Since Reading Alice Walker’s “The Cushion in the Road”

I’ve been reading Alice Walker’s latest collection of essays, The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way 2013, and find myself contemplating her musings well after I have put down the text.  Keeping my nose out of Walker’s text proves challenging, and I am already a bit saddened that I am coming to its end.

Nevertheless, while tiresomely driving to Miami yesterday morning, I noticed the sky, the trees, and the Earth around me in a manner–not quite different from other ways I have witnessed the Earth before–but definitely in a manner that considered Walker’s meditation and wandering about Nature and human being’s exploitation and raping of Her.  I thought deeply and purposely about the Earth I was witnessing during my drive–and my thoughts, mingled with Walker’s meditations and wanderings–generated the following poem:


6 a.m. Traveling Alligator Alley


Riding into periwinkle skies

I marvel at tree tops tilting toward cherry blossomed horizons

outlined in an orange blaze

that foreshadows sun’s morning rising.


Heavy machines interrupt quiet beginnings

and intoxicate Earth with their presence:

Torn rubber

Broken medal

Poisonous fumes

are as much a part of the landscape as wired fences

that keep swamps and shrubs from touching asphalt.


Suspended between man and Nature

I center myself in gospel music

that carries me all the way home.

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