Traffic Starts Rumbling

traffic fuel food


by Eric Chaet

Traffic starts rumbling outside my window before dawn
first a train sounding its horn over & over
then trucks hauling dirt from excavations for new houses
that no one is going to buy before the developers go broke
but you can’t blame them for pushing forward
I want to push forward myself
I’m restless, tossing, turning, starting to wake against my will
they don’t want to hold on to the land & pay taxes on it
probably they can’t afford to wait
can I afford to stay in bed any longer?
I remember I told myself last night to sleep late
felt close to exhaustion
but there’s a crack in the road’s asphalt
& every time a truck that’s emptied its load of dirt
goes over that crack, it bounces, & lands with a terrible rattle
sometimes I’ve thought Brenda has fallen, or maybe a wall
then the cars start rolling by, more & more every year
no shortage of jobs right now, wages low
relative to cost of health insurance, shelter, education
everyone needs money to pay for food & fuel
prices have climbed like crazy
government’s inflation measure sets aside price of food & fuel
I’d like to get up & get going
join the guys at the counter of the cafe
coffee would cut thru the stray thoughts
I’m unlikely to resolve any time soon
I usually eat oatmeal, it’s cheap & healthy
but eggs would be good
hash brown potatoes, sausage, or ham
treats you give a dog when you’re training him to fetch
strikes hurt giant industrial corporations
because the profit is based on continuous production
troops broke up the big railroad & steel strikes
continuous production requires continuous marketing efforts
continuous sales, expanding markets, imperialism
when they talk about recession
they’re talking about a break in continuous production
that profits require
not about how hard it will be for you to buy food & fuel
anyway, there goes the fuel rumbling outside my window
I’m not going to be able to go back to sleep
I was reading, last night, about what happened
to the Indians & Blacks after the Civil War
& how the rights of women, too, were set aside
immigrants from east & southern Europe & China
lived ugly lives, ugly languages, dangerous ideas
there were railroads to be built, national markets, financial deals
new technologies, like now, to be mastered
greed, yes, but also understandable fear of being left with nothing
& Democratic & Republican politicians
trying to build & maintain winning coalitions
some had altruistic goals according to their understanding
but their jobs depended on winning
then continuously being reelected
as the jobs of the drivers of the cars outside my window
depend on continuously showing up for work
more machines more toilet paper more everything
more people born, making efforts, dying
I’ve been continuously making efforts
you’ve been continuously making efforts
so have the Democrats & Republicans
laborers & financiers, teachers & students
mothers, infants, doctors, nurses, engineers & lawyers
& the 70 million members of the Chinese Communist Party
in matching suits
(a nice contract for someone who knows someone)
& the former members of the Russian spy agency
the oil sheikhs, their courtesans & employees
& the members of all the American spy agencies
those who analyze & those who covertly disrupt
& all the soldiers & those who tend
credit & debit card scanners, & package purchases
I remember how I used to think it so terrible
for the best people in Russia & China
their hopes & efforts constantly suppressed & obscured
by the coercions of rigid, narrow-minded commissars
but it’s like that here, now, too
& it’s not just the government
it’s the people continuously making efforts
toward results that are never enough or the intended results
who have no patience for anyone talking about
letting the traffic go by in the morning
& figuring out what else to do
all the profit is in continuous production
the lion’s share of the profit goes to
those with the money to set up
& command & monitor the continuous efforts
I don’t pretend I know what to do
I’m restless because I want to get started
it’s not as tho I can afford to lie around with superior thoughts
what can I make that I can sell to whom, how?
how can I perform?—
for the people in the cars & trucks rumbling outside my window
continuously doing what they’re doing
in Washington, Beijing, & Moscow
in every metropolis & every hinterland
those who believe they have won or are winning
or those who feel that they are living in someone else’s world
all of whose ingenuity is engaged
in overcoming bitterness, fury, the feeling that effort is useless
in making do & being diplomatic
with bullies & insane people in positions of authority
I try to communicate with those like me
restless, but resisting joining the futile & destructive parade
but who know that they must somehow enter commerce
with those who are doing what they resist doing
&, if possible, steer themselves
(maybe help others steering themselves, too?)
toward a different & better outcome.



Previously posted @ Heavy Bear (USA).


Picture: U.S. Dept. of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration


if then else series

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