Posts Tagged ‘driving’

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.




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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I make a right turn

toward a life twenty five years ago—

where did this field

of wild iris come from?

On the radio, someone

is singing, “I am the one

who’s not anymore.”

I begin to notice

I don’t know where I am.

There are no signs

for where I want to go.

I am as much the road

as the one driving it,

the field of wild iris,

the voice on the radio,

the right turn itself.

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the deer beside the highway

struggling to stand on broken legs

has been dead four days

and still I try to think of ways

I might save it

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Which Brings Me Back to Love

I didn’t mean to exit, actually,
but I couldn’t see the highway lines
beneath the snow, and by the time

I realized my error, I was already
partway down the exit ramp.

I have spent so many years
as the driver in this seat, thinking
I know just where I am going.

It is not hard to see that I
have also been the snow,

obscuring my own path,
though as we all know
there are infinite ways to get

to where we’re going.
Whatever that means.

And today, I see I am also
the exit ramp with its promise
of having arrived somewhere, and here

in fact, I am, though it is not where
I thought I would be, as it seldom is.

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Eleven Almost Perceptions

To understand is to perceive patterns.
— Isaiah Berlin

white car in the ditch
black car in the ditch, another
white car in the ditch


of each snowflake, not once
did I notice


driving in a snow
storm, watching myself
drive in a snow storm


a clear path
in the fast lane—the past passes
the future


how easily it erases
my car, the
falling snow


holding the steering wheel
the way I once held
your shoulders


between today and
tomorrow, one long
lane, two turns


driving toward Denver
I tell old thoughts to get out,
find another ride


Attention, said Ikkyu.
When asked to say more, he said
Attention, attention.


what I want, where
I am, the practice of letting them


I forgot the tune
the snow doesn’t care
I sing anyway

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no wrong turns today
so many possibilities
I never knew

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