Down and Out in Idabel

Pigments (2)


Down and Out in Idabel

How Myron found himself in the parking lot
of the Holiday Inn in Idabel, Oklahoma
looking out at the road
on a Saturday morning in April
– after a breakfast of brittle bacon,
sausages slick with grease,
dry fluorescent scrambled eggs –
is not important.

The road pauses, a skittish dog roams.
Myron’s eyes are drawn to a dead armadillo
upside down on the hard shoulder
an empty beer can in its claws:
Old Milwaukee, prehistoric drunk,
someone’s joke.

A pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
a pick up truck passes
over the fence a cow chews grass
and makes a meal of it.
Dogwoods bloom.
The cow moos like a reluctant foghorn.
Myron’s mood turns
he thinks about the cow,
Manifest Destiny,
the plight of the bison
our lust for red meat
while greenhouse gas
shimmies upwards
ice caps melt
glaciers retreat
and looking down
the road to Shreveport
buoyed by the prospect
of seeing Idabel
in his rear-view mirror
he quietly resolves
to recover what he was
before sadness lodged
like a wet sack
in the back
of his head.

This poem originally appeared in issue 38 of The SHOp poetry magazine (print) which was a fine magazine, unfortunately they closed up shop a few years ago.





5 thoughts on “Down and Out in Idabel

    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Yep, I have to admit the poem is not a barrel of laughs. I explain a bit in my reply to Steve Simpson’s comment below. By the way, if you are not doing so already, you should check out Steve’s blog, I think you would like it. JIM

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Steve Simpson

    Great ambience, Jim, and I like the way the narrative connects from breakfast to the sorry world and back to his resolution. Although the scene is a bit unfamiliar to me, I have overnighted in places like the Sunshine Motor Inn in an industrial suburb of Melbourne: all darkness, concrete, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. I resolved never to return and kept that resolution, but finding the self you’ve lost isn’t easy.


    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks Steve, I think there are Sunshine Motor Inns all over the world. The poem was a mix of a bunch of ideas, I was reading a book about how our addiction to red meat is and was the cause of everything from wars to global warming, small town America seemed like a good setting for airing these ideas (based on personal experience). The book did not change my diet.

      Liked by 1 person


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