Best First Sentence Contest [CONTEST CLOSED — WINNER DIRECTLY TO BE ANNOUNCED: UPDATE 2: WINNER ANNOUNCED]
  • CONTEST CLOSED. WINNER SELECTED.

    The Journal Pulp is offering a $200.00 cash prize for the following:

    Best first sentence for a novel about a poet truckdriver who loves the landscape almost as much as he fears the big black rig he sometimes sees in his rear-view mirror the moment before that rig vanishes.

     

    Rules and guidelines:

    No outrageous run-ons. You can submit anonymously or under your real name, it doesn’t matter.

    No minimum length requirement.

    Submit as many separate entries as you’d like.

    Leave your sentence in the comments section below.

    The winner will be carefully selected by the Journal Pulp.

    The contest will be open for two weeks from today: March 22, 2012 through April 5, 2012.

    If your sentence doesn’t appear in the comments after you’ve submitted, it’s almost certainly because of this overly aggressive SPAM filter. Please note that I check the SPAM folder carefully and regularly, and that your sentence, if it’s not SPAM, will be approved.






About The Author

The sawed-off shotgun of literary pulp.

297 Responses and Counting...

  • […] Leave your paragraph in the comments section here. […]

  • There is nothing that compares to feeling of freedom one achieves behind the wheel of his own life. Some would say that’s a little corny. But does it subtract the truth from it? I drive this strip of road from state to state, watching the land cover my tracks with each mile I take. But this time, the trip is different. Usually I love to gaze my eyes over the horizon, watch the sun set from its heat filled playground. On this day, I happened to look in my mirror and see the darkest monster that had ever crossed my path. Quite a huge rig for this time of the day, on this particular road. My eyes swerve to look toward the sun, just to get a feel for the time. As soon as I let my gaze drift back to that boring road behind me, reflected in the beat up rear view mirror, that rig was gone. No tracks to indicate he had swerved or pulled over. Just gone. Suddenly, the landscape was no longer appealing.

  • Vinnie Davidson gazed in enthrallment out at the managerie of color that lined the sides of the dull gray pavement of the highway. His 18 wheeler sped across potholes and cracks that lined the road, contrasting sharply with the beauty that invaded his peripheral vision . The ash, oak, birch and yew trees were garbed in all of their autumn glory as Vinnie admired the hills that rolled like waves that these magnificent towers of the earth’s bounty clothed. With displeasure, his mind was jolted by the cacophony of grunts, growls and sputters that came from the engine of the powerful vehicle that propelled his trailer of cargo toward its destination. All that interested him in this moment was the wind’s sweet embrace and the magnificence of his surroundings.

  • “POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME!” “Holy shit! Who wrote this crap? I need some fuckin satellite……dammit I need some coffee…..200 miles and I’m golden. I wish it was daylite so I could check these hills out…..I’m Tha Man Just Ask Me….I Need Some Muthafuckin Coffee…..I should buy the old lady a house out here ha ha! I don’t have an old lady!…….If I could just catch that hook, I could make so much money….Why don’t I buy a recorder? DAMN! I can’t stay awake…Oh nice fuckin police on my ass….Fuckin pass you prick! Dim that fucker! Oh Holy God…………FUCK ME!……..GOD JESUS IN HEAVEN DON’T LET ME SEE HIM AGAIN!………….I’M TIRED! I’M TIRED!……

  • The rhythmic drone of the engine provided the perfect tempo for the trucker’s latest ballad, but as he passed the empty rest stop, the headlights from the phantom rig made his blood run cold.

  • Jake Karlovak took a swig of Maker’s Mark.

  • There it was again, the big black rig, except now Bill didn’t care. He’d been driving for eight hours straight on the lone highway, trying to figure out which sounded better: they’re or they are. His haiku would take another three hours. The black rig couldn’t wait that long, vanishing before the sunk upon the impressive desert landscape.

  • ” These wipers ain’t in time to my song……this song sucks anyway………I wonder who got paid to hack this crap out?……I should try out for that Ice Road Trucker, jobber, jamoke program…..Fuck me I’m tired as shit…I should write a song about Bubba The Love Sponge bein’ a puss and gettin off satellite…..Bubba’s a bitch! Bubba’s ……..I got nothin…..man I need some sleep…..holy shit I want to pull over and write a letter to somefuckinbody to pay me to sleep…..Fuck My Job I want another…..I’m a truck-drivin muthafucka!……..Not my best work but people will buy anything……fuckin Jersey Shore Fags!…….Holy fuck! I’m gonna be rich…….Fuck My Job I Want Another……I’m A Truck……….WHAT THE FUCK? PASS ME! …………..oh holy jesus………….”

  • (Insert Name) mind was once again caught up in the melodic drone of his wheels thumping along the highway only to be suddenly jarred back into reality by a fleeting glimpse of a menacing mirage.

  • Driving a truck; definitely not the most budding profession, but the scenary is worth a peak.

  • The dark rig filled his vision every time he chanced a look in his rear view mirror, so he drank in the friendly green fields and streams in front of him to maintain some semblance of reality…the rig was a disturbing illusion that he could banish in fleeting glimpses of the beauty ahead.

  • I sent my best first sentence. I don’t think it went through. Here it is again:

    The truck driver pushed the poet in him away along with the draw of the lush landscape blossoming before the night fell around him; and came back to the reality of the road running the length of forever in front of his rig when the phantom eighteen wheeler running the length of the now deserted darkness, came once again, barreling in behind him.

  • The black and brightness behind him blinded his view of the nighttime mountain road ahead.

  • Senor Harald Mancina stared vacantly down the tarmac as the ghostly black eighteen-wheeler sped on down the highway; the icy mountain road felt cool against his bloody cheek, so he closed his eyes and dreamed of Yates.

  • The soft rhythm of wheels rolling down the coal-black road seem to silent the fears as Mack pears through his mirrors looking for a sign of the lost trucker known to haunt these roads.

  • At twelve miles to midnight the poet trucker spoke to no one there the words working their way around his tired mind, while the empty highway stretched his senses and his sanity with the apparition of the dark phantom rig, once again, running along the blacktop just behind him.

  • Bri

    It had become an internal war within him, of whether or not the forests that grew in his chest at the sight of the landscape were enough to make it worth the fear that pounded itself into every bone in his skeleton each time he saw the flicker of the black rig in his rear-view mirror; a damned ghost that put his stuttering heart to rest.

  • The soft rhythm of wheels rolling down the coal-black road seem to silent the fears as Mack peers through his mirrors looking for a sign of the lost trucker known to haunt these roads. Many times on this same road Mack had seen out of the corner of his eye the black big rig bearing down on him, only to watch it vanish when he takes a closer look. Inside he feels a rhyme will have reason for the tricks the mind plays on a road warrior such as he, and so the words roll, like the hi-ways pull down a steep mountain road.

  • If I had tits for milk, I would have liked to keep that little baby.

  • His hindsight was never clear.

  • BMI

    The beauty I behold as I’m hauling my load
    Is truly a beautiful site;
    Yet I become frightened and my skin further whitened
    By the rig that follows me each night.

  • Rob

    “Again?” he thought to himself as the well-rehearsed team of gypsies descended on the steam room chuckling.

  • As I drive through Colorado, I can feel the rumbling echo of the j-brake in my truck; it’s almost as if the mountains and the truck are playing ping pong with each other, that sensation and sound; It’s something only a real trucker could love. I’m overcome with a sense of gratefulness.. This is my favorite time of the long days I endure, the sunsets. In a world where it seems I go to sleep in one state and wake up in another, that seems to be the only routine thing in my life. Colors and shades of reds, and pinks, oranges and blues; its Gods easel. Of course, my ease is shortlived when the sun is finished setting. I check all my mirrors and even behind me… Its unsettling awaiting the moment where he appears. Or it appears.. Whatever it is, it follows me everywhere. I feel it is an image, depicted in my head of my inner demons, and somehow, my mind has made an illusion of this… Ghost rig? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. Still, something to look into.

  • There was always a soft poignancy in the vague and fateful meeting of two headlights on the interstate at night; the fleeting companionship that initiated itself as a glimmer on the horizon, crescendoing as the two wanderers of that endless night close the gap between them, and then fading into oblivion after an anticlimactic and instantaneous parting of the ways.

  • Through all of the turns in the road he tried to keep an eye on his rear view mirror to track the progress of the black monster rig, but kept allowing the gorgeous scenery to lull him into a sense of security and normalcy.

  • Wafting again through the veil of mists that exist somewhere beyond this world and the place of phantoms was the ghostly black big-rig in the review mirror of his own eighteen wheeler bound for the beauty in the siren call of the open untouched countryside from which he could not pull himself and did not know which one haunted him more.

  • If he could slake his thirst for simply MORE desert as thoroughly as he swigged to forget Utter Darkness, he would, he knew, die satisfied.

  • How to reverse the fact that it seemed always more about what haunted him than what he hoped might lay ahead?

  • While disjointed rhymes roamed around his head like bleating sheep, his bleary eyes took in the rolling contours of the high desert; he could not shake the feeling of doom the big, black rig left in the pit of stomach.

  • His rig slid silently through the early spring Colorado snow that gave the illusion of sky islands as surely as the illusion of the black rig he periodically glimpsed in the rearview mirror.

  • There it was again, the big, black rig that flittered like a mirage in his rearview mirror, shaking the final line of his poem right out of his head that he had composed about the mystery of the Painted Desert.

  • Out on these flat-land highways, illusions, like poems, had relentless purpose, so he wasn’t alarmed by the repeated appearance of a phantom rig in his rearview mirror.

  • The coal black truck again … where was Bobby McGee and her boyfriend when he needed them most?

  • Life takes us down many roads…some predictable, others unknown.

  • The stretch of two-lane could have been anywhere running the ethereal length of the watercolor countryside drawing deep breath and good words from the poet trucker reaching for the vision in its beauty then once again, like his last run, deep dread drew him too while methodically making his way with the dark rider big rig hugging the highway just behind his then falling back to the distant vision but keeping close time with his every last few miles.

  • Just before the black truck disappeared behind him, Bob realized his dead mother-in-law was driving it.

  • NOTE: well I see the first sentence change…but here is my paragraph…take the first sentence or the whole thing if you like…

    There it was again-his 18ft tractor trailer fishtailing, swerving in and out of sight in the rearview mirror. He could see the red trailer lights blinking in and out. Shit! How was he gonna get out of this one? Shoulda stayed the night back in Bozeman to let this snowstorm pass on by but he wanted to be in Denver by morning. This storm is a bad one. He didn’t usually let bad weather worry him, but tonight, fighting this rig is taking all the strength and focus he had.
    He didn’t like driving this route at night anyway. It meant he missed the haunting outstretch of the high plains. It meant not taking that slow, look along the majestic Front Range. There is where he fed his hungry poet’s soul. The rig rocked dangerously as the winds kicked up and he felt a terror building in his gentle heart from the storm. God knew he hated watching that rig dance behind him on the ice, but terror is paralyzing and he needed his wits to get to Denver. Then he will be ok. She said she was gonna be there and she never lied to him-not once.

  • The engine beneath him purred with a peaceful, almost hypnotic rhythm, lulling him toward sleep and the dangerous world of dreams.

  • It comes and goes, comes and goes, the haunting, black phantom rig in pursuit, stealing attention from the fluidity of flora and fauna flashing past.

  • His eyes swiveled from windshield to side mirror and back again, between the long, straight highway ahead narrowing into the horizon and the ominous reflection of the 18-wheeler bearing down from behind.

  • The paradox was this: he loved the night, the rolling emptiness, with all his soul, but feared whatever there was that hid within it.

  • At every bend and twist in the road, her reluctantly tore his eyes away from the verdant hills, stole glances at the big rig filling his rear view mirror, bearing down on him.

  • His back was killing him.

  • He was aware, again, of that crisp buzzing clarity the little white pills unzipped from the sleepy membrane of road weariness.

  • It was infinite.

  • There is nothing worse than throwing up while bent over a strange toilet in an unfamiliar town. Vomit isn’t supposed to be red when all you’ve had for dinner was two shots of Vodka and a handful of stale peanuts from a grungy dish on the bar that had probably been sifted through by dozens of unwashed hands. He had to find the girl but all he was finding was dead ends.

  • “A white winter’s day stained black,” muttered the self-proclaimed trucker-poet as he scanned the big rig’s mirror for another glimpse of the dark shadow that kept appearing behind him on the icy road.

  • He stared in wild-eyed wonder, his beautiful surroundings contrasted with the ominous black truck appearing briefly in the rearview mirror… but now wasn’t really the time to be setting the scene of his next poem.

  • Hell is throwing up while bent over a strange toilet in an unfamiliar town. Vomit isn’t supposed to be red when all you’ve had for dinner was two shots of Vodka and a handful of stale peanuts from a grungy dish that had probably been sifted through by dozens of unwashed hands. He had to find the girl but all he was finding was dead ends.

  • The only thought more frightening than being chased by visions in his side mirror, was knowing that his fuel tank was low, his meth was wearing off, and there would soon be no more running!

  • The sunset lit sky , rolling grass covered hills , and plains are what i enjoy most , but the erie feeling of being followed is a most un welcomed and discomforting event.

  • The moon lit sky , and Its dark roaming clouds cast their unusual shadows , but i know the feeling of being followed is very real.

  • It gets that way when I’m searching for an image; when the horizon rushes towards me and I can’t tell if there’s anything new.

  • It’s times like these, when the wavelength highway entrances me like a sideshow magician, that a poem is conjured up in my brain.

  • He sent her an email message saying that he was breaking up with her because she refused to text message. How could he possibly sustain a romantic relationship with a woman who dated as if she was living in the 1800s?

  • Outside in the yard, bright yellow primroses were blooming during a month of the year when she’d normally wear a wool scarf, fleece-lined boots, a thick sweater and heavy coat.

  • Bri

    Shamelessly, it was always the monsters that bellowed righteously from his chest which were his greatest muse, but lately he had begun having trouble giving his soul up to the landscape– the flickering of the rig in his rear-view mirror kept his chest strangled in fear.

  • It hit me.

  • Bri

    He kept himself a truckdriver not because it’s what he’s worth, but more because it’s what his heart desired; the flickering landscape was enough to subdue the flowers that burst from his chest just long enough to give him room to breathe– that is, until he caught site of the black rig teasing in and out of existence, causing fear to ripple through his fragile heart.

  • “Everybody stand in a line – one at a time – the doctor will see all of you – and by that i mean everyone of you”, announced the Egyptian faced vanishing rig viewing truck driver – you see, it was free colonoscopy night at Dr. Foreceps!

  • “Hey Roger, is that inflatable?”

  • Sometimes you just have to squeeze the papaya.

  • There are words out there, waiting to be captured.

  • The vast expanse ahead had him striving for a delicate haiku as he sipped his tar-like coffee–but then, there was that same damn black truck in the rearview, and his head filled up with Edgar Allen Poe once again.

  • Love that view, I should write a poem about… Uh oh, there’s that truck again.

  • “What rhymes with ‘Ochre’?” he muttered to himself as he drove his rig through a particularly lonely stretch of desert road- only to be distracted once again from his musing by the flash of the massive truck, black as the Mojave night around him, in his mirror.

  • And then…she choked, barely listening as he helplessly cried out, watching from afar and knowing there was nothing he could do.

  • And then…she choked, deafly listening as he cried out, helplessly watching from afar and knowing that there was nothing he could do.

  • He blinked and shook his head, then took another look into the rear-view mirror; it was there again, the ebony machine that had followed him on and off for nearly a year, driverless.

  • It was happening again.

  • x39

    There was no seeing the beauty, without fear.

  • The snow covered fields leave me in a melancholy mood but that big, black behemoth instills increasing paranoia in my mind.

  • What could be better than this great country and the endless road ?

  • As I look in the rearview mirror, I see what my mind has been writing through the night. Is it real?

  • John looks into the rear view mirror and becomes frightened as he sees the big black rig closing in on the rear end of his truck.

  • I am so fond of our bond, that persists & lies in this steel, strong,paradise that I call love.

  • As long as he remained focused on the scenery coasting by, he was able to delude himself that the huge, black, rolling, mechanical mostrosity wasn’t appearing behind his truck every few hours, like some dark nightmare from his boyhood days…and he tried to think outloud the words to Kublai Khan by Coleridge.

  • The evening’s shadows slide like raindrops down the the encasing cliffs.

  • If I do not look into the rearview mirror I won’t see … DAMNIT!

  • Willie and the weed were with him when the dark rider rushed forward out of nowhere from behind – not of this world – the open road where he found serenity color sound and movement which surrounded his rig just moments before the phantom eighteen wheeler once again, pushed it away and brought the darkness that was with him now.

  • Dancing on the dark side of shadows along the western slope, a shallow moon hung low and teasing in and out of the clouds with a misty glow that fell around the phantom eighteen wheeler snaking its way through the mountain pass in his rear-view mirror causing a chill at the base of his spine to ride its way up through the stiff hair at the nape of his neck, and to no one there he whispered, “he is with me again.”

  • His CB handle was Rhymer, drove an eighteen-wheeler, trying to shake the black rig in his rearview, closing fast, ready to crash, then gone, then back, keeping his eye from the rolling route he craved to write verses about.

  • It was that time of day he loved and feared the most; those few, dreamlike minutes after hours of highway hum when the sky glowed a surrealistic, breathtaking red and gold, and the glare of the vanishing sun made it impossible to see what was chasing him.

  • One hand white knuckled itself around the steering wheel while the other closed around the .38 revolver giving him little comfort that it would find purchase in the ghost rig that had, off and on haunted the road and darkened the beauty along his run, driving him further in and out of reality each time it appeared aggressively from behind then quickly fell away followed for a distance and was gone again.

  • The Oppenheim boys were wild, and always walked only halfway home on the road before dissipating with warhoops and hollers into the sloping mess of woods down Fallman’s Ridge, other destinations in mind before the dull call of evening.

  • “After I get through with you, you won’t be able to get arrested in the middle of a police station,” screamed Mercy F. Warner.

  • Plump goose-like Sandra polished off two glazed doughnuts, a jelly belly crumpet and a frosted shake after breaking a sweat on the Swan Dance and Fitness Club’s groaning treadmill. As she stumbled out of the Doughnut Den in a sugary daze, she headed to the store to purchase a Mad Dog chaser.

  • Where do you hide a body in a city of cement and studio apartments with cramped closets?

  • I gripped the wheel tightly as I tried to peer past the headlights that cut through the darkness ahead of me, thankful that though the darkness hid the deceptive beauty of the sparse desert around me, it also provided a curtain of blackness which hid from my sight my shadow, my phantom, as dark and mysterious as the night itself.

  • lab

    As the landscape unfurled itself like the ridged spine of a creature burrowing in the heart of the earth, the scenery ever changing yet ever still, the truck driver would see a big black big rig through his rear-view mirror flit in and out of vision like a trembling mirage.

  • “The rig of blackness is fading into the night again, leaving me with the calming stars again” he whispered, breathing a sigh of relief, as his rear view mirror once again gave him the beautiful mountain vistas that he longed to see on his long night deliveries.

  • E C

    An earth-shattering affirmation arose from his rear-view mirror.

  • “Like AC DC, it’s back in black, so ten four good buddy and just relax, ” he whispered, noticing the dark big rig slowly fading from behind his rear view into his favorite set of Colorado mountains.

  • “Dang it” the trucker screamed, his feet flooring the gas, while the fading dark rig inched closer and closer in stark contrast to the John Denver c.d. playing and the sheets of freshly written poetry flying and rustling in his small Kenworth K 100.

  • The dust particles looked like neon snowflakes swirling around in the cab of his rig, as the dawn slipped through the horizon where road meets night sky, like mail being pushed thru a black mail slot, then just as suddenly as wonder filled his heart, dread washed over his mind like a muddy tidal wave, as he spotted the pitch black big rig in the side view mirror gaining on his rig on the lonesome Colorado highway.

  • If only he could gaze at the landscape without the constant fear of what’s behind him.

  • The wide open spaces of the road can quickly suffocate a man’s senses when he sees something inexplicable.

  • Truckers aren’t the sort who scare easily, but at this moment I’m as frightened as the day I was born.

  • To sacrifice the fields of gold, which stretched beneath the dusk that spoke of autumn, was a nauseating choice he only dared to entertain when the black beast blotted out the sun.

  • It was only later, as I picked broken glass off of my shirt, that I recalled the brilliant flash which illuminated the sweat-dappled bosom of the chatty hitchhiker: ‘Soft upon a denim fold, Curving lusciously toward heaven, a dream on eight wheels’.

  • Beckett grabbed at the breath caught in his lungs and then gripped the steering wheel so tightly he could count the lines in each knuckle.

  • The trucker saw himself as a bard – a minstrel poet of old, never tired of the translucent beauty that lay on either side of the roads he traveled – a junkie for the ride always seeking one more perfect place than where he’d been, but today, like his last run all he saw coming up on him from behind was the spectral big-rig bearing down backing off following at a distance then melding into the refracted mirage of a heat soaked highway, sucking his peace and the poem right out of him.

  • I was in a trance, albeit one I found to be strangely comforting. As always the road stretched out before me, my solace, my never ending source of inspiration. Night time…I love to watch the trees as they rustle their leaves in time to the shadows ghostly waltz on a dance floor lit up by a million dazzling stars. But on this night the stars were desperately hiding behind the branches that harbored silent leaves all suffocating in the blackest fog that stems from the darkest nightmare. As I glanced in the rear view I prepared myself for what I knew was to be inevitable. And yes, even if only for a moment, as I saw that black rig I too felt suffocated by the fog. Comfort gave way to panic as my brain exploded like a million particles of light disrupted by an unseen force. And then everything went black.

  • Is today the day it comes for me?

  • I’m traveling west on I-90. I can see the rockies rising up menacingly in the distance, but here it’s flat and dry. I took a yellow jacket an hour or so ago. I’m not sleeping until I reach the coast. I’m being followed. If I drop my guard he’ll come for me.

  • His first run on this beautiful autumn day ends by rounding the last of the switchbacks, ready to head down the steep grades into town, when he sees the black rig closing in behind him.

  • As he rolled over one large hill then the next, Charlie watched the trees along the side of the road as they sped by as he often liked to do in these mountainous regions, not only because he found the landscape breathtakingly beautiful, but also to help distract his thoughts from the giant black rig that he periodically saw in his rear-view mirror right before it would seemingly disappear before his eyes.

  • It comes at me when I’m 20 miles deep in the valley. Light doesn’t reflect off the forest at night, and the moon can’t reach down through the trees, even though last year’s leaves are decomposing on the ground. There is no snow.

  • It wasn’t the emptiness of the passing landscape that made Jesse Hardwick’s skin prickle.

  • Legendary pitcher Satchell Paige once said, “Never look behind you ’cause someone might be gainin’ on ya.” To the best of Jack’s knowledge, ol’ Stach never drove a rig cross-country to keep his ex-wife off his damn back or looked into a dirty rear-view mirror at the dead-on headlights on an uncoming ten-ton semi.

  • From the stifling cab of his broke-down rig he watched with dread as the darkness of the building storm pushed out from the horizon and the wind, howling like wolves, spun red dust up into spectral tornados which danced away like refugees fleeing an oncoming battle.

  • Squinting against the western sun, praying towards the horizon, a medley of passions parading as fears danced in the rear-view mirror, as Alan’s soft hands finally slackened their grip from the sticky leather wheel.

  • The iambic white lines imposed order on the mess of just-made greenery as the black rig echoed ominously in my rearview.

  • The dichotomy of a beckoning oasis of tarmac flanked by unbroken fields of Nebraska corn finally allowed the blood to return to his knuckles.

  • The sunset brought with it defeat – awesome and blameless.

  • the union jack furiously whipped hither and yon in the westerly wintry wind prior to poor richard reluctantly surrendering the wobbly steering wheel seconds before his ill fated roller coaster descent into the sheer abyss!

  • The horizon looms large, as my memory begins to wander. I have seen the sun rise and set so many times in my sideview mirrors it seems to me the calander has lost its grip in my mind.

  • Trying hard for optimism gain to drive away my eyes,
    from what the pessimistic rear-view mirror defines!

  • The next thing he knew, he was the only one on the road.

  • This time, he told himself, it was the two faded yellow ribbons set against a blurred Rockwell, and not the opaque memory of a looming stranger, which induced him to skip weigh-in.

  • They don’t (but they perhaps should) say that Real Men must cry no more over the feminine hue of a rose, the pallor of the sky’s face, or the desperate screech of wind sliced by a rolled-down window than over their fear of the night embalmed in a rear-view mirror.

  • That beloved landscape looks like it had changed, or maybe it was the pills acting up again– (he hopes they’re the reason he sees the phantom rig in the mirror from time to time)–and although his endless poems for her are on his mind tonight, still her letters go unanswered as he desperately tries to forget.

  • His beer-belly slipped back into its slot under the wheel as he clamored back into the beast, a nebula of morning sky inviting him to press on and shake off the black rig that was no more than one weigh-in, or approximately 350 miles, behind.

  • A lone tear slid through the cracks of his face as those famous rosy palms lifted the world from darkness, and yet there remained its image on his retina, seen as glimpses of a blackened rig in the rear-view.

  • He drew little distinction between the awe of dawn and the terror of night.

  • Ahead lay redemption; behind, a nebulous threat.

  • While beauty loomed before him, Johnny knew that fear and darkness cut close behind him.

  • His oasis of serenity confused his daunted conscious of the dark shadow behind.

  • The roll of the empty copper-colored hills and the brilliant blue sky brought Terry a kind of peace on the road, as if he was passing through his own enormous Zen garden, but when the shadows were long and the road in the rearview mirror sizzled and shifted with the heat, that isolation could bring on a cold sense of dread that had nothing to do with the air conditioning.

  • “Damn,” Jack muttered; every time he saw the demonic big rig vanish from his rear-view it spooked him, and the growing serentity found in the passing plains would disperse into the night.

  • The truck would reappear, he just knew it, and each glance into his rear-view mirror robbed him of yet another chance to indulge in alliteration observations of his journey.

  • “The wind whistles
    through the plains
    and sends me songs
    of better days
    when all at once
    my -”
    Shit it’s back!

  • yeah how bout this…Its Blues time for the barkeep as he sees her standin there with her fingers slowly movin thru this truckers coal black hair…. gottcha!

    See this old truckstop has been home to me, my wife, and her goo goo eyed dancin buddies for almost 25 years and it aint gettin any easier to watch her night after night, day after day, hittin on those hot young cowboy truckers that just love a slightly pudgy 49 yr old wife of the barkeep bustin their tight levis with her little purse strings then having her brandy and coffee on the rocks, while he gives her another of his crap poems bout how he wants to take her away sip after sip between two steppin country songs she knows all the words to so sip and dance and dance and sip till they slip ou the back door and hide in his cabover comfort bangin the night away….

    Bluestime For The Barkeep
    copyright Verne T. Bullock
    FitMisFits Music

  • Jake was just about as bad as any man could be; left his wife and two sons for Dawson, Tennessee. With his silverdollar money clip and a wad of 5’s and 10’s, he left em standin’ cryin’ there said he aint comin back again…he ain’t comin’ back again.

  • In a world woven together in billions of shades of grey, very few strands are black and white… the rare oppertunity to dance with either one yields a blessing or a curse.

  • They were so hungry the pouring rain didn’t slow them down at all, it was nightcrawler chunks on #8 barbed hooks that left them bleeding from their gills when that black beast from nowhere showed up to take it’s fill.

  • When a man makes his home the open road, to him, you’re either a nieghbor or trespasser.

  • Yo, don’t give me crap about loving and living, I’m looking for something to
    DIE for!

  • I reckon I shoulda bought one of them pistols in Munsie, all I got to defend myself is a belly-load full of gas from that vegan breakfast burrito… cost about the same.

  • He struggles to find the words to describe the exansive works of art that pass on each side of his cab, but in his mirror at any moment he will see his shadow in the form of a rig, and his mind will freeze, engulfed with one word: fear.

  • Having badly scuffed my lucky writing shoes — the selfsame ones in which it had been both unilaterally and somehow unanimously decided I was going to be buried — on the faces, backs, groins, throats, necks, heads and stomachs of a trio of plagiarizing cross-countrying collegiate jackanapes trying to cash in on the trendy vernacular of the poetically inclined American trucker, I unceremoniously decided to live, pressed down hard on the accelerator of my petrol-fueled steed, taking a mammoth swig of my concoction du jour – Red Bull, wood alcohol and 7ml of ninety-six year old Absinthe, a recent ebay score from the locked box auction of none other than Ernest Hemingway, both my muse AND literary patron saint.

  • The long, ribbon-like stretches along I-10 in Texas rolled under the eighteen wheels deafening the convulsive sounds of the local Country Western music droning out of the radio on the dash. If Shakespeare had been a trucker, he probably would have noticed the ghostly black rig in the mirror and written that it, “verily made merry with my mind, eliciting volumes of melancholy.”

  • Dark things run out here, in the night, in the long lonely night.

  • My spirit became one with the midnight-painted desert as I flew and flinched down Arizona’s share of Interstate 10, my boiling blood half Navajo and half biker meth.

  • The land,the landscapes,the wildlife and freedom of driving tends to inspire his need to write, but the big black phantom truck that appears from time to time in his rear view mirror pushes him,urges him to keep driving,He can not stop and will not stop.

  • The sweet ride drove him to climb back up into the cab of his big-rig and head for the open road filled with original water colors on canvas hanging along God’s gallery that enticed him to once again brave the badlands where the devil painted his own shadows in the form of a ghost rig the color of night that followed the poet trucker, where the split second sightings would wash away the words running around his head and replace it all with the cold grey colors of fear.

  • He wished he’d lived a few centuries ago, when he could have made good money off of his poems, instead of now, when he was forced to do other things to make ends meet, like wait tables, or sit in a cubicle all day, or drive trucks and get followed by stupid supernatural big black rigs there it was again.

  • Oil-slick fish line damaged shorelines serving as gold mines for millionaires.

  • She smiled because she no longer cared enough to be angry and he hadn’t a clue that their relationship had officially ended.

  • A glance at the driver’s-side rear view mirror told him that the phantom rig had appeared yet again and was gaining on him, causing him to realise that at these speeds they would soon leave the emerald landscape behind and it would be far more prudent to forget his fear and to concentrate on keeping all eighteen wheels on the icy mountain road ahead rather than worry about not being on the spotlight on opening night due to missing the publishing date of his musical comedy version of “East of Eden”.

  • They are all gelous, because the voices in my head are talking to me and not to them ….

  • The first time he saw that black rig disappear, he thought he was just having a really bad night; the second time, he swore; the third time, he prayed.

  • Between Memphis and Amarillo, nothing: flat, scrubby land and gray sky crowding down so close he thought he might reach up and touch it; and then New Mexico, beautiful and unnerving because in nineteen years on this route he had never been able to reconcile the stunning amount of green in the desert; and at last the final ascent into Flagstaff, where snow swirled in the late winter wind just two hours north of Phoenix — where he had first seen the apparition and foolishly chalked it up to the 4-day drive and 107-degree heat.

  • It started out as a mistake, my life.

  • I once knew guy who fucked a guy just to say he could, and the next thing on his bucket list was to go skydiving.

  • As a kid I liked Ice Cream Sandwiches, but years later I would see that man get his head blown off 20 feet in front of me.

  • It started out as a mistake, his life.

  • It started out as a mistake, my life that is.

  • It started out as a mistake, his life that is.

  • I had been thinking of my childhood all night, God what a horrible memory to reflect upon

  • I had been thinking of my childhood all night, what a horrible memory to reflect upon.

  • Today was the worst day of the year, my birthday and I was happy that I had no friends to remind me of it.

  • Today was the worst day of the year, my birthday, and I was happy that I had no friends to remind me of it which I had that going for me at least.

  • Today was the worst day of the year, my birthday, and I was happy that I had no friends to remind me of it.

  • The end.

  • You are not alone.

  • He knew two things about that highway: the way the gravel felt under his rig and the ambiguous spectre with whom he shared it.

  • SS

    So who’s the ghost.

  • “My love for words will live
    longer than how I loathe the big black rig,”

    the truck driver wrote hastily on his notepad while stopped at a red light.

  • Jake Hughes looked reflexively into his rearview mirror while he licked parched lips that made him feel he’d eaten a bag of potato chips in a desert.

  • It may have been time to genuinely recalibrate his worldview.

  • Just before he heard the barbaric sound of that wicked machine, Luke kept telling himself it was just in his imagination. The old black rig authors his nightmares to the point no lucid man could stand to live a moment longer. His family abandoned him years ago because of his weird theories and lack of reality. This Monster follows him, no matter where he goes, how he hides, or who he tells. His poems reflect his everyday experiences, but are very much considered fictional to anyone who reads them. A lonely outlaw banished from society. Is it his imagination or is he on death Road?

  • Same hand different finger – fear and freedom, living out on the road in spite of the thing that scared him to death, it was going to get bad before it got bad he knew it, the trucker just knew it.

  • Fear had its uses, but the absence of it wasn’t some kind of courage it was instead, knowing his freedom was more important – that lasted a second or two before the fear was back and telling the trucker to move!

  • My first love was poetry and my second was driving this big rig along the veins of America until that black truck appeared in my rearview sending a deep chill into the very marrow of my bones.

  • It’s hard to see God’s magnificent creation as I drive through the roads that destroy it; it’s hard to see the beauty of it when I keep staring into that mirror that I pray is playing tricks on my eyes.

  • That jagged toothy grin in the distance, the black ominous jut of earth looming before me, seemed to taunt all the fear from my pores, yet behind me the ferocity of death on wheels urged me forward, chased me to the ends of sanity and up the steep slope of oblivion.

  • Leaving the drunk Indian on the shoulder of US15, Hawes was reminded of his little brother, lost to the drink so many years ago.

  • Sometimes I forget to wipe my palms while I force my eyes away from the rear-view mirror, only to slow the beating in my chest with the still, quiet landscape.

  • The spirit behind me has blinded my eyes to the beauty before me.

  • I must have looked in each mirror on this rig a hundred times in the last hour.

  • It’s only there when you stop thinking it’s there, you know?

  • Will it follow me in my dreams or maybe I’m dreaming now.

  • I’m not crazy.

  • At two in the morning with three cups of coffee and two Red Bulls vibrating through his veins, it was less like Rand was driving the Mack and more like the Mack was driving him.

  • Like a filthy dream, I kept her to myself, but it wasn’t so much out of insecurity, but to save face.

  • She was always intrigued with their faces, and naive with their motives.

  • a quintessential girl in her 30’s, lilly was old enough to know better but still young enough to make mistakes.

  • The officer thought he knew why I was nervous when he asked me for my license and registration, but when he let me go I raced to the nearest lake and dumped the body.

  • As I sat there, slumped against the wall in some besmirched apartment corridor, I decided heroin was the drug for me.

  • When I was a kid I wanted to be a police man, and now that I’m a police man all I want is to be a kid again.

  • They thought I was dirty because I was picking my nose, but honestly I was just trying to keep clean.

  • “No shit; there I was.”

  • Burrito already halfway to his mouth, which was salivating in anticipation, Vince banged the steering wheel, rhythmically clicking heavy silver and turquoise rings in time to CCR’s “Looking Out My Backdoor” blaring out of old speakers as he and Blue, his custom-cab rig, raced across the New Mexico highway at sunset; “life is good”, he thought, giving a content sigh, then, glancing into his rearview mirror he saw it-again-a monstrously large black rig, pouring out thick smoke, its gleaming silver grill reflecting the setting sun in hot orange and red flames snaking along the front as it roared up on him and Blue-Vincent braced for impact, squeezing his eyes shut reflexively-then nothing-except the fading sounds of “Doo doo doo lookin’ out my back door….”, he gulped, wildly searching his side mirrors and, heart still racing, set down the burrito to shakily signal for the rest area turnoff ramp ahead.

  • The quiet gets to you, on these long lonely stretches of pavement, but the hills in front of you become your savior, your anchor, the promise that your future can be salvaged, and maybe someone’s after you, but if you can’t see him, you can ignore the fact that he exists and just keep on driving toward those dark hills.

  • The open road often speaks to me, but the phantom in the background prevents me from getting the true essence of the scenery before me.

  • The blackness of the vehicular vision comforted him in its consistency; with every unfamiliar bend in the road, with every descent into a new season’s unraveling nuances, there loomed the tonic of his madness, the reminder of his lonely road-weary verbosity.

  • That song was on again, the country one about being on the open road. He took a deep breath and tried to relax as he looked out the window. The leaves in their multitude of colors always renewed his soul. Watching the colors flash by he could see the imagery resounding in his head, feel the words springing up inside him like dandelions, and almost forget about the fact that he had seen it again…..

  • It was as if twilight in Coachella Valley had never left in that moment.

  • The mermaids came to Capitola that summer and I knew it was the right thing to do.

  • A winter evening they were sharing a cigarette out back from the bakers, when after that last breath speaking angst to his ears Claude said to her, “I bet you’ve never seen a palm tree.”

  • Why is the same flatbed following me with that frankenstein stare, the headlight glare darin me, a nightmare I’m not scared, the sun risin on the horizon, I don’t care it’s not supris’in, should a known it was just size’in, me up an………where’d he go???

  • One lone pubic hair sprung out of my baby smooth pelvic area.

  • I was apathetic in those days, swimming in dad’s left testicle.

  • My literary career began with a suicide note.

  • oops, i should have read that the first sentence was for a specific story….and not general first sentences. sorry about that. you can delete my first sentences if you like.

  • He had no idea that is next poem would be inspired by sheer terror.

  • The black truck always appeared to Dan Harford between Memphis and Nashville at dusk, but the really disturbing thing was that one time in Greensboro.

  • The first time he saw it, he was rolling up I-5, trying to catch a glimpse of the sun setting over Mount Shasta in his rear view; he thought nothing of it — just another rig on the road — until it vanished utterly, taking his attempts at a sonnet about the mountain along with it.

  • Of course, it sounds like a bad movie, or the paranoid tale of a tweeker…but Godammit this. Black semi had been following him since Indian Springs!

  • ben

    His rig was like poetry in motion sailing down the highway, the perfect extension to his inner self, the fat and bone that was his cage melted away when he slid behind the wheel, though sometimes his mind drifted to Poe and harmful things that chase him down dark highways in the night.

  • ben

    Poems aren’t what they are all cracked up to be, or so he thought gripping the wheel of his rig in both hands, caressing as the miles ticked on, the heat of the desert sun played tricks with his vision, sending shimmering images of wayward trucks careening towards him through the thick soupy air.

  • ben

    The air was crisp and tart, flowing through the open window of his rig, the Rockies flamed with autumn colors tugging at his heart strings, Dvorak cello concerto number 9 blended in with the rumble of the truck and the sharpness of the scenery, he would have been happy and comfortable if not for the slight hint of fear or trepidation he felt as the miles ticked on and the road became narrower, the dark rig he had been eyeballing in his side mirrors seemed to be getting nearer fast, spewing black smoke from it’s stacks, sun glinting off it’s windshield.

  • I haven’t always been mentally ill.

  • After five hours now of Eastern South Dakota, he’d made it to the Badlands, that calcified, shimmering landscape that had pulled in smarter men than he, chewed them up, turned them into rock.

  • “They dot this fertile land malignantly, like ovarian cysts of Mother Earth,” the young driver murmured partially into his hand-held radio.

  • “Vanishing Death,” Jake murmured, shifting his gaze from staring too long into the now-empty mirror to the road to his favorite stretch of pine forest pocketed with aspen groves, “that’s what you are, you black-rig mirage, so that’s what I’ll call you: Vanishing Death.”

  • *As a practitioner of poetry, images of cleaverly worded headlines detailing the circumstances of his own death began to appear in Henry’s mind like passing lines on the freeway as he glimpsed his pursuer in the mirror.

  • He likes to hold a firm grip on the wheel, with the windows down, the sun-soaked air coming through, the smell of grass filling up his nostrils. But then his mind drifts back to that black rig that follows him like a shadow, a reappearing image in his rear-view mirror.

  • He sat on the side of the road for hours wondering what had just happened.

  • The trucker’s eyes fearfully darted from the picturesque landscape that had inspired so many of his poems, to the black big rig haunting him in the rear-view mirror.

  • Upon this motor truck of amalgamated steel and commerce, my mind gushing thoughts like a river swollen with rain; a cold black death inescapably approaches, I must never look back.

  • Small trouble had followed him most of his life, if he had a penny for every piece of it he’d be sitting on a patch of sand somewhere under a palm penning poems of a new and distant landscape, instead of bouncing around the cab of his big-rig running from big trouble in the ghost rig bearing down on him every few hundred milers, stealing the poems in the close landscape he loved.

  • The rising sun on the horizon was a welcome sight after driving all night.

  • His heart was beating rapidly in his chest from fear, but the black rig also made his mind race with inspired ideas for his next sinister Ballad.

  • Big Rig Dan was enjoying a few blissful moments of “eye resting”, a luxury rarely afforded to men in his profession, when he heard the sound of his reality-challenged companion bitching again.

    “Ok, I can look past the fact that you churn out shitty poems like an Amish woman making poo flavored butter; filling the cab with noxious fumes made of pretentiousness; but I can’t just sit here idly while you nod us both off into oblivion.”

    “My eyes were resting
    I swear I wasn’t asleep
    Stop your pestering,” Replied a smug Dan, proud of his Haiku.

    “Right. Well now that you’re awake and the threat of careening off the road has diminished, did you notice that ominous rig behind us vanish into thin air?” Said the man who wasn’t there.

  • So he drives on, because of what’s ahead of him, because of what’s behind. He drives on and every time that rig disappears, he loses a little bit of himself. A memory. A line. A few more stanzas. He drives on, outrunning his own vanishing mind like the truck that masks his every turn. He pushes harder, he cinches his teeth, he glares at himself in the side-view, he drives on…

  • “Holy shit the sixties were good to you pal – lets just see how good they’ll be to me – fucking nut-bag thinks he’s a ghost – let’s play some hide and seek you prick, c’mon do some gear jammin you dirt-bag motherfucker, right around the next bend we’ll both take a little trip back in time.”

  • The red wildflowers looked like drops of blood falling from the black truck he saw in his rear view mirror.

  • For a sensitive heart on a journey the road to redemption is hard, especially when you are haunted by the ghosts of the past that you glimpse in the rear view mirror.

  • Out on the open road, when you aint slept for a while, you can get to seeing things, but “NAME” knew the black rig wasn’t no bigfoot on the shoulder of the road.

  • The cigarette burned to ashes between his fingertips as the black shape appeared in his rear view mirror, taunting him.

  • Black, lifeless, frigid black endlessly streching in front of me, hauntingly stalking me from behind, framed by golden grains, graizing game, and gargantuan groves, ever changing beauty; I sit, seperated from it all by mere inches of steel and glass, losing my mind at sixty miles an hour.

  • Lorenzo crested the hill at the time the sun was descending, as the landscape appeared before his eyes his breath caught, but then, the sun was down, and the fences overgrown with weeds fell from his view, sapphire blue eyes caught on the rear view mirror as he saw those lights again.

  • The landscape read like a pseudo-Pindaric ode.

  • Headlights: They have become the geography of the night.

  • “You have to wet the squid.”

  • His palms were slick, not with the spit that proceeds a good yank, but with the dampness of utter fear.

  • the dull rhythmic sound of the heavy duty multi wheeler (tabulating miles with rubber upon macadam) found matthew lulled into a hypnotic reverie, which metrical syncopated tread in tandem with variation in highway condition conjured up cognitive fleeting iambic loony onomatopoetic bohemian rhapsodies ushering this loopy rigmarole to be affixed as hard copy lest these willow the wisp versatile musing vanish without a trace invoking nightmarish thoughts that might find said trucker hurling off a steep precipice without any editor to publish (even posthumously) poetic prattling!

  • Lou

    Nature is God’s way of becoming more human.

  • Days on the road were a comedic blur of ironic exit signs, disembodied conversations, and thought -provoking stall graffiti, but he could pinpoint the exact moment it all stopped being funny.

  • The tulips cut through the shadow of the rig like cardinals in a thunder cloud.

  • A shot of nostalgia seeped into me as I watched the familiar countryside pass by. I was always amazed at the sight of this landscape when I was little and even now, it still left me breathless. I could see my cousin Rick and I running with our kites down through the valley. I could see my father carrying me on his shoulders so I could reach one of the apples high in the trees. I could even remember the woman who took away my innocence under that full moon that one beautiful night. A place that no man but myself could truly appreciate. My perfect place.

    This feeling of nostalgia quickly leaves as I see it. I watch the darkened windows, hear the screeching tires, and feel that nightmare stare at me. My heart quickens and my breath gets caught in my throat as I adjust the mirror to have a better look. I speed up a bit and hope that this time it doesn’t catch up. It does, it always does. The huge black rig is on me now, ready to envelop my truck with its enormous frame. My eyes slam shut as I ready myself for the end. But as usual, my eyes slowly reopen and the beast is gone, continuing to haunt me from the space within my rear view mirror.

  • His eyes were caressed by the sight of the beautiful landscape that stretched out before him. Dave’s truck drifted along the highway as his mind began to pick prose that would satisfy the moment. As he felt like he had found just what to write down at his next stop, the nightmare appeared in his rear view mirror. Its face made of hard reinforced metal, its eyes a searing flash of light, its body a mammoth of black running on 18 legs, and yet it spewed dark fog from its head as it raged towards him. Dave panicked and swerved as his mind raced. As he got control again, he glanced back at his pursuer only to find it had gone. Vanished in the split second it had appeared.

  • Some evenings when the heady scent of sage filled the desert air Finch could almost hear her easy laughter, feel the brush of her fingertips, taste the familiar lip balm she always wore, and he ached for the homecoming that would never happen now.

  • He was, for the first time in his life, at an absolute loss for words.

  • He groped for his bent paperclip in the darkness being careful not to divert his eyes from the rearview mirror. When he rounded the sharp bend he carefully pulled his behemoth up to the gravel siding, and when the rig failed to follow he scraped another hash mark into the dash. He squinted his eyes in the darkness to take an inventory; there were now seven jagged scars in the black plastic that housed the radio components.

  • The country song droned on and was as hypnotizing as the road but the irony did not escape him that the song on the radio could have been written about his own life: the dog, the pick-up, the broken heart and the cheating girl that left him.

  • Something caught his eye in his rear-view mirror, a blue hue was shining off the side of the big black rig and before he could make it out the entire windshield went white as he lost all visibility and somewhere in his disoriented state he realized he and his rig were no longer connected to the ground.

  • He didn’t need anyone; his successful trucking business had proven that but the solidarity of the never ending landscape suited him which is why he remained on the road as opposed to behind a desk.

  • He mused as he reflected how his job mirrored life: the optimistic unknown road ahead, the landscape of the present all around and the fears of the past behind us like the big black rig.

  • “Great now I gotta have this half-bright jack-off motherfucker in his raggedy ass old rig on my ass again, off and on all day – thinks he’s real fucking cute acting all spooky fucking up my road bliss and shit, well…c’mon pass me just once you goofy Boris Karloff wannabe motherfucker I’ll hit you so fucking hard you’ll starve to death bouncing.”

  • Nothin’ like burnin’ one down with Enya.

  • I had a feeling early that this would be a day I would want to forget.

  • He wanted to see more of the desert but knew he should stop for the night when his thoughts began to oscillate between writing a poem about someone eating pancakes at a Waffle House to the dread of seeing that Smokey and the Bandit black rig in his rearview again.

  • The white lines of the road bleed like a poorly written haiku, incomprehensible, the journey unfinished.

  • The road is a worn down mistress, once full of promise, but now as nagging as your wife.

  • The tender desert sunset flirted with him; it smiled, it winked; he grinned back. The flirting ended awkwardly when he spotted a beefy, boxy 16-wheeler in his rear view, roaring up from behind.

  • Much like Kerouac, Joe Smith rumbled and bumbled his way across America- only difference being that Kerouac chased demons, while Smith outran them.

  • Damn, damn, damn…ran through his head repeatedly as he glanced away from the hypnotizing line of mountains in his front view and noticed yet again the black monolith roaring up behind him for the fourth time in as many days.

  • Holy smokes! Where did all these people come from? I am a little more than intimidated by some of these amazing responses….

    While searching the vast Colorado sky for the next line of his elegy, James slid his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose and continued driving down the highway when the phantom headlights of the cursed rig appeared in the rear view mirror causing the fine hairs on the back of his neck to stand erect.

  • A chill raced under Jed’s skin as his eyes drifted from the untamed roadside brush to the grey asphalt that rumbled under his eighteen tires.

  • The man in the moon is watching my every move as I roam the world breathing in the beauty of the land, while from time to time I am reminded of the brutal world that follows closely behind me.

  • They always say it is the first impressions that shape our lives, that they show us our passion and in the same beat of the heart our fears. My passion is for the road that endless black path that calls out to me always keeping me on the move. But what I never expected was the truth of passion; that it is fear in the rawest of forms.

  • In that moment when you realize your dream is a reality, it is in that moment that your heart stops and you can no longer choke down the words said under hushed breaths. Because it is real and you are facing it for better or for worse; it seems so cliché to say that but in my life time I have learned that cliché is only that because it holds a truth. Sometimes it is the majesty of the land that leaves me marveling at such unbelievable things but lately it has been horror.

  • A roadside diner, a hot cup of cheap coffee, a good nights sleep, it is these little pleasures that truckers seem to look forward to, but in my world I only look forward to a day of peace, a day without the dread that ensues my insanity.

  • A sudden gust of wind seized the rectangle of black fabric from it’s place over the rear view mirror and danced it out the open window, and as the sudden reflection of headlights hit Phil’s eyes the words that had been running through his head all night dried up and vanished as if they’d never been there.

  • The ol’ in & out treament again?

  • Not even a long-haul could put enough miles between the trucker and his delusions.

  • Sam

    After bumping cocaine off a stripper’s ass at four o’clock in the morning in Tulsa, he wasn’t sure whether to be awestruck by the beauty of the sunrise on the red sand that he saw out of the windshield in his rig, or be worried about the massive black 18-wheeler barreling up behind him; all he knew was the two came together in a poetic onslaught of passive aggressive conflict.

  • Rushing forward from the ominous, black storm cloud of a rig that always seems to be behind me, my truck is little more than a flowing river cutting through this land.

  • Rain drops exploded on the clear, safety glass that protected the cab and, indeed, the face and body of Billy Jean Thompson, a man of fourty-three, pushing fifty, with a bulging belly hanging from a size too small, Wrangler, boot cut jeans, a stub of a cigar hangs from his mouth, he glances into the side window for his rear view mirror, hazel eyes searching for the black cabover rig that has followed him for miles, appearing for several minutes and then vanishing in the fog, rain and darkness, only to reappear from the abyss to scare the Hell out him, shaking his nerve to the core as he reaches for overdrive and shoves the gear selector into the slot for 14th and a triple split axle shift to pull the Kenworth on down the line and away from that damn black rig.

  • The rear view mirror of his entire life was an unremitting despair; a black-rigged behemoth fueling the ink script poetics of his forward salvation.

  • The rugged mountains and rolling hills his route took him through wove a song in his head, a trilling melody he was only beginning to put words to – a task made ever more difficult by the discordant note of the black shadow in his rearview mirror.

  • Well, shit.

    (Alternatively…)

    Well, shit, there it was again.

  • The future was coming at him at 65 miles per hour and his dark past was closer than it appeared in his convex mirror.

  • In retrospect he knew he should have stayed in bed today.

  • He’d driven this stretch dozens of times and in sunlight seen beautiful spots, but on this spine-chilling night with pedal to metal, the lines on the road were just dots.

  • First time I saw you sittin on a hill waving those tits at Buffalo Bill he shouted at the profile of the braless jejune riding shotgun.

  • Seven hundred miles and exactly three days from this moment his life will slip over a blade, thick , between lobe and jaw as if pressed into an oysters hinge.

  • Maybe slapping Sally wasn’t the right thing to do.

  • I don’t know if slapping Sally did the trick

  • To me, driving a rig and writing poetry were synonymous: each provided an opportunity to explore, an opportunity to express, and an opportunity to experience, but neither transformed my tragic past into a tolerable future.

  • Their last night together his girl had given him a blank journal (“You’ll be like a sea captain, or Meriwether Lewis”), swearing that the daily act of chronicling would fire his imagination and give his poetry a kick in the butt, yet he doubted if even his imagination at its wildest could’ve conjured the vision he now beheld in his rearview.

  • All these years on the road and not until this haul had she given him a parting gift – a journal, in which she’d inscribed (in handwriting so big she could draw smiley faces inside the loops)– “May these pages bear your finest poetry, inspired by your favorite scenery”– yet he knew he’d have no words to describe what he’d seen on the road today.

  • The poet in him was unmoved by the phantom black rig that periodically materialized in his rearview (the blackness-as-evil trope was hackneyed, B-movie imagery), but the man behind the wheel switched his vision to tunnel-view, tightened his grip and sped blindly past the best scenery of the leg, spooked as he was by the apparition riding his ass like some hovering alien spacecraft.

  • Remembering Shakespeare, the poet trucker spoke the quote, “hell is empty all the devils are here,” then added, “tonight one of William’s devils has escaped the Tempest and the bastard has found me;”- it was back the ghost rig haunting his road.

  • Thundering tires rumbling forward propelled Jonas towards the Rockies away from his darkest memories and the ghosts of phantom rigs that jangled away in rhyme, harmonizing with the engine’s constant drone.

  • As the orange-red flames engulfed the black silhouette of his sinister interloper, he felt no need to repress his joy and adapt a false solemnity; no, this was a moment of cathartic laughter, a time for turning forward, towards the beautiful and to the living.

  • He began to see things so much clearer, with that big black rig in his rear view mirror.

  • He began to see things so much clearer with that big, black rig in his rear view mirror.

  • Day One on this his longest but most scenic haul and already he was seeing things he’d never seen against this familiar landscape, things that disappeared and materialized in his rearview mirror; either he needed more coffee or he’d been too long at a desk writing poetry, too long away from the road.

  • Dawn…finally, but night still follows me…don’t look back….don’t look….

  • It was the moment that everything changed — the dry, flat road moved into hills of green and the black rig descended on him like a muddy river on a drowning man.

  • The images in your rear view mirror may be closer than they appear…and even closer when they disappear.

  • Your body can sense when something not right slithers up right behind you… like that dirty old uncle’s sour breath that you can still feel coating the back of your neck…there’s that fucking truck again.

  • “First there is a mountain, then there isn’t then there is”…I never got what that hippie Donovan was on about until I started driving, watching the landscape duck and fade, until it changed, taking the shape of dirty brown laundry bags by day and grey ghosts in my headlights, bringing darkness and anger which came and went, but never really left.