David Lewis Paget
Big Mack - Poem by David Lewis Paget
I have always been a trucker
I was raised on diesel fumes,
And I smoked two packs of Lucky's
From daybreak to afternoons,
While I ate at roadside diners
From a plate that swam in grease,
And I downed two mugs of coffees
In my cab, the one I leased.
My Big Mack, my eighteen-wheeler
I once drove through western plains,
Then I hauled hogs out of Denver
And I shuttled freight to Maine,
And I kept my eyes wide open
As I popped those purple hearts,
I could feel my heart keep pounding
As I rolled beneath the stars.
It's a great and grand old country
From New York to Idaho,
From the Rockies to Vancouver
And then down to Mexico,
And I've seen Tornado Alley
With a twister coming down,
And then through Louisiana
Where I've stopped, and gone to ground.
I was hauling hogs to Houston
Eighteen hours on the clock,
I was five hours past the limit so
I couldn't fill my Log,
And the Bears were getting hairy
On the highway, going down,
I was too much in a hurry,
Took the rig the back way round.
It was getting on for midnight
And the night was more than black
As I found the off-road highway was
Just nothing but a track,
There were headlights in the distance
So I pulled off to the side,
Thought I'd wait for them to pass me
On that long and lonely ride.
But the lights approached me slowly
And they pinned me in their beam,
As I squinted through the darkness
Not believing what I'd seen,
So I flicked the headlights up again
To see what they revealed,
And it struck me like a pickaxe
That this ‘truck', it had no wheels!
I sat frozen in my cabin
As this thing began to glow,
And it raised itself above me
Lit me up there, down below,
Then the eighteen-wheeler lifted
And without the slightest sound,
I was up there in the darkness
In the air, and looking down.
It could well have been a twister
Picked me up and flung me round,
I have seen whole trucks in twisters
Lifted up, clean off the ground,
But this thing that was above me
Took me on some drunken ride,
Skimming trees and fertile pastures
Shallow lakes and mountainsides.
It was some hallucination
From the pills I'd popped that day,
It was my imagination
Well I thought so, anyway;
But the cabin door flew open
And I leant out, looking down,
This was no imagination,
I was miles above the ground.
I slammed the door and took a slug
Of bourbon, of Jim Beam
That I'd hidden in the cabin,
All it did was make me dream,
With the pills, it must have hit me
As I crashed out in the cab,
And I didn't wake ‘til morning
Frozen stiff, and feeling drab.
The Mack sat to its axles in
A field of pearl white snow,
A farmer looking up at me,
And willing me to go,
I asked him where I was, and then
I phoned the base, back home:
‘He said that I'm in Greenland!
Yeah! God-dammit! - Who would know? '
I smoke three packs of Lucky's
Sometimes four, it all depends,
On whether I've passed out on Beam,
I'm not one to pretend,
I shudder when I see a rig
That night is with me still,
I never drive at night, and hey!
I bet I never will!
David Lewis Paget
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