‘Bone in the Throat,” New Poem by Paul Marion

Bone in the Throat

(March 2021)

By Paul Marion

Web photo courtesy of CNBC


The vast container ship Ever Given from Malaysia,

Bound for the Netherlands, stuck like a bone in the

Throat of the Suez Canal, reminded me of dozens or

A hundred random trailer trucks wedged under the

Spaghettiville railroad bridge near the defunct Prince

Pasta plant outside of downtown Lowell, the years

Of daydreaming, distracted, or plain dumb drivers on

Gorham St. rubbing their scalps when cops arrived

And pulled chins in disbelief, sometimes chuckling

Under their breath at another math whiz who forgot

How tall his rig was and got jammed but good under

The black bridge by Trolley Pizza and the road to the

Funeral home, just past that turn—maybe talk radio was

Yakking or the hypnotic Brahms on 99.1 FM lulled the


Web photo courtesy of MV Magazine


Trucker, plus the light was green-going-to-yellow

A block past the bridge—or it was just too late

Going north, downhill, to slam the brakes, another

Accident because it’s never on purpose, who would

Do that? Explain that to the boss or the spouse

If it’s an independent trucker, but probably not one of

Those—they’d be on their toes in the cab, too much

Riding on it—no, it had to be a fill-in guy who’d never

Driven this route. You’d never crash the bridge if you’d

Been under it, the mess it makes for the office, not as bad

As the canal traffic in Egypt, 300 ships backed up, going

And coming, everything from livestock and toilet paper

To car parts and TVs stopped dead for a week or so

While dredgers worked the edges, and crisis managers


Considered air-lifting cargo to lighten the load in hope

Of refloating the ship, which is as long as the Empire State

Building is tall. It was said to be visible to the Space Station

Astronauts, the vessel locked in the lane, costing time and

Money, exposing a weak link in global transport, 12 percent

Of which slides through the Suez Canal yearly—in the end,

The Egyptian authorities claimed $1 billion in damages,

A whole other level than an errant truck in Lowell,

Which earns a front-page photo: “Another One Bites the

Bridge,” the funny caption notwithstanding the headache

Wringing civilians’ brains hours after the vehicle is freed

From its position for all the effin’ angry stalled drivers

To see—the City can’t post a large enough flashing sign.

You’d need a toll and an off-ramp for the “Too Tall” Joneses.


9 Responses to ‘Bone in the Throat,” New Poem by Paul Marion

  1. Charles Gargiulo says:

    You’re a better man than I am Paul. Whenever I got stuck in one of those damn Spaghettiville bridge, wedged trailer truck mishap, mile long traffic jams (yes, MORE than once!), it wasn’t exactly poetry that came out of my creative mind and mouth.

  2. David Daniel says:

    Vivid & reflective, this one sticks in the mind. And for the one time I got stuck in the aforementioned Spaghettiville Bridge traffic–circa 1985–the respite, after being freed, was to sit in the Prince Grotto with bread and chianti awaiting our order while the roaming violinist played “String of Pearls” for my bride-to-be.

  3. Paul Marion says:

    Charlie, Dave, Thanks for the responses. Charlie: I feel your pain. Dave: That scene in the Prince Grotto would have fit nicely in a related reverie if I had gone another stanza and imagined the waiting minds of the innocent in the backed up cars.

  4. Louise Peloquin says:

    Memory-lane incidents in Lowell, embedded in mega-glitches on the other side of the planet, make everything-gone-wrong times morph into poetry. Thank you poet Paul!

  5. Tom Sexton says:


    Is it true that if I stood on a stack of your poems about Lowell from Anchorage, I could see the Suez Canal?

    I want to call you prolific, but that falls short. Another home run.


  6. Steve O'Connor says:

    Only a Lowellian could write this. Beyond that, only a Lowellian named Paul Marion. (Yes, you’re still a Lowellian. As they say in Ireland, “What’s bred in the bone will out.”)

  7. John Lavin says:

    Poem reads with rhythm and an uncanny grace that intertwines palpable images in telling stories of the saved and the damned whose language sustains this verse and whose reader confronts Lowell as if it were Troy or Yoknapatawpha. Thanks for the ride.

  8. Joan Ratcliffe says:

    Great poem, Paul. I really enjoyed it and pictured it happening. I lived on Moore Street in Spaghettiville.