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For a few years, after getting out of the army, I was a truck driver. Like the army, truck driving is not just a job, but a way of life. Many people do not know the dangers they, or the truck drivers on the road, face every day.

Stuckey'sThis is about one night in New Mexico, but I could change the setting to almost all the 48 contiguous states.

If you happen to be driving through New Mexico, and want to see the place I am talking about, take Exit 321 south of I40 (Palomas), and visit the Stuckey's...it sits just off the old Route 66.

Update 2015: Happened to pass through New Mexico recently, and they were tearing down the Stuckey's. Made me a little sad. It was my "go to" place in that area when the sleep monster attacked.

Killing the Sleep Monster

In the dark of New Mexico,
Westbound on the 40,
Somewhere around 2 AM,
In the middle of nowhere...

Tucumcari still ahead,
Santa Rosa back behind,
And the sleep monster
Is crawling through my brain,
Pulling my eyelids shut,
Against all that I can do.

I see lights up on a hillside,
And the exit rushes towards me,
Almost too fast for my foggy brain,
And numb body,
To make the move!

Somehow,
I brake it down from 70,
On the ramp,
Brake down, gear down,
To make the turn into
The unfamiliar territory,
Of this dark piece of New Mexico.

In this strange,
Somehow darker darkness,
I feel my way with my headlights.
I turn my truck and trailer into
A dirt track which looks like
It might be driveway.

I arrive at a rough plot of dirt,
Serving as a parking lot,
And makeshift motel for tired drivers
Behind a closed Stuckey's.

Other drivers got there first,
Claiming the best spots,
But, after driving around I find,
A spot to park.

I set my brakes and idle and crawl into my bunk,
Almost throwing up with fatigue,
Crashing all over the sleep monster.

Better that than crashing
My load of several tons,
Out on the road somewhere.

After a few hours sleep,
I awake,
Sleep monster slain for now.

Sun up,
Glad to be alive,
And doing what I do,
I put it into gear and raise the clutch.

In daylight, I can easily find
The REAL driveway,
At the back of the dirt lot.

There, I turn left onto a couple of hundred feet
Of Route 66.

Turn left again on the road to the Interstate,
Right onto the ramp, and,
Skipping gears as
I quickly gather speed down the ramp,
I hit the 40,
And, go hammer down
For somewhere East of where I am.

Last night's fear is left behind,
But, I have marked the exit
For the next time
I am blowing through New Mexico,
And need to kill the sleep monster
Before he kills me.

1/15/2014 By Donovan Baldwin

About The Author
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Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area poet and author of many articles published online. A University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a past member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He blogs on senior health and fitness at fitness-after-40.ws.

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Donovan Baldwin
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Original poetry by Donovan Baldwin

Killing the Sleep Monster - An Original Poem by Donovan Baldwin
Page Updated 7:56 AM Wednesday 7/1/2015