Traffic poem

With apologies to Prufrock.

In Los Angeles, the roads,
the ancient highways, come and go –
like gods uncertain, like the weather
rule the if the how the whether –
steel and girders, tar and tears
gape and shimmy, stop for years.

The red-brown dust that settles on the window edge –
The red-brown dust that drifts in through the window-screen –

Let us go and make the drive
up and down the 405.
Let’s let fall the past and future present.
Let us go and loop through old town.
Let us find the world’s last sunset.

And indeed there will be silhouetted palm trees
set just so along the concourse.

Through Silicon Valley, new-packed bumpers
hard-won snarls and snags betray a nervous
churning dream of promise and advancement. Don’t look closely –
yet – the system! User traffic’s here a golden
gleaming gift of magic. Motion seethes on apps
and content. Yet – still hidden –
doesn’t ‘hooked’ just mean addiction?

The morning mist that waterfalls through mountain passes
the morning haze that blurs the eastern hills —

Let us go and make the drive – avoiding, always, 85.
Lanes shift sudden to and fro
and where the potholes stop, who knows?
Red-line motion knots the map. Cars and trains and planes bestride
the Golden State, its length, its wide and fertile farmland valleys.
Haven’t you yet found the car keys?

Up and down the ever-crowding state we go
drifting, restless, to and fro
while in medians the natives – plants, of course –
put down roots and stubborn purchase, fight for room to live.

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