Gas, by Paul McDonald
At the wood’s dark edge, this remote gas station’s
heavy with time, like its elderly attendant.
He brushes dust from the pumps with the cuff of his overalls,
contemplates the empty road. Trade is seldom brisk,
but he hasn't seen a car today, let alone customer.
When did the world end? Without radio or telephone
he wouldn't know. Attuned to the rumour of machinery,
he’s alert to every imminent arrival, but nothing’s in the air,
save a sense that something’s wrong.
He feels loneliness growing from his gut, like a hollowing.
All he can do is dust his pumps again, and hope.
Paul McDonald runs the creative writing programme at the University of Wolverhampton, England. He is the author of fifteen books, which cover fiction, poetry, and scholarship. His work has won a number of prizes including the Ottakars/Faber and Faber Poetry Competition, The John Clare Poetry Prize, and the Sentinel Poetry Prize. His academic work includes books on Philip Roth, Joseph Heller, Toni Morrison, narratology, and the philosophy of humour.
10/4/2017 10:28:11 pm
Truly enjoyed reading your poem "Gas." For many years, my grandfather owned a gas station high on a lonesome bluff above the Missouri River, and sometimes it was almost quiet enough to hear the current's flow. I can sense the quiet flow in your poem as well and how the pace keeps us moving regardless that time nearly stands still in Hopper's art. The ending is impactful as it seems that "hope" always involves the continual dusting off of things. At least that is what I've learned during my life.
12/11/2017 12:50:16 pm
Many thanks Tammy, I am so pleased you like it - you offer a poetic, sensitive reading that picks up on the atmosphere I was hoping to evoke.
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