No Through Road Trip

campervan

We were nearly there
You in the driving seat
Him with the map
denim shorts
patchwork patches
grandad cardies
Swan Vesta matches
Me in the back
with Giggly Sis
hippy frocks and
bright red socks
headscarves, dreads
and celtic art
all off to a festival
heard about on the vine
from a bloke down the pub
with a roll up
a nose ring
a quintessential
dog on string

We drove between hillsides
sussing the signs
followed the road cutting
Welsh weathered divides
Campervan motor
ticking along
like grit in the oil
was singing a song
“Next left!” He spied
tracing the route with a finger
no-one around
not a throng
not a crowd
were we sure this was right?
would we party tonight?

The engine whirred
in the steep of the climb
remembering its birth year
was ‘79
Giggly Sis
took a swig from her can
and pointed ahead
to a crusty with van
who followed an ambulance
with curtains
and buses
with chimneys atop
These weren’t our kind
but authentically
Traveller
we had to admit
we were authentically
Amateur

This crowd were like family
closed up and so tight
they wouldn’t want us
around for the night
and as for the music
the tents and sound systems
there was nothing but one bloke
on bongos with rhythm
You wound down your window
I held my breath
“Alrigh’ mate
anything going on
around here tonight?”
Mate, in his khaki
his earthy clad boots
rainbow woolley
a trench coat
hair matted like roots
shrugged
didn’t smile
couldn’t beguile us
a gentrified nod…
Well!
Not wishing to appear
rude or unclear
we kept bumping along
the occupied track
You held the wheel
He held the map
relieved to discover
a route to get back
“Keep going ahead
then bear to the left!”

Jagged with rock
craters like pockmarks
far more minor
than a casual mistake
the “road” crossed the ridge
and melted away
“Oh for f**ks sake!”…
You put on the brake
and got out the Camper
twirling dreads with your hands
He took the map
and examined the land
Roman road
and maybe
probably
300AD

I cannot believe
just what happened next
it was me in the driving seat
laughed at by Sis
sheep on both sides
sure footed and ruffled
the only way down
looked nothing but trouble
“Left a bit!”
“No Right!”
“Take it easy”
“Too tight”
“Hard! No! Gently”
“Easy”
“Oh God!”

Tyres puffed
under suspension’s lament
every scrape every crunch
echoed a dismal descent
palms spread
You braced the side
tin cans and pans
rattled inside
He with the map
flapping his hands
“Steady!  Keep steady!
I’ve got a plan!”
Locked on
white knuckled
I tried to sit happy
above
what felt like
a crumbling chassis
“I’m going over! Gonna roll!”

But as I swore
I couldn’t hold
another inch
another quiver
the valley below
grew clearer and nearer
He with the map
climbed back inside
“Now drive!  All the way
Down the hillside!”
Giggly Sis
and You got in
rocks became
mole hills
deep craters thinned
we flew all the way
racing inkspotted earth
realising just what
our lives were worth
retracing the route of
a Roman road
back through the woods
tearing through brambles
damp bark and moss
back to our roots
forgetting our loss
as a pathway wound
weaved and tangled
and we drove forth
spangled and mangled
Campervan motor
ticking along
like grit in the oil
was singing a song

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About Gizzi

Poetry. People. Rebel Mama View all posts by Gizzi

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