I expected a chariot,
was trained to hold reins,
and know when to whip them.
Hours I spent shuffling across sheer faces
to teach me the balance necessary.
I took notes from oaks on how to keep my feet firmly planted,
legs bending, never breaking.
I suffered the hurricane
to learn to not blink with wind in my face.
I humored Time, to learn from its spinning wheel
so that I might know my own.
I turned to the trust of beasts
thinking they might one day guide me.
I glared at charioteers,
My coliseum competition.
I sat, eyes closed, by the ocean
To acquaint me with a roar
I would expect from an audience.
I stripped myself bare
So that I may learn the choices of judges.
I was prepared for a chariot.
But what arrived was a ratty coup of unknown make;
a wheezing, rusted contraption with wobbling wheels,
a cracked, insect-stained windscreen,
valves of leaky ichor,
a missing cigarette lighter,
a lockless glove box,
a tailpipe that belched black omen,
windows that rolled by hand and got stuck,
seats of the kind of leather your skin sticks to in the summer and froze in winter,
and an AM/FM radio filled with static.
No spare tire.
I was livid.
This vehicle was to carry me to my onward days,
to the paradise of my imagination?
I was to collude with my romantics in the passenger seat
of this rolling mausoleum?
To commute to my place of wage
and not have my vessel reflect my value?
To pass my days of leisure
knowing a bunker of my perturbation watched from the driveway?
I tried to hew a chariot of my own,
but first the wood of the trees of my garden proved too weak.
Then my crooked wheels seemed to want to separate away from each other.
And the only beasts to pull it were dogs,
made fat from the gristle of my meals that I threw them
in my days of anticipation.
I conceded to the coup.
Misery so often my chauffeur,
I plotted and plodded along with the wheels I was given,
Diverting my eyes from Apollos in the sky,
Pulled by glistening pegasi.
also couped up,
Told me to make the most of it.
So I’ve been trying.
I tried to take its namelessness as something to which I might give a name.
As it wheezed I heard it breathing, liable to collapse, but
The warped wheels wove their own way,
and I imagined the invisible burden of unseen beasts
with greater senses of direction than mine.
I saw the insects in front of me as company.
As the pipes oozed, I conjured hopes that they were like a gallbladder,
concentrating bile then removing it.
I sensed that the missing lighter meant I shouldn’t be smoking.
The glove box lacked a latch for ease of access,
and I read from the messages scrawled in smoke in my rear-view mirror.
The effort made to breathe through the manual windows
made me appreciate the breaths I took.
The broken sound system taught me to make my own music.
And the lack of a spare tire taught me to drive very, very carefully;
There would be no second chances.
The coup is a symptom of my broken hopes for my future’s reality.
unlike the chariot,
it is real,
and its state of breaking can
I can sit when I wish to be seated.
I can bring others with me wherever.
The direction is dictated by me and not the whims of beasts.
The AC stutters, but it’s there.
There’s a trunk where I can put my memories.
also unlike the chariot,
I can go very, very fast
if I want to.
a piece on life expectations