All rights reserved. © 2008. No part of this e-book can be reproduced without written permission except in the case of brief quotation in critical essays or review. ISBN 978-1-929878-99-4
Acknowledgements: A Journey up the Coast originally appeared as Little Red Book #11 (Lummox Press); On/Off the Beaten Path originally appeared as Little Red Book #27 and RoadKill was originally published by 12 Gauge Press.
Illustrations and photos by Raindog, unless otherwise noted. Printed by CreateSpace.com
of the generation whose identity was firmly defined by the lures and mysteries of THE ROAD. Nothing is quite as exciting, to me, as the steady whine of the road beneath the tires of my car / truck as I head out of L.A. on my way up Route One or Highway 101 or even the dull repetition of Interstate Five as it careens through the brown-ness of the western San Joaquin Valley. My memory of road trips past is tied to vehicles past, as if a particular car or truck can act as a marker along memory lane. The road is so intrinsically interwoven into my history, that I often can’t recall the person I was involved with at the time, but I can remember with ease the vehicle I was driving and the many adventures that I had whilst in said vehicle. Unfortunately, I took a slight detour during the nineties, distracted by women of various makes & models…
But, realizing my error have once again sought the easy comfort of a good travelin’ tape, some new sunglasses, a full tank of gas and an inclination for a change of scenery. Just me and a million other drivers… Move over road-ragers, I’ve got Tom Waits on the stereo and I’m headin’ out. See you in two weeks. This particular two weeks had an actual itinerary that involved visiting old friends, meeting new ones and doing a little poetic business on the side. No risk of boredom here! This poem is based on a diary that I kept. I had originally planned to merely transcribe the diary into book format but ended up “translating/ interpreting” it into the following poem.” — RD Armstrong
Taken as a trilogy JOURNEY, ON/OFF, and ROADKILL
form a kind of late twentieth century early twenty first century attempt to recover, recapture, or reinvent a part of america. Also, taken together these three books become a long poem about the rediscovery of america. And, the rediscovery of the self. Beginning with JOURNEY, there is that starting out, that overwhelming desire to get the hell outta Dodge, to BE somewhere else as long as it isn’t home. And, as is the case with any “journey out” poem you begin with where you are and you talk about what you see as you leave. The old world is best seen in your rear view mirror. That’s the past. In all likelihood, in a week or two you will have to return to that place you are leaving behind. But for the moment, you are existentially and totally free. You have nothing to look forward to except the surprise of where the road will lead and the feeling that you are open to the world. — From the introduction by Todd Moore
“Road Kill is an excellent introspective journey of a heart and mind.” — Joyce Metzger
“On/Off The Beaten Path is an engaging work. You read as Armstrong sometimes struggles with his language against the landscape; but when both merge at times into that magic whole, it is powerful…” — John Macker
RD Armstrong, a self styled Road Scholar, reluctant gypsy and vagabond, has spent many of his years on the “coast route”, choosing, whenever possible, to get from point A to point B via car and/or truck. In the case of all three poems, the vehicle was an ‘88 Nissan Sentra. Raindog, as he is known to his friends, is a man, driven. Not only does he seek the knowledge of things (the mechanics of how things work), but he also seeks to understand his purpose (if any) in the grand scheme of things. Raindog feels he has a calling to fulfill…he just can’t seem to decipher what it is; and the gods are always busy when he turns to them for a clue. He has labored in the trenches of the Alternative Small Press since 1996, both as editor/publisher of The Lummox Journal and as publisher of the Little Red Book series with nearly sixty titles by some of the ASP’s best/least known poets. In the Lummox Journal’s one hundred and twelve issues, he interviewed nearly one hundred poets, writers and artists, always with the emphasis on their creative process.
Although he has been writing off and on since 1968, his most prolific period began in 1993. Since then he has written poetry, short-fiction and essays. A collection of his best poems appears in Fire and Rain, a two volume set, published by Lummox Press. RD Armstrong’s books include PEDRO BLUE (Vinegar Hill Press), Paper Heart (Lummox Press), In Memoriam (The Inevitable Press), The San Pedro Poems (Lummox Press), RoadKill (12 Gauge Press), Last Call: the Legacy of Charles Bukowski and The Hunger (both by Lummox Press). His poems have been published in over one hundred small press magazines and in over sixty websites. Visit www.lummoxpress.com for a complete picture of RD’s empire.
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