Slack Traffic by Martin J. Elster

Slack Traffic

This is the slackest traffic I have been in.
And yet I’m fairly confident I’m winning
the battle between ecstasy and languor,
the deathmatch between sanity and anger.
I drive so slowly, I could fall asleep
but, gazing at a Shangri-La of sheep
grazing tranquilly across the street
is good as savoring a frozen treat.
Though tentacles of heat from every car
try murdering my mood, the finches are
so free and high above this hellish jam,
I’ve almost lost the sense of where I am —
some planet parallel to this old sphere,
a world where horns don’t blare, the air is clear,
where narrow tracks of asphalt don’t confine us,
where fumes which spew from rigs don’t plague my sinus.
So long have I been loitering in this mess,
I’ve missed my own recital. I can guess
my guzzler will keep guzzling for some time.
So I reach for a book. Is it a crime
to read while driving? Yes. But this ain’t driving!
I haven’t a notion when I’ll be arriving
to where I’m headed. Reading is the thing
to do, or drum the dashboard while I sing
Rodolfo’s aria from La Bohème.
At least I haven’t drifted into REM,
though that may happen soon, for dusk has laid
its copper wings upon this slow parade,
which now has gone from turtle-speed to sloth,
my windshield host to a heedless hulking moth.

Editor’s Note: The trauma of traffic is deftly (and somewhat amusingly) described in this poem. Don’t poem and drive, people.


2 responses to “Slack Traffic by Martin J. Elster”

  1. Patricia Jones Avatar
    Patricia Jones

    I love this poem. It captures so beautifully how we cope with long commutes and standstill traffic. Thank you!

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