Connecting with John Poch’s “Freight Dreams”

by Nise Jones  ·  May 03, 2019


It’s frightening—a life not known, the constant wonder about what the future might hold. Even worse is being caught up in it all and forgetting to live. These thoughts drift through my mind as I go from school to work, work to school, and try to survive in-between. When I read “Freight Dreams” by John Poch, first published in Five Points Volume. 18 Number 2, I felt the world around me open up, reality giving way to a truth I had yet to discover: the importance of being present.

In order to pay his way through university, Poch got a job at Southeastern Freight Lines working on a dock. Which sounds about right: the job we get when we’re trying to make it until we make it. The anecdotes are personal; specific to his sole experience. Still, I recognize the self-awareness building in the mind and the anxiety that follows as he writes, “I took a moment to look up to see the sky full of stars. I nearly felt free. I breathed deeply in that huge silence and almost let myself begin crying… Who was I? What was I doing, and for how long would I be in this awful place?” I enjoyed reading Poch’s juxtaposition of finding serenity, if only for a moment, and introspective thoughts. His tone is genuine and invites the reader to take a moment to reflect along with him.

While attending university, Poch studied literature during the day and worked nights at the dock. He would find time to breathe life into his desires while doing the work he needed to survive. In reading this story, there is an understanding of the everyday person in what could be any environment. He describes the hidden gems we create that make our day-to-day workload worthwhile. Moments we often overlook, he crafts an understanding through familiarity. His remark,”Out on the highway, these tractor trailers full of freight surround you. You have no idea,” reminds me of the ease in which our surroundings can disappear around us. We drive on the highway, go to the grocery store or a shopping center, never really thinking about the trucks, the working people and their lives. The line, “Almost everything but live animals came out of those trailers,” reinforces how infiltrated freight trucks are in our lives.

“Freight Dreams” is stirring and relentless in what it has to say. I enjoyed every moment of reflection, truth, and persistence to keep moving. Poch’s essay shows that while the work will probably be different, the feeling of getting through is familiar. This essay will take you outside of the world you know. “Freight Dreams” will remind you of those you encounter, the weight of the work that doesn’t have your heart, and the blissful feeling as that chapter finally closes.

Nise Jones is currently double-majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and Film & Media at Georgia State University. She aspires to be an editor and a filmmaker. 

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, Flickr.