On the road poems

1980 Volvo 1960 Skylark View from the Passenger Seat of Life Lights Turning Green


photo by Mike Horowitz

Road Warrior

The headlights are gone,
and silver rims look out
from a car face
where hood and grill
no longer quite align.
The steering wheel sits jaunty
awaiting new direction,
or perhaps a companion to slide in
and while away the time,
while a way behind the bumper,
a wire drops, uncoiled,
anchor to
home ground.

The car face smiles
It doesn't take itself
or the road
so seriously
that it can't enjoy the sun
– while other cars
race on,
down roads
always receding
through their windshields.

Road warrior, it dreams,
of roads still unexplored,
remembering what it has learned
from highways, bumps,
journeys into the outback,
and smiles
to itself,
watching for
new chances
headed its way.

1980 Volvo

Sleek cars
with darkened glass
concealing expensive, cellular conversations
navigate with satellite accuracy.

My Volvo has a different beauty.
Dents and rust
sport a battle-scarred dignity,
forbearing and tolerant.

My Volvo is what it is
and knows what it is not.
No darkened glass to conceal or impress,
It does not define itself by speeds it will never achieve.

Stealth car, it travels
beneath the notice of Mercedes convertibles or police Ford Tauruses,
It calls no attention to itself,
but rolls on, sure footed, in the middle lane of life,
and navigates by wit.

Odometer retains remembered journeys,
-moments when
radio blasting, I felt
acceleration sing in my blood,
watched the world unroll through the windshield,
always ahead of me,
lights turning green.

Today, I turn on the radio,
set to KFOG,
and listen as scratchy tunes
evoke an early, authentic self.
I am what I was
and yet, after all these miles,
still becoming.


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1960 Skylark

Spinning down memory lanes,
the windshield frames
recollections burnished
in spring sunlight,
while chapel bells syncopate
with rap on a CD changer
bolted to vintage desires.
Wind in your hair,
sun on your cheek,
Skylark takes s you go places
For future journeys,
it shines with resplendent past,
and retro-sportiness
geared for today's pleasure.
In a world grown used to
GPS positioning,
techno wizardry,
this ignition turns itself on,
without a key to flash the lights,
open windows,
or power auto locking seat position.
Brakes squeal at an angle
aligned with starry constellations,
Orion, Big Dipper, the North Star.
Hub caps remember
fearless flights
down forgotten avenues,
speedy turns through tree tunnels,
and drive ins to back seat pleasures.
Rust marks show
victories in parking lot skirmishes,
seat covers flaunt
from a black and white world,
tail fins point skyward,
leashed to leap to warp speed.

Serendipity sings
in a 60's Skylark
a song of freedom,
with top down,
and green lights
at every intersection.


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View from the passenger seat of life

Perhaps too long
I've sat
in the passenger seat of life,
saying I could
see the world
just as well,
even from the back seat.
Time to turn
the ignition on myself,
pop the clutch
push off in first gear,
then coasting in neutral,
turn the corner,
and roar into overdrive.

The internal combusts,
as through the windshield,
the world speeds to me
faster than I could
ever imagine
from the passenger seat
of life.

Here's the key-
I turn it toward,


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Lights Turning Green

I wish for you
clear road ahead,
and lights turning green.
Not a destination certain,
on a map,
but a road
where sudden bends
open vistas to the far horizon.

Crossroads I wish for you too,
so you can consider new directions,
take a turnoff just for fun,
and see where it might lead you.
A passing lane to get you by
those who seem to lead the way
but are really lost,
and lots of turn outs,
so you can let traffic speed past,
not crowd too close behind you;
and also overlooks, where you can stop,
see where you've been,
where you've yet to go,
and at the same time
look all around,
photograph the smallest flowers,
as well as distant
snow-peaked mountains
and shimmering lakes reflecting.
If you need to stop
and turn around,
I hope for ample shoulders,
because proceeding
in the wrong direction
is rarely useful,
though you may only learn
your road is leading
down a dead end
by traveling far enough to see.
Picnic stops too,
so you can rest up,
eat something delicious
and go on at full strength.

And if your lights can't be
always turning green,
I hope you can accept
the need to stop
along your way
if only temporarily,
to reassesses,
and also see those opportunities
which don't come at you
straight on,
but from the side, obliquely.

And one last wish:
May your passenger seat
hold someone dear to you,
who is smart enough
to help you navigate,
tune the radio,
pass you a cold drink,
rub your neck,
and tell you,
with a grin,
when you've taken
a wrong turn.

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 © 2004, Lenore Horowitz