Gearjammer 1979

Driving on this endless road, can’t get her off my mind

So many things I should have told her then,

But in all the confusion, the only words that I could find

Echo in my memory once again.

I know I should have stayed there, could have kissed away the tears,

But the time had come to face life honestly.

And now our lives have branched apart and I can’t replace those years,

I protected her from everything but me.

The road is no escape route from the feelings that I hide,

My memories move faster than my wheels.

I’d give her the satisfaction of knowing how I hurt inside,

But there’s no way to convey the way it feels.

I lean against my rig and see a stranger in the chrome

With wrinkled denim jeans and tired eyes.

18 wheels and greasy meals will not replace a home,

But I’m addicted to the green lights and blue skies.

When others show me photos of their children, home and wife,

I envy what I could have had and lost.

The highway is my mistress and the white line is my life,

It’s too late now to itemize the cost.

Running westbound on I-40 toward a setting desert sun,

The horizon is a fire-line of light.

I’d drive ten thousand miles to see to see a flaming sky like that.

I thank you, Lord, for giving me my sight.

Having booked my mileage through a thousand little towns,

On every country road and Interstate,

This will be my last commitment, I’ll shut this diesel engine down,

And let the other truckers pull the freight.

No more breakdowns, repairs or permits…no more tollroads, scales and fines

Yes, I’ll gladly give it up when I am done.

But this fever isn’t wearing off, and I must make up my mind,

Lord, give me the strength to quit…after one more run.

Ed finishes inspection.
Ed finishes inspection. | Source

Background

There is a time for change...a time to distance ourselves from everything and everyone that doesn't bring out the best in us. Driving provided me with the distance, isolation and opportunity to make necessary decisions. After 117,000 accident-free miles that carried me through 44 of the 48 contiguous states, I had the time and objectivity to develop and commit to new priorities. When the decision was made, I made another run or two (or three), then stopped driving, which was oddly difficult for me, since one commitment blended almost seamlessly into another. I returned to a scheduled part-time work schedule in a different environment and to college classes.

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Comments 11 comments

Tom Zingalis 3 years ago

The right of passage well explained and written .


Gunnar Carlson 3 years ago

Isn't odd how you can be a thousand miles away on an empty lonely road, yet in your head she is closer than the gearshift in your hand. Well done Mr. Palumbo! Keep writing.


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FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

You are an awesome poet. Well done indeed. Voted up and more, plus sharing.


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

My husband was a truck driver, so I totally understand this concept!


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Edward J. Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR Author

VVanNess, Thank you for reading and commenting. The most difficult aspect of OTR driving was the long separations and lack of predictability. It's difficult to maintain relationship or nurture friendships under those circumstances. Best wishes in 2014.


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BeBop1005 2 years ago from Oneonta, NY

Very interesting and well written. Keep at it! Voted up and more!


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Edward J. Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR Author

Thank you for reading and commenting. The requirement to spend that much time (27-28 days per month) on the road affected the quality of my life by impacting the nature of my relationships. It was educational; you find out which friendships are solidly rooted. I was grateful to have other options (some do not), so I sold my share of it and I left the road.


Piemaker 2 years ago

My first husband was a trucker, and we spent more time apart than we did together. He was a good person, but that wasn't what I wanted in a marriage so went our separate ways. I'm happily remarried and a mom to two teenagers now, but he didn't seem to be willing or able to do anything else.


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Edward J. Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR Author

It is difficult to sustain a marriage relationship or be a parent by telephone, and it saddened me to see co-drivers whose wives had the burden of covering all bases with children would misbehave in the driver's absence, or relationship that were affected by weeks on the road with just a few days for rest or turn-around. I'm glad you've happily remarried.


RoadRanger 2 years ago

If you could put this to music it would make a good song. I was a driver nd I like it.


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Edward J. Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR Author

RoadRanger,

Thank you for reading and commenting. I have no background in music, and I couldn't carry a tune if it was carefully gift-wrapped, but I'm glad you appreciate this.

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