The Road

by Darryl Price


we were traveling on wasn't necessarily going to go careening 

over any hill as fast as it was smashing into 

the blunt end of another cloudless hole like a cartoon 

cat chasing a cartoon mouse. It was huge like a  

stone wall that had its own cliff to tell at 

the end of its own craggy story. It was like 

a little raggedy butterfly suddenly eaten by the yellow shadow 

of a big tooth. Nothing you can do about it. 

You can't really blame the bird, unless you're an idiot. 

I suppose most of us are, in some way, because 

we never learn to accept things as they are. We 

think that just because we happen to like our blown-about butterflies  so much

all the black hairy bulldozers of the mocking machine world should just back way off 

and give them some more room to grow and expand their horizons . Well, maybe not, 

but, hey. They've invented a neat little trick, sister-sister, as nature  

will, shrink themselves down to fit their shrinking world. Sometimes we 

don't realize they are even there because we don't expect 

them to be that small. Whether this is a conscious 

decision or not is up for serious debate, like everything 

else in this crazy world. I'll tell you I've seen 

them as big as ants hopping the merry beds of 

pebble after pebble and clover with not a care in the world, 

except to suck nector I suppose and maybe meet someone special. 

Wow, that's some beautiful antenna you've got going on there, girl,

mind if I take a closer look? Anyway the onward 

road smashed well into itself a bright wall of a  

sunlit nothing and we went right along with it all also 

hoping to get to the other side of not knowing nothing. 

What actually happened was after a bit of a dip 

in the road we came up to a streak of 

blue ocean slapped across the middle of everything, as if 

some giant hand had dipped a giant paint brush into 

a bucket of deep blue wonder and wiped it across 

the reality of the day with true artistic meaning and 

a little pixie dust for flash. It was that beautiful. 

It made you ponder. It made you question all your 

learning up to that point, as if what you had 

been told, what you had been taught, was only kind 

of true, that it represented something much more mysterious and true and actually

simple. We couldn't wait to get out of there and become a 

living, laughing part of it all, to go into it like

another new brightening, mixing color ourselves, another crashing wave, another swooping, hollering bird noise 

looking for its own bite of butterflies, of the wet 

sea variety or the regular zigzagging flung into the air like soft thin 

tissue paper type. We hit the sand running. I can tell 

you this-- it felt like we had arrived at a 

huge portal, like some kind of a magic door had opened. We wanted nothing more than 

to open that familiar looking well and take our chances on the buckets 

from the inside, but first we had to settle down, 

and that meant dragging out the chairs, spreading out the 

blankets, putting on the sun screen, trying on the hats, 

digging out the books, and icing up the tubs. After 

that it was pure, unadulterated freedom to do nothing about nothing and 

to be everything. I felt very simply like I was 

feeling everything for the first time ever, the wind, the 

sun, my own feet pressed into the sand like baking 

potatoes. All I could do was stare at the colors

everywhere. Some part of me was trying to memorize this 

feeling of all that unbelievable texture, while another part was 

whispering back to all the noises a wordless thank you for this, for all of this. 


old author's note

We don't need excuses. We certainly don't need to explain ourselves. We are all the things we have seen and done and thought and wished. Writing is a kind of game played with bones. It can be fun or it can turn spooky, but it's still just a game. We aren't naming the universe here--we are giving voice to a feeling or a bunch of feelings so that they can be free. We are letting the lightning bugs out of the jars. It's our way of saying yes to certain things and no to certain other things.

Never Found You

by Darryl Price

lingering like a feather in the world's speakers for too long

after you drank up all the bullets, although it seemed like

forever to me at the time. I looked even when everyone

else had given up seeing you again and gone home to 

false fear projectors of their own private pain. They brought their worn

and finger stuffed tears of sad dreams to the crazy mad bonfires

in shuffling lines of real sad sorrows, but I kept your favorites hidden in the secret

basement on dear friendship shelves. They brought their beautiful crayon-drawn angel winged


horses to the unfeeling jaws of the local school shredder, but

I finally let yours run wild and free into the unknowable

nighttime without feeling any remorse. Goodbye, I said, if we survive may we

meet again. If not, well, I'm not saying this bit correctly, 

but whatever real feelings you left me I've tried in my

way to keep unpolluted. I've a lovely soft garden for those

fading too fast things. It's pretty small or pretty big depending

on your religious upbringing I suppose. Ask me. I don't care either way.


Yours wasn't the only mind so ready to let go of

all the saluting miles of stamped out ugly trees. It gives

the poor roads a military haircut look that makes them seem

dumber than they actually are.  Must everything be a rough & tumble 

practice towards more war? Once upon a time you shared a

world with me. It was pretty nice. At least it had

open arms that were always ready and willing to hold others

instead of wanting to blow them farther and farther away. Now


we are what we carry with us into heated battle. Here

we go. Here we've always gone. God. You don't owe me

anything; only wanted to tell you about the ponies.  I did

what I could. Round them up again, and I know you 

will, if you feel like you still want to feed them

at your own farm in the sky of your heart. That's your choice. As

for me I'm just about on the edge of my own

falling star. It looks to be a pretty long way out.

Bonus poem:

I don't want to know


the answer because it wouldn't

make any real difference

to the various essential parts of the plant. The shadows


of roses belong here as

much as the rest of

us. It's always going

to be another butter battlefield because the


only thing that feels right

is young love and love

doesn't stick around to

get any older. Sooner or later you're


locked out of the window

with The Boy. After that

you'll walk a lonely

road and have to endure the hell


like laughter of young couples

still walking in a dream

forest you can never enter.

You can see why people go mad


and lose it all. They

can't stand to look at

the fields of forever

any more. It hurts too much. There's


got to be a way

to let them share in

all that good feeling

without giving over to their greed for


always wanting; no one's seemed

to come up with it

yet. They always end

up with mystery blood on their hands


and a bemused look on

their scraggly faces as they're

being roughly hauled off

to an even more hollow emptiness for


the rest of their miserable

lives. The only prize is

a sense of thankfulness,

if you are lucky, that you have


been spared, somehow, to continue

to belong to the way

you are going. But

something has been put up for final sale.