Feb 172024
How We Get Where We’re Going: Transportation Poems

I’m beginning to think I’m editing a poetry book, what with all these poems on transportation I’m collecting. The images of being on a journey, the physical acts involved with driving or riding a motorcycle, the human relationships and interactions that play out, scenes of the world surrounding the traveler: Life is playing out as we move through space and time.

“What If this Road” by Sheenagh Pugh

What if this road, that has held no surprises
these many years, decided not to go
home after all; what if it could turn
left or right with no more ado
than a kite-tail?

“Detour” by Ruth Feldman

Super highways are so sure
of where they are going:
they arrive too soon.

“Accident” by Jill McDonough

I stopped at a red light on Mass. Ave.
in Boston, a couple blocks away
from the bridge, and a woman in a beat-up
old Buick backed into me. Like, cranked her wheel,
rammed right into my side.

“The News in Southwest Minnesota” by Marianne Murphy Zarzana

The victim, following the rules of the road, still unsafe, vulnerable.
The intersection, unconsciously aiding and abetting fatal collisions.

“The Forewoman Speaks” by Katherine McClung

we will resume routine—go meet a friend
for lunch on Harrison, admire a cloud
above the bridge, ten thousand cars an hour,
some backseats full of kids.

“No More Same Old Silly Love Songs” by Neil Carpathios

I even noticed my
gripping the wheel, the small dark hairs, the skin,
the knuckles and the perfect blue veins.

“One Way to See One of the Most Beautiful Places in the World” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

The rental car headlights shine
on parallel white and yellow lines
as they curve and hairpin
and scale and wind
through moonless forests
and unlit glades. Beyond them,
I feel what I cannot see—

“Autumn” by Tina Schumann

You are convinced that even the asphalt is happy
to be what it is: solid, stoic, the backbone of a day.
Up ahead the next three lights are green,

“Driving Toward the Lac Qui Parle River” by Robert Bly

The small world of the car
Plunges through the deep fields of the night,
On the road from Willmar to Milan.
This solitude covered with iron

“Survival” by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

At the left hand turn
at the busy intersection,
my fifteen-year-old daughter
tenses in her body,
her fingers grip the wheel,
her breath comes fast.
What do I do? she asks,
voice tight with fear.

“Before” by Ada Limón

No shoes and a glossy
red helmet, I rode
on the back of my dad’s
Harley at seven years old.

“The Girl on the Bullard Overpass” by Peter Everwine

But there’s something brave about standing alone
in the rain, waving wild semaphores
of gladness to impatient passersby

too tired or preoccupied to care.
Seeing her at her familiar station
I suddenly grin like a fool, wave back,

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