The Occasional Traveler Poem by Daniel Brick

The Occasional Traveler

Rating: 5.0

This is a poem of male roads. It starts
with an ordinary road made up of
daily traffic plus the occasional
traveler impulsively joining
the regulars. Unlike them he has no
sense of the time this journey will grab
from his life, he cannot calculate
whether or not it is worth the risk.
The seasoned traveler can always
turn around, go back home, and
salvage part of the day. But this
impulsive one is lost between
the too familiar house he has abandoned
and a goal he cannot name or envision.
In the end he will need to see his journey
as a success. All around him the regulars
are smiling, counting their profits,
congratulating each other, laying plans
and new schemes. Only the occasional
traveler, this man bereft of companionship,
is alone. His mind is a round-about,
with no exits, only entrances. At day's
end, no woman sweetens his life.

Monday, January 19, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: self discovery
The designation ballad is very specific but it is essentially a narrative. This particular narrative poem seems to be in the same category as THE OTHER DANIEL, a poem I wrote and posted several weeks ago. Both poems explore some aspects of the male identity which are either hidden or ignored. We males of the species are well known for not expressing our feelings, which means a lot of
emotional energy piles up inside. A poem of this category helps me
release it, or perhaps contain it more efficiently.
Smoky Hoss 24 February 2015

Amazing. The best I can here say is: I love this poem, and find it so engaging that I must read it again, many times.

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Frank Avon 08 February 2015

Lines 2-21 are a simple yet accurate representation of an everyday experience, verging on pleasures of a good-ole-boy sort but focusing on the tensions of a stranger among his own kind. But the first line has issued a challenge. What makes this a male road? At first I fell too easily into the comfortable assumption that the two males represented in the poem refer to two types of men, insider and outsider, good-ole-boy and a stranger. among us. But suddenly in the last line, both types suffer an irreversible loss. What is most meaningful, even to the good ole boy, what is the most hopeful dream of the rank outsider - both are annihilated in one simple phrase: no woman sweetens my life. The New Critic within me notices that the first line ends with starts, and the last line starts with end. Everything immediately gets tossed upside-down; irony shouts for a sense of subtlety and complexity. The male road - tje roads traveled by both those males have become dead ends, or roundabouts. Back to the beginning. The main word in the first line is male; the main word in the last woman. Not male and female, not man and woman. That male from the first line may still have one female or another to satisfy his needs and desires at the end of the day, just not a woman to sweeten his life. Maybe the woman in the end awaits another kind of male altogether. Life should not be an abstract noun but an active verb. living. Maybe two living as one. The two shall become one flesh, one soul. Maybe the Occasional Traveler. travels infrequently or irregularly. But maybe, if he is to be a man with a woman to sweeten his life, traveling itself - the two traveling together - becomes a special occasion. Maybe he should sweeten her life just as she does his. Such an occasion needs no exits; it's self-contained. One doesn't have to rush off for sweetening; the occasion - maybe the traveling itself - is sweet, not an abstraction, but living. I believe this poem is itself an occasion. I believe we are occasionally jostled into traveling a different road, a less traveled road, a road neither male nor female but human, man and woman.

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Dr Pintu Mahakul 27 January 2015

Sweetness in life of occasional traveller. Very beautifully presented every word in this poem really. Nicely drafted.

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Magdalena Biela 26 January 2015

The occasional traveller seems to be the happiest one: his mind has only entrances. Although he may seem lost, he has a goal, a well envisioned goal: In the end he will need to see his journey as a success...The regulars are part of the landscape, like the traffic-lights or the trees...they become melted, blurred, insignificant with their petty countings and schemes...The occasional traveller has the strength to abandon the familiar and to jump into the unknown, alone, with no woman to sweeten his end of the day. This feature of this particular traveller makes me, a woman reader, think: Bravooo! That's a man! Women, as all other regular travellers, come and go, but the Self, the alter ego it is most of the time hard to define on the journey, and, by the end of one's journey this is one thing that counts the most: to find oneself. Everything else is simply landscape. A man, a true man, needs no landscape to define his inner power. All he needs is strong will and respect for his gender, which, by birth, comes with DNA bonuses. The occasional traveller is the winner of this story, the good and the blessed one.

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