The Orris: A Cultural Journal

Man v. Car


I don’t know why I’m out here

On worn-down tires and pitted

Chrome, red and yellow sparks

Flying in little comets from

A dirty chain, wheels wobbling

Imperceptibly in slow

Revolutions of knobbed humming,

Shifters skipping from too much use—

Every time the taut tendon

Behind my knee openly

Rebels, left elbow stiff as a

Reed, sweat stinging my eyes,

(Wet angry bees), chain skipping

Off as a metal pedal scratches

Strawberry blood from my calf,

Strain, aggravation, effort.

The cars that pass, stupid and

Resentful at my small intrusion,

Yield the minimum allowance,

Grudgingly slow down and then

Try to regain lost momentum

And thimble of gas lost in

The oblique fracas, move by

In single-file metal herds—

(Don’t look them in the headlights!)

Cars trucks and vans intent

On accuracy and motion,

(Blink in the headlights, you lose),

Delicate balance, two wheels

Becoming grass-caked grindstones,

Leading into briar ditches

Full of chrome and rubber victims,

(Keep to the road, follow the line,

The strip between road and ditch,

Try to forget the indignant sounds

Of slowing-straining-surging engines

Behind, death lighting on wheels,

Mind only the round crumbs of asphalt

Passing beneath black tires in threads

Of white-grey meteorites, (follow them

Like breadcrumbs until the road stops).

-Tim Strange


Illustration by Joel Brown



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