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On The Road

Updated: May 13


Lucinda Williams

Side 1 Track 1


I drove my car in the middle of the night

I just wanted to see you so bad


‘66 tan Beetle pinging all the way

from Cambridge on 90, 84, Wilbur Cross,

84, 81, 80, little but hog reports, country

music, radio preachers across Ohio, smoking

cigarette after cigarette until I’m cruising

past the bloody skies around Gary, Indiana,

rounding Chicago, four crushed packs

of red bullseyes on the passenger floor,

one more to go to get to Madison where

I pull up to the curb on Vilas Avenue and …


of course, I can’t I won’t say what happened

over the next 24 hours except it was all of

24 hours and, just to be clear, it was not why

some people think a boy drives 18 hours

only to wake up a day later and get back

on the highway, Beetle pinging through

another half carton of Luckys, hog reports,

country music, radio preachers, Rip Van Winkle

Bridge, Mass Pike, Mass Ave., middle

of the night falling onto a mattress


on the unmopped linoleum floor, waking hours

later for coffee, more cigarettes, metallic taste

in my mouth as I cross the Charles to Brookline,

my college dropout job, where I give notice,

cancel the lease on the basement apartment,

the T rattling dirty plates in the sink, and me,

5 days later, ripping up dozens of parking tickets,

leaving keys on the wobbly formica table, driving

past the Weld Boathouse, across the Charles,

Beetle pinging up the ramp to I-90, accelerating


into something called the rest of my life


—SL, Port Royal, SC, May 2022



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