Enter the Travellers

Joe Mills

Twice, Shakespeare took off,
disappearing from the grid.
The "lost years" they're called
by scholars although he knew
where he was. Maybe it was surfing
in Costa Rica or climbing in Tibet,
but more likely he sailed
into Boston or Savannah,
then started hitchhiking West.
He talked and drank and smoked
with whomever he met.
Lewis and Clark. Kerouac.
Custer. Crazy Horse.
He hung out for a while
with other ex-pats in Hollywood
then headed North to the Bay area
where he sat in with The Warlocks,
Jerry teaching him bar chords
in exchange for hearing madrigals.
Dylan mentions it in Blonde on Blonde,
but that's not good enough
for academics. They want to find
buried somewhere in an archives
a receipt for the pink Cadillac he rented
to drive Route 66. The initials WS
scratched in places on a waiver.
But they won't. In those years,
wherever he was,
he was just trucking,
keeping a low profile,
and not writing a thing,
not even a postcard to Anne.


About the Author

A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joe Mills has published four volumes of poetry five books of poetry, most recently This Miraculous Turning.