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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 21: 1 Jan. 2024
Poem: 169 words
By M. J. Arcangelini

One Highway Too Far

I’ll never willingly hitchhike again.
—Lew Welch*
Well past dusk, which felt like a natural 
Deepening of the already dark day from 
Gunmetal grey to coalmine black, 
Hard rain drilling through his clothes, 
Adding unwelcome weight to his pack. 
All day to get up 101 from Eureka to 
Crescent City in constant, steady downpour. 
Cars speed past, tires throwing spray in 
All directions, including at the hitchhiker, 
Who has become so wet he barely notices. 
Nice folks don’t want some saturated 
Stranger and his backpack messing up 
The upholstery, dripping on the carpet. 
What he needs is a funky old ranch truck, 
A full gun rack in the rear window, an overly 
Friendly, aging dog in the front seat with 
A grizzled driver who’s been there himself, 
Heading toward someplace vaguely north. 
Meanwhile he stands beneath the only 
Streetlight available, a spotlight cast on his 
Patient desperation, the wind velocity steadily 
Increasing toward gale and there isn’t 
An open market or gas station in sight. 



*Publisher’s Note:

From “In Answer to a Question from P.W.” by Lew Welch, in his book Ring of Bone: Collected Poems (City Lights Publishers, 2012).

M. J. Arcangelini,
Issue 21 (1 January 2024)

(born 1952, Pennsylvania), has resided in northern California since 1979. He has been writing poetry since age 11 and has published extensively in both print and online venues and over a dozen anthologies. He is the author of six published collections, the most recent of which is Pawning My Sins (Luchador Press, 2022).

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

M. J. Arcangelini reads three poems from his book A Quiet Ghost (Luchador Press, 2020) on the tenth anniversary of his open-heart surgery: “Expiration Date”; “Endless Road”; and “How the Heart Speaks”

Shauna Dies Repeatedly by Arcangelini in Trailer Park Quarterly (Volume 11)

Endless War in Pandemic of Violence Anthology I: Poets Speak (2021, North of Oxford)

M. J. Arcangelini on a Humid Night Under a Half Moon, an interview by Rebecca Samuelson in The Write Stuff: LitSeen (8 September 2016)

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