I was watching a comedy special the other night and the comedian was making a joke about how she would know if she ”really made it.” As I was reading the poem I’m going to share today, I remembered her joke because I too have always had this idea that if I ‘just ever happened to be wealthy enough,’ I would love to take cabs all around cities. I don’t know what it is about cabs, but I love to just ride in the backseat of them silently staring out the window. Of course, I’m imagining this on an evening when there’s lots going on in the city. It seems strange to some, but I love the idea of being lost. I don’t really like to be lost, but I like the idea, the mystery of it. Perhaps, sitting in the back of a cab, allowing everything to be ‘taken in,’ allows you to be lost but to know that you’re going to get to your destination. There are so many scenes in movies where someone is in the backseat of a cab and typically they’re lost in some way. They might have been dumped, they might be uncertain about which lover they’re going to choose, they might be coming home or going to an event that brings up a lot of emotion. The ride is almost as metaphorical as someone playing with their wedding ring. To be lost in a cab, staring out the windows is to be lost in a part of yourself. It’s the ”long ride home,’ if you will. Perhaps what’s so exciting to me about the idea of them is that those rides are life changing. They aren’t the ‘I need to get to dinner in five minutes convenience rides.” They’re more the, “I’m going to take off my shoes and slowly walk home barefoot,’ kind of ride. I wrote this poem years ago. I have a lot of poems that take part in cab rides. I actually remember writing it. I had a lot on my mind, and, as they frequently do, the muses showed up and sat down next to me, and we sort of scribbled this idea together in my head. In times of great anxiety, sometimes I realize in the cab, as the city passes me by, to just be with the moments in the city as they pass me by, and that is so calming to me. I think this poem reflects that.
It’s snowing here. Pigeons,
Pauses, and, places of the broken.
Men of American money read newspapers-
They sleep in lace.
I am asked if I have children by two murky eyes in a rearview.
I do not, I smile pleasantly.
Eyes drifting out the cab window again.
Pathology is breathless.
I hear the doctors mumbling among each other
Earlier that day. Their eyes
Tell me it’s worse than I think.
I take a deep breath as I am mugged
In a dark alley of my own thoughts.
Depravity. I watch
A man smother the oxygen out of the cigarette.
A trapped bird flutters to get out of the stomp of city.
Tonight feels like a bus depot or airport-
it is all about waiting to be taken somewhere.
I am learning what the vanished of the world value.
It’s a grey night for addictions-
They shade in with the other travesties you love.
I feel like a lightbulb hanging on a string,
Teasing for someone to pull the chain
So I can illuminate something.
The hotel rooms were dusty,
Appeared rigid and without character.
Still, I’ve gotten to the point where
They’re sameness almost feels like home.
In that cold, in that pain,
In that winter of markets and epidemics,
Shades and strata,
My face was soldered to window panes.
Life kept driving
As the fog of my breaths condensed
On the cab window, only making it
More and more difficult ,
To see the reality
Due the condensation of hot, heavy, loud anxious breaths
Mixing with the oxygen trying to escape
To really hear the strategic demands of myself,
Quite ready for quieter suggestions and perspectives,
That are not purposeful but instead
Respect the need for reverie.