Wednesday, February 16, 2011

9. Driven, Driving, Drive

On the road to work today
I saw two women crying,
in separate situations,
and one boy falling.

I heard rich people talking
about extreme poverty -
life on less than $1.25 a day -
very matter of factly.

I bought the dwindling resource of gasoline
on a credit card
because there's nothing left of my personal reserves
until tomorrow.

I ate a sandwich for breakfast
that might have been a feast
for one of those entire families
with eggs, cheese, bread, ham and bacon
but it wouldn't have stopped those women
from crying -

One was driving her car,
the sun shining on her face
transforming her tears into glittering diamonds
and her face into a mask
depicting the calm, steady ravages
of age and pain and disappointment.

The other sat in a crowded restaurant
alone in a booth for two
seemingly talking aloud to herself,
but it was a phone with an earpiece,
and I could not hear her words,
but her face was very animated
and then the tears came.

She was African,
and what she was contending with,
I could not begin to imagine.

The sandwich might have helped
the boy in some way, but
it would not have prevented him from
slipping on the ice,
feet flying out in front like a toddler,
landing directly on his butt
trying to cross Main Street to
the University campus.

His face showed me
he didn't discover the humor
people so often find
in watching others fall -
neither did I -
his expression did not convey pain or defeat,
just a half-expected betrayal,
a weathered insult.

He stood up,
and that's what matters,
for that I should have given him my sandwich
or held a power fist high outside my car window
in solidarity.

There is unrest and fear,
something is shifting,
as it always is, but
the tempo...

Are you afraid you've lost your way?
Would it help if I told you there never was one?

I watched you
keep going
in awe.


1 comment:

  1. Contemplative and niggling my mind.
    And it does help to be told there never was a way, yes.


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