Monday, October 9, 2017

Charles Rammelkamp


“No, we're just here to see the Falls,"
I told the Canadian official at the pedestrian border booth.
Mark and I looked a mess,
unwashed, unshaven hobos
crossing from the USA,
our plan to cut across Ontario to Michigan.

A car full of teenage girls—
all three in the front seat—
had picked us up in Buffalo,
newly-minted drivers
on a Saturday afternoon adventure
in the parents' car.

We tried living up to the role
they’d thrust upon us—
romantic carefree hippies,
not too tough for Mark,
with his long red hair and beard;
flirtatious without being threatening,
cajoling them to take us
the extra twenty miles to Niagara Falls.

We thanked them when they let us out,
but they were just as grateful
for the story they’d tell their friends.

"OK," the uniformed guard said grudgingly,
suspicion an occupational hazard,
the long line of people behind us
making it simpler to just pass us on.

So we walked into Canada,
gawked at the magnificent falls,
then found ourselves
at the Queen Elizabeth Way entrance headed west.
We’d make Port Huron by sundown,
but still I thought longingly of those Buffalo girls,
how I’d like to go with them to that imagined party.

Charles reads "On the Road":

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Charles confesses: "This more or less happened, but it was 1972, so I’m not sure how accurate some of the feelings were! It was at the tail end of the golden age of hitchhiking, inspired by Kerouac’s On the Road."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His latest book is a collection of dramatic monologues called American Zeitgeist, published by Apprentice House. A chapbook of poems entitled Jack Tar's Lady Parts is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press.

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