driving lessons

27 Sep

the chariot

The body is a thing itself

which wishes to survive.

We might not always imagine this so –

but try getting in the car with a new driver.

Watch yourself tighten and grip

any solid thing you can find.

Listen to yourself inhale and exhale with difficulty.

The movie your mind is showing on the screen –

A Hundred Different Ways to Die in a Crash.

The very same girl who cannot keep her room clean

is setting out into the very adult task of operating heavy machinery

while still under the influence of adolescence.

She’s actually doing well;

cautious is she after she turned down the radio;

careful is she now that she switched from platform heels.

Imagined myself detached from my existence, did I –

from this body, this life?

Not hardly.

This body has a mind of its own that says

I want to go on.

I do not wish to crash and burn.

This job calls for an even voice,

even breath –

while what is really happening is this –

a  mind and a body wrestle

in the passenger seat beside

a learning curve in motion.

I linger here on

a right of passage as common as standing up,

as learning to walk  –

but just as well might be

leaping from a tall building

and leaving no note behind.

8 Responses to “driving lessons”

  1. Alison September 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    I read this to Don. You are such a brilliant poet!

    • marga t. September 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      So nice of you to say, Alison. Who knows where words come from? 🙂 Not me! I often start these poems at the most inopportune times. Much love to you and Don in S. America!

  2. Kelly Kuhn September 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Love this! My oldest brother told me some years ago that the fastest-aging time in his life happened while teaching his sons to drive. I agreed when I taught my first daughter. Now it’s my younger daughter’s turn. I remember that first time in a school parking lot with my oldest – wondering WHO PUT ALL THESE SIGNS HERE??? AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING SO CLOSE TO THE PAVEMENT???!!! The horror of it all!

    You’ve captured it brilliantly.

    • marga t. September 27, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

      And you lived to tell the tale! 🙂 My oldest has opted out of driving, though she is almost 18, so I am a newbie with my 15 year old. So funny – your perspective. I think laughing together with you all is helping. I found a mapped out plan to go by, stepping up levels in difficulty as we go. She is pushing to do too much too fast – so I was feeling very unsure! Now I have a plan. Thank you so much for sharing with me here on the parking lots and highways!

  3. Michael September 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Next time, try sidecar to a motorcycle, with a black helmet on your head, mirror sunglasses, and your favorite scarf trailing in the wind. Two souls divided by the wind, on a white-knuckled trajectory of trust. Two learning curves intertwined.

    Or not.

    Maybe just write the poem… The hundred and first way to die in a crash…

    Please excuse my nonsense. I’m trying to abandon this body fear vicariously.


    • marga t. September 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

      OH, this is just right, Michael! I love the image you have given me – as I put my scarf and helmet by the front door – though the sidecar is not in my current reality, that is where I am mentally 🙂 The hundred and first way to die in a crash is sure to be an interesting read! Thank you so much for the vicarious working through!

  4. I know the feeling. 🙂

    • marga t. October 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

      🙂 What side of town do you travel – I could warn you, haha! Actually, it gets a bit better each day, of course!

      On Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 9:32 AM, Life as Improv

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