Traffic Calming

1 February 2018

He pulls out to the wrong
side that morning, doubleparked
trucks tense him up
so dangerous, meat-hooked
carcasses, latched-open doors,
chilled pink in him more
than risk gritted in his teeth as
he overtakes, still he
drives heavily,
wrestles left, tyres abandon
pneumatics, grinds around
a corner too close, struggles
through the forty zone past
the high school – aren’t we all
exhausted
and over-heated
teenagers wishing
to do nothing while the world
misjudges?
We ruin our way
along the streets, how much space we take to which we are not entitled, with paper
and gum and all that language falling off us as we go
outside the bakery,
another van unfolds, trays of wheat
and yeast and bicarb and salt
cooked up around lower grades of fruit
asphalt and diesel, next hazard
for through-traffic which is him
with his down- turned mouth and flexed
lips and urge to cry, inexplicable.
If only something would explode or
tear itself to pieces or if he could,
he’s too meticulous to do other
than drive.
He recomposes,

intrusions built into little coddled streets
shaking the car this way, that, build character,
someone in council must’ve watched a lot
of stretched-metal cartoons. His car so fragile
as to scratch up
under
falling
leaves.
Trucks everywhere, nowhere
safe enough, carparks
too small for anyone.
How has it come to uncountable boxes back and forth along the highways,
this to there and that to here, so many lives taken with windscreens and squinting
and noise, he winds down the window where he
shouldn’t among the petrol stations where
fumes hurl and swirl like discount vouchers
If only he could glitch out of here for enough time
to inhale some other place before driving onwards.

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