Car Poems

Sometimes I write poems about driving in cars. Sometimes I do it while driving in cars. Sometimes I wake up people across the city or across the country to yell lines and breaks at them before I forget. Here’s two. One of these is very old. So’s the photo.



I found out it’s called

a Colorado Low– three days

from now it’ll snow in Ontario, but

this morning I watched

the sky boil over with fog

lining the same highway

I’ve been driving

for years, broke-ridged

asphalt thrown into focus:

the only thing I know

that’s actually infinite, endless

endless against

the rest of my day.

This morning I found my latest parking ticket

as it wound across the dash,

wind buffeting in open windows

seatbelt thrumming tight rhythms

against my shoulder.  I found the moon

in the west, bright on the blue predawn

and as the sun rose

to bleach the sky I found myself

missing the shadows.


Coming Into Being (At The Side Of The Road)


is broken. Night forced

between the cracks

in the windshield, cold brushing

backs of my fingers

on the steering wheel

of my father’s truck.

Last gasps of daylight, edges crept

with dusk, line the sky.

Too fast an afterimage, a police cruiser

parked at the side of the road

ruins the stark edge I’d been following,

cut across the long line

at the end of the shadowed field.  No siren

just grimaces flickering

blue and red; they move

silent as we flash past, ghosts

missing pieces. Brakes light

the man pulled out of his van          and one

two three times he’s bloodied

against the mirror. I think I hear

glass break, scatter

on the curbside. Then


run under by scrub grass

and low hills. The sun

finally sets. Moonlit cigarettes

dance in rearview mirrors, burning cherries

calligraphy like children

on summer holidays

with sparklers. We

don’t speak, just smoke, and watch

the distance

between us

eaten by passing miles. Night comes.

Eyes close. Worlds change. And I try

to imagine sounds fallen

from that mad tableau. The road continues

underneath, strange frictions

come through tires, rattling up

the frame, a scaffold of wire and dark, corroded

iron. Underpinnings

the world unseen

glimpsed through latticework tree limbs and

rusted mechanics, grim branches

scraping the darkness of the sky.

Six months later, all backwards:

my father’s truck, upside-down

in a ditch, remembered

as a long series of still images and one unbroken line of sound,

a thousand pieces of things crashing: remembered

as a symphony. I stood in the tire tracks

at the side of the road and called my father

and explained what had happened.

He sighed. “This is gonna change

everything.” Strange

how endings creep

into our own horizons, events snapping

into place like matchsticks or thin bones to make

the only perfect road you’ll see, back. Everything rusts

and when something is broken

we suddenly see the holes

lined up long before. While I was waiting

to be born, the night came, and sat

and waited for me. The horizon ended

then. It just took me a long time

to see.


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