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     “The Commute”
 
He got up late for work
again
he got into his car
started it
and as his engine and radio
both came to life
he sat there,
left arm stretched out
hand on the steering wheel
right hand on the
automatic shift selector,
he presses in the
little button with his thumb
releasing the locked knob
and drops it in to reverse
the car gives a little bit
of a jerk
trying to fight the brakes
for control
wanting to back out
and join the other cars
doing the things that cars do
but that was as far as he got
he wasn’t sure how long
he had sat their
his mind being bombarded
by unusually deep thoughts
for someone like him
this early in the morning
he kept his right foot
on the brake
as he started to play with
the tuning knob on the radio
running it up and down the dial
looking for a station
that actually played music
not some tag team of DJ’s
that everything they spewed out
was neither funny, important or
relevant to anything people
really cared about
he finally came across
some small market radio station
that was playing a lot of
forgotten songs
or at least that he had forgotten
or maybe just never heard
he listened for over an hour
before releasing the pressure
off the brake
carefully looking over his shoulder
as he backs out of his driveway
on to his quite suburban lane
he navigates the little lanes
as they start branching into roads
then finally connecting to the expressways,
he was coming up
on his freeway on ramp
when this song which
seemed like it was played
just for him
filled the car’s interior
he turned his head
and blankly looked at his on ramp
as he drove by it
totally engrossed in his song
going over the freeways
and towards the smaller roads
on the other side
his thoughts temporally shielded
by the lost music at hand
for the first time in months
his head is clear
his problems and burdens
that are usually stacked up
like planes at a busy airport
are quite.
For some reason
right now
everything makes sense,
his job doesn’t really suck,
he’s just not looking at it
in the right perspective
his girl that has been gone
for over two months now,
visions through the music show how
this will turn out to be a good thing
each song bringing him more answers
he just keeps driving up and down
the slow moving surface streets
taking in all this new information,
for once in his life
so many of his questions
are being answered
all the things he needs to do
are so simple
right there in front of him
he can firmly get a handle
on the troubles in his life
“A road map” he says out loud
as he turns on to a deserted lane
his confidence and pride
running at 110 percent,
he comes up to a stoplight
amused at first
at it being in the middle of
this street with no name
he notices none of the streets
have names
he grabs a piece of paper
and a pen
as he sits at the red light
wanting to write down
all these answers to questions
that have been haunting him,
he looks up
the light is still red
the vividness of its color
captives him
he has never seen
such an intense red color
in a stop light before
he goes back to the paper
writes down a question
“Why my job doesn’t suck”
Then tries to write down the answer
That minutes ago
was right before him
he grasped for that thought
but to no avail
he looks up
the light is still red
but the color is not as sharp
the music has gone from enchanting
to an over played pop song,
he skips down and
writes his second question
“How his girl leaving him”
“Will be a blessing in disguise”
he starts to write down his answer
but can’t seem to concentrate
that pop song is reverberating
back and forth through his mind
and that light is still red
“Screw this” he says
as he slams down hard
on the accelerator pedal
running the red light
and just as he enters
the intersection
his eyes catch the front grill
of a garbage truck
right before impact.
He opens his eyes
his clock radio blaring out
some over played
Taylor Swift song
the bright red LED
projecting 5:15am
through the lens of his eyes
and straight in to his head
he sits up on his bed
he can feel life’s worries
start to fill up
his empty thoughts
he has to push himself
to stand up and get ready
for another day
at a job that really sucks
he finds himself
getting into his car
zero drive and care
emanating from his body
no desire at all
to go out and face the day
he turns the engine over
and just sits their
counting in his head
how many sick days
he has used so far
he double checks his numbers
unhappy with the outcome
of his first calculations
but the figures don’t lie
he is going to have to go
to work today
needing some sort of inspiration
he clicks on the radio
and hits the station search button
and as the tuner picks up
some random unknown station
with the first song
slowly filtering through him
he is struck
with a sense of awe
immersed in a complete feeling
of total déjà vu.
He is not sure why,
nothing has really changed
but he just feels much more
ready to face the day
and as he drives towards work
every mile seems pre-lived
his path predetermined
it’s only when he takes a right
and turns on to
the freeway on ramp
that the déjà vu spell
is broken
and the road
is once again his own
but he just can’t seem
to shake
this nagging feeling
that he should have gone
straight
right past the on ramp
just once
for a change…
 
     Tom Allen…07-29-2017…
 
 
 


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`The Commute`