So, this is a poem with the framework “car as sanitarium.” I spend a lot of time in my car and, even though I didn’t own one for a decade, a heavy amount of my thinking and processing of feelings has taken place in cars; on drives or just parked somewhere. It’s like a therapist’s office in many ways, namely that it’s kind of a sanctum and kind of a prison that you are trapped in for a given amount of time, haha; so I sat down and gave myself an hour to write this and treated like a trip to the shrink (something I haven’t been able to afford the last few years) and I think it did me a little good. Shoutout to everyone who catches the references. Here it is with the handwritten draft.


Check in,
   an agitated ignition;
     turn key, buckle straight jacket,
       feel your cells commit to the cell–
              know this padded room

Obsess over how it moves;
  pendulum of reverence, serpentining through mood
             shifts of pressured speech
           to a projection slightly forward
                       (or reversed)

A voluntary prison
      an engine like mine: running on somatic symptoms

I take meals comforted
  by airbag in unbroken wheel,
      pills in center console
        me, lit by a dome light–

Paranoid Radioator diagnosis;
   Disorder in the tape deck;
  sick with Soundtrack Syndrome,
      maneuvering into parking lots like missed appointments

Cruise along the borderline and
   find Personality hitchhiking in your glove compartment
                   (or maybe in your sunglasses)

Idle there, with the green,
       with the red, or
  follow compulsion to change lanes

Maintain mixed states–
       be Quiet Carburetor
       invent Catatonic Converter
       drive the environment on the way home

Sit, anxious, patient, pilot;
  nursed in the corner by other carbon-fueled motorists

Relax; rest your head

Whether or not Morning admits itself,
       there are still miles to go