See Tupelo Press to read the poems for March 6, 2014 by scrolling down to “Day 6/Poems 6” and of course, to read my poem, Hitchhiking / by John C. Mannone.
The backstory is as follows:
“Hitchhiking” is a conversational narrative poem, one of the voices I am trying to develop. (My default voice is the image-rich lyric.) It was inspired by a true account when I was a teenager living in Baltimore and dating a lovely gal by the name of Maureen who lived 30 or 40 miles away in Westminster, MD. And yes, I hitchhiked to date her at least every two weeks. (It was much safer to hitchhike back in the 60s.) And yes, I did wear that pea coat I described in the poem, and got caught in my pretending. (I looked older than I was back then.) But her father never told me to get a car. Maureen and I both had a special time together, but we had a mutual parting of ways. Still, I think of her whenever I see a hitchhiker. The rest of the poem is entirely fabricated. But I did marry another lovely redhead (her name is Lyda), and though we divorced twenty-six years later, she is very much alive and a fantastic friend.
Throughout the poem, I write in a fairly light tone, but this is to increase the contrast at the end. The structure of the poem is not as uniform as I like, but line breaks are more important than appearance. However, I try to make sure the rhythm is good, which is why I read the poem out loud as I revise it throughout the day.