matt pond PA

October 6, 2016

The New Nun.


A plea for decency ascends in the purple-gray curtains of an early morning firmament. Smoky dew tangling with laconic leaves, hangers on, holdovers from a hot summer of abandoned baseball diamonds, of frowzy brown lawns, of street lights blinking alone in the murkiness, waiting for one lonely windshield to wink back below.

The first drivers head out into the world. Over the white-noise rumble of wheels on pavement, I shout from the ramparts of my solitary stronghold: “Stay true to the two-second rule!”

A cursed caw of a telephone-pole crow, trains from midtown moan for more caffeine, pleading with the sun’s shy lip to emerge, to roll out of bed and clarify all those underscores that lead us down the road.

There was a time when rules were meant to be broken. I burned bright in those years, peeling out at every stop sign, weaving through bumper-to-bumper traffic. (Relieved, I can finally remove my mask: I was that jagoff.)

But in my woolgathering mind, I was the greatest getaway driver, fluttering cash aloft over the dash, the engine and me humming the same damn Guns N’ Roses songs.

Both Mazda and Dodge totaled at excessive speeds, one dipping into a ditch and the other hugging a displeased pine tree.

The age of vans brought me a little closer to reality with gravity’s weight and unwieldiness. But I still kept my stunt dreams alive in the back of my brains, knee-steering and radio scanning. Chewing on a strip of gum, indifferent to the precarious equations I was constantly creating.

Ahem. I have left that state of mind to become a vehicular nun. Curses replaced with prayers. Rules instead of unruliness. A thumb’s-up and heartfelt grin have been swapped for every other profane digital profanity, every threatening rev-flex-swerve.

The two-second rule. The sacred left lane. The almighty indicator. These three buried cornerstones of automobile operation are paramount to a whirling whorl of metal and speed. Can I get a heck yes?

Beyond that, I believe it’s simple. Behind every other turning wheel is another human being. Someone worth exactly the same salt as myself. Or at least until Google tells us different.

Ok, maybe it’s not all sweet wine and am radio, rocking chairs with ripped wicker backs and the gentle droning murmur of evening vespers. Maybe sometimes round midnight the habit leaves the head, guitars are hung upon expectant shoulders, amplifiers unleashed.

The bed is a stage, the horse lamp a strobe. Where heads do bang and whiskey will pour.