Tripping With the Top Down
by Ellaraine Lockie
44 pages ~ 32 poems
Publisher: FootHills Publishing
Ellaraine Lockie is one of the very few poets whose voice has touched me so profoundly that it
inspired me to write a response poem. EL is a word surgeon, one who bothers with surface material
only because it's in her direct path to the heart, where her work inevitably ends up. Lest there is
any confusion, when I speak of the heart I mean the heart of the subject matter of the poem, the
heart of how that subject matter might best be expressed, and the heart of the very fortunate
reader who has found her work.
—Harvey Stanbrough, Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet, Instructor
In Tripping with the Top Down, Lockie invites her readers into confessional conversations while
accomplishing what she does best: using ironic humor, sharp behavioral insights and a native
diction that combines with vivid and detailed imagery to portray a wealth of pithy concepts. This
collection fuses unexpected descriptions with sensuality and a thrilling "creep factor," as with
the opening poem, "Anywhere Hotel." On the whole, Tripping feels like a big daydream, where
Lockie's self-awareness gropes into fantasy and plucks at both pleasant musings and unsightly
—Eve Anthony Hanninen, Poet, Illustrator, and Editor of The Centrifugal Eye
Tripping with the Top Down is a poet's travelogue spiced with sympathetic tapestries and modern
drama. Ellaraine Lockie chronicles her travels throughout the western United States in this new
collection of poems. Along the way, she maps the terrain of alleys and valleys with puzzlement and
an ever-present desire for the fresh discoveries just around the bend. Lockie's keen eye catches
the kaleidoscope of characters and situations that await her wherever she gets behind the wheel.
—Tom Plante, Editor of Exit 13 Magazine, author of Atlas Apothecary
Thanks to her observing eye and facility with language, Ellaraine Lockie brings us this stunning
new collection. Within its pages lie something for everyone. Not because she casts a wide net in an
attempt to speak to everyone; quite the contrary. Because she speaks from her own heart, her own
lived experience of the themes and questions of human life. We are brought to consciousness through
her powers of observation; and to gratitude for her generosity in sharing them.
—Sarah W. , author of Slow Blooming Gratitudes, Co-director of Writing Inside VT.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction
author and essayist. Tripping with the Top Down is her thirteenth
chapbook. Where the Meadowlark Sings won the 2014 Encircle Publication's
Chapbook Contest, and her collection, Love Me Tender in Midlife, was
released in 2015 as an internal chapbook in IDES from Silver Birch Press.
Other fairly recent work has received the Women's National Book Association's
Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in
England for Stroking David's Leg and the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook
Contest winner award for Red for the Funeral. Ellaraine teaches poetry work-
shops and serves as a frequent judge of poetry contests and as Poetry Editor
for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.
FROM THE BOOK:
Other Americas (in a Haibun)
by Ellaraine Lockie
The two hours early that would have been stolen by airport security sway
noose-like in the draft over the train depot. Part of the $39 fare. I take on the job
with x-ray vision aimed at passengers who wait on wooden benches.
A man with potato skin sprouting whiskers pulls up his stained pant leg.
Scratches a scab. No baggage big enough to hold a bomb. The woman sitting
beside me with missing teeth spreads like warm honey over the bench. Says I
ain't givin' up nothin. Unzips her over-stuffed bag as though she senses
suspicion. Points at each item to prove its necessity to her Eddie-Murphy-talking
A kid with enough bottled water to blow up San Jose avoids eye contact
through squint eyes. When he gives his seat to an old man in a walker, I ease
out of national red alert and into local colors. Grab a cup of coffee percolated the
old way. Drift along in the current of community.
A whistle crooks its sound waves toward the tracks to seats that could
hold 300 pounds of honey. To a glass domed observation car where I step into
the middle of America. A silent film surrounding a low buzz of reverence from the
audience. Seats that face both sides of the panorama.
Patchwork of grassland
vineyards, barns, horses, dirt roads
An eagle circles
Hands champ at the glass bit that bars them from running fingers through
fertile soil. America the Beautiful plays in the private rhythm of heartbeats.
When a loudspeaker spills Meals served in the dining car over the air, no one
wants to leave the nourishment of this car.
The umbilical pulse of metal pounding metal. Embryos in a rocking chair
of stop and go, switch of tracks. Of passengers unaware of a south slant until
the birth of sunset over the Pacific.
A round of orange pours
into blue through the glass frame
Froth splashes the sand
Whistle, clang and squeal interrupt the reverie to announce Santa
Barbara. I walk off and into a postcard picture.
Palms, flowers, sunshine
and harbor where mountains meet sea
Shadows of mission
Boutiques flaunt and exotic eateries flavor State Street. In Starbucks a
woman wearing a multi-carat diamond orders a Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte with
sugar free syrup no whip. Says to her Clark Gable-like companion, We'll take a
bottle of '63 Rothschild to dinner. A pre-schooler at the next table plays on her
IPOD while the mother reads Architectural Digest. Out front, a bronzed and buff
teenager with a surfboard bleeps an alarm on a new Porsche with a U of Santa
Barbara sticker. People who could pay the $365 airfare to San Jose.
Armor of x-ray
seat belts, clouds, distance, silence
A chill in the air