Early Morning at Worden Truck Stop, Klamath Falls
a sequence of American sentences
by Jonathan Yungkans
November snow. Semi-trailer trucks dormant. No car braves the silence.
Wind sands basalt from a volcanic peak to hover and stretch as clouds.
Sky stained twilight blue with cloud dust. Sun dim though shining, earthbound with sleep.
One nearby tree more skeleton than birch and nothing and the earth shifts.
PHOTO: Worden Truck Stop, 19777 Highway 97 S, Klamath Falls, Oregon, 97603. Photo by tlpclpdlp (November 2018).
AUTHOR’S NOTES ON THE POEM: Klamath Falls, Oregon, was an extended stop when I traveled on the Amtrak Coast Starlight between Los Angeles and Tacoma, Washington. There was frequently snow, and I generally braved the cold long enough for some welcome fresh air and the chance to snap a few pictures. The stop this particular day was much longer than usual. Through the windows on the side opposite the platform, clouds appeared frozen mid-turbulence and their stasis seemed to envelop the peak, the truck stop, the train itself. The scene was wondrous in its beauty and a little frightening.
AUTHOR’S NOTES ON THE FORM: Allen Ginsberg conceived the American sentence—generally a single line of 17 syllables—as an equivalent of Japanese haiku. Poet Paul E. Nelson says it, like haiku, captures “the shadow of the moment,” a fragment of perception. I wondered how American sentences could be combined in a cogent yet loose narrative, both observing the form and expanding upon it. The spacing between lines is intentional, to allow each its individual weight and to maintain a measured pace.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer with an MFA from California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in San Pedro Poetry Review, Synkroniciti, West Texas Literary Review, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and is slated for release by Tebot Bach Publishing in 2020.