going home

standing on corners

walking the miles between those

to get on my way

I was going home

between deployments

postings to places

I’d never been

seen heard of before

to set out on trains

or exercising the thumb

thinking I’d see people

get some welcome there

& it never was

like the movies

in the tv scenes

the buzz I’d built up

expectations on the way

would disappear

the instant I’d knock on the door

& they’d say

oh you’re here

when do you go back?

 

D had been laid off

winter being down time for the muck shift

working heavy machinery building roads

& called to say he was broke

could I help at all?

all he had was a mobile home

somewhere out next to a muddy track

I had nothing not even a hangover

scrounged around found a tin or two

old packets of dead dried soup

stuck my thumb into the December black

set out to see if I could help & the cars came slow

I wasn’t a pretty picture on the side of the road

me needing their ride their heater full on

talking up my mission of mercy

one guy bought me a coffee & doughnut

& the last ride gave me a five

with a bible tract said the lord would help

all I had to do was pray & he’d take the load

& when I got there D had had a come up

some money the govt said it owed

we had us a drink on that got a meal

& during the night the rats came in

to get out of the cold eating slices of bread

we had nothing for breakfast then

as I stepped back out into the dark

all I was holding the cold the road my thumb

headed back to where I came from

but at least now I had a hangover