“Jersey Turnpike” (a series of wrong turns)

Jersey turnpike’s exits are
littered with abandoned cars,
dismantled chariots dying
on an urban skeleton

Rain pelts on the windshield;
fretting dark skies,
wipers pluck a squeaking
sound in unison
(chasm of rubber and glass)

We take wrong turns,
every street is identical,
gladiators walking on blacktop,
from the city’s womb, steam rises …
coiling at their ankles

Whips and shields concealed
beneath hooded cloaks,
red embers light their faces,
eyeing a Babylonian scene

Each gas station, an unlit
coliseum, no spectators, only us

Process notes: This is a true story which happened back in the 90’s with my sister, who got us lost and we nearly ran out of gas. I know she was as terrified as me.

It comes from a writing prompt at:
A newsletter that I subscribe to.


8 responses to ““Jersey Turnpike” (a series of wrong turns)

  1. Getting lost is my nightmare – especially in the country. In town it’s not so bad, there’s always someone to ask.

  2. I once got lost driving to visit a friend in Chicago. Frightening, as I ended up in a bad area days before cell phones. I didn’t know who to ask directions of. Finally I saw a mailman…figured he’d know and would be a safe bet. Frightening for you, I’m sure, with the rain on top of it all.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year, Pam!!

  3. Mary, we didn’t have cell phones. The thought of getting out of the car to use the pay phone had no safety appeal either. We did finally find an open gas station, but it did seem like an eternity before that happened.

    Happy New Year to you!

  4. Pam,
    Reminds me of a day in Florida many years ago. I was in Kissimmee for a few days. I was driving to locate a bank branch in Tampa. I took a wrong turn and ended in the suburbs. Guys were just lazing around and I got out to ask for directions. Two youngsters came menacingly towards me. An elderly man shouted from the distance ‘leave him alone’. They backed off. I quickly got into the car shivering.Lucky me!
    Lesson learnt! Don’t stop at residential areas for directions. Safer to go to commercial areas.


  5. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true: I love your poems based on true stories. They carry something special with them. Your poetic voice is different when you write them.

    I hope your Christmas was lovely, Pamela, and I wish you the best of new years ahead.


  6. Hi Margo! Are you back amongst us? I hope your Christmas was pleasant as well. We spent a quiet time at home eating loads of food. I am wishing you the best years ahead also. Thanks for the very nice comment on my poem 🙂

I appreciate all comments.

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