenience”
    “A mis-apprehension of something half-glimpsed” (this is a thought-provoking poem all on its own)

  2. Much of America, especially in the northern climes, is old and rotting and beautiful, and hardly anyone ever sees or notices it. This poem captures much of it. Very nice.

  3. Such a deeply moving picture of a forgotten road, with the energy of an more useful era still present, though leaking away. I thought the image of the bus on blocks was inspired in suggesting journey’s end.

    The toads and frogs thank you for allowing them peaceful passage on this road.

  4. I like in the Pacific Northwest close to the Cascade mountain range … so many roads out here just as you describe them ~ beautifully!

  5. at the risk of being unforgivably repetitious, there is a tangibility, a fully absolute quality to the place element in your poetry, whether directly referred to, as here, or otherwise.
    this could be a poetic rendering of Irving’s “Last Night in Twisted River.” the same thick presence of past life, the same unremarkable end to industry, the same feeling of wondering what the trees and the growth that have moved in to reclaim their hold on the territory are thinking as they wind themselves around the dubiously occupied bus, as they ponder the asphalt that cracks between their roots.

  6. calamitous curves, anomalous abandoned

    You are a gifted writer. I can’t dissect poetry like the ones above, but I do enjoy it. 🙂

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