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Posts Tagged ‘driving’

And as I merge onto the interstate
with its ten lanes of traffic and
semis and tolls, Emily sits primly
in the back seat and doesn’t
say a word. She was a bit reticent
to come along—we’re a long way
from Amherst, after all—but
she admitted she was tired
of the New England weather
and longed for something new.
As it is, it’s raining in Houston,
and the puddles on the pavement                                                                  
splash up onto the windshield
and I grip the wheel more tightly,
sensing Emily’s rising panic.
All around us cars weave
and unweave, changing lanes,
charging the world with an unbraiding
rush. Then she says in a voice so quiet
I can barely hear it beneath
the hum of passing cars,
I loved someone once. It felt
something like this. Beside us,
a siren wails. Yes, she says,
fisting the white skirts of her dress,
Yes, it was exactly like this.

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Imagine


driving south
through the mountains
watching the moonrise—
 
and around each corner,
thrilling as it rises again, again, again,
feeling luckier each time—
 
meeting the self
like that

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Going Home




Today I am so grateful
we are the characters
who go on a journey
and learn to find the bravest, best
and kindest versions of ourselves,
even when the road is beset
with Lestrygonians driving white Range Rovers,
especially when Charybdis tries to merge
into our crowded two-lane sea
after driving in the eddies of the emergency lane
to bypass the long lines,
yes, we are the characters who learn
that we are responsible for our own soundtrack
and must sing to meet each moment,
must be our own sirens calling ourselves
again and again and again
to crash only on our own shores
then sail on more carefully, more purposefully,
our song all the more joyful,
more determined, and yes, more alive.

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Evolution




We drove seven hours,
and half the time it snowed
so I kept my eyes fixed
to the slushy road, but
there was the moment
when I looked at my girl
in the passenger seat
and fell in love in an instant
and stroked her hair
and she, catching my gaze,
offered me her open hand—
for this the first tetrapods evolved
in shallow and swampy freshwater,
for this the ichthyostega formed
arms and finger bones,
and for this, though it took
thirty-million years
of primate and homo sapien change,
for this we learned how to smile.

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We turn off the music. Practice left turns

onto the highway. Park on the bias.

Park on the street. We get gas.

Drive backwards. Use the median.

Change lanes. Use the blinker.

Slow down. Full stop.

There’s a rule for everything

and a comfort in knowing the rules.

“And you can practice everywhere,”

notes our DMV guidelines, “so have at it!”

Imagine if we all practiced everywhere.

If we all signaled before every turn—

turn of heart, turn of mind, turn of plans.

Imagine if we all agreed, no matter where

we’re going and no matter where we’ve been,

that we are all travelers on the same side,

knowing we’re on this road together.

Imagine if we agreed to stop in an orderly way—

no drama, no shaming, no blame,

so that someone else might take their turn to go.

Imagine, getting along with others,

no matter what they believe,

could be as simple as keeping it steady,

looking over your shoulder,

making eye contact in a crossing,

giving each other some space.

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Perhaps when I’ve lived long enough

that time and I have become good friends,

I will no longer curse at semi-trucks

going sloooow on the two-lane highway.

No, I will simply drive fourteen miles under the speed limit

and happily harmonize with the oversexed songs on pop radio

and notice how beautiful the swirls in the red rock cliffs.

I will not imagine fitting consequences

for drivers who pass in no-passing zones.

I will simply say thoughtful little prayers for them

to protect them on their way

as they blithely jeopardize the lives

of every other human on the road.  

And I’ll be so grateful for construction delays—

how they give me time to sit and reflect

about how happy I am to no longer be

the kind of woman who gets upset about traffic

and all the small-hearted dim wits

who don’t pull over when twelve cars are following them—

yes, it will be so nice to sit there beside the orange cones

with a smile on my face,

not ashamed at all that I used to be so bothered by it,

oh, remember that chapter?

I’ll be so amused I ever thought it was a problem

to creep an inch an minute for an hour and a half—

how lovely the slowness, the pace of patience,

my hands on the wheel, my foot humming above the brake.

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I want to linger at the side of the road

where the dark birds sing into the eddies of dawn,

yes linger in the low-angled light, in the big-hearted shadow

that blankets this bend in the canyon. Though I have many

miles to drive before I arrive, let me stay here

a while beside the river, still for a willowy moment, the water

the only thing moving. How many landscapes do I pass

without meeting them? How many worlds do I miss

as I rush from one here to the next? Oh bless this

quiet, where there is no hum of highway, no rumble,

no center line, no blur. Why do I so seldom linger,

my bones full of rush and current. In this moment,

I remember how deeply I love the stillness of rocks

that haven’t moved for a thousand years, the calm

of the dirt that has nowhere, nowhere to go.

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Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.

            —Socrates

 

 

And so Socrates says, Enjoy yourself,

and I tattoo those two words

into my thoughts, but then, no matter

what the clock says, no matter

what the mirror says, no matter

what Socrates says, I tell myself,

I am right on time.

Like the moon, which this morning

still hangs in the west as the sky

all around it turns red.

The moon isn’t late, isn’t early,

isn’t anything but the moon doing

what the moon does. Do that,

I tell myself, staring at its light

as it drops through the rear view mirror,

at the same time keeping my eyes on the road.

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One Perspective

 

 

 

first stepping into the galaxy

to see that tiny blue dot—

now ready to watch the news

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Going Your Way

 

 

You idiot, is what you say

to the driver five cars ahead of you

on the two-lane road that winds

through the river canyon.

There is no passing lane,

and you feel the crushing

of the minutes as they rub against each other

while the white SUV five cars ahead

does not pull over

in the wide spot on the road

where all conscientious slow drivers know

to pull over to let the other drivers pass.

Idiot, you grumble, and miss

any beauty outside the window,

focused as you are on the speedometer,

the brake. Once it was you,

a girl of fifteen, who drove so cautiously

the windy roads to church

on a Sunday morning, that first day

with your driver’s permit.

And who was it in the long line

behind you who called the police

to report a drunk driver?

When they pulled you over,

the two squad cars with their blaring lights,

you didn’t cry when the officers laughed—

there was warmth in their relief

to find that you were not drunk but young.

No, you cried after they walked away,

cried all the way to mass.

Bless them, the irate ones,

the ones who fume in the back,

the ones who think furious thoughts.

That’s right. Bless yourself,

you, the livid one, can you find

a way to love her, this hurler of names,

this one who disdains the others going

the same way she is going? Laugh

at her if you can, a real laugh.

Tell her you get it, it’s frustrating.

Tell her we are all traveling the same winding road

toward grace.

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