Greenpoint, October, 2015

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breakdowns and Line Breaks

I have yet to have my first breakdown or accident on the BQE. When I do, I hope I can learn from Brecht's narrator in "Changing the Wheel" (tr. Michael Hamburger):

I sit by the roadside
The driver changes the wheel.
I do not like the place I come from.
I do not like the place I am gong to.
Why with impatience do I
Watch him changing the wheel?

I never broke down with Brecht, but I did with another poet, Juan Saez Burgos. My girlfriend and I were visiting Juan and Diana in Puerto Rico many years ago. We had had a great day driving out along the coast and then up into the mountains in the middle of the island. Coming back to San Juan on a fast-moving, poorly lit highway, the car broke down. Juan managed to flag down a tow truck (no cell phones in those days). Diana and Diana and Juan's four-year old son rode in the cab with the driver. Juan, Susan, and I sat in the back seat of the car being towed, leaning back (no choice there) and laughing about the absurdity if not danger of the situation. Here’s one of Juan’s very short poems. He died in 2006:


Those incidents between I don't know and death.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful.

    My only experience with a breakdown on the BQE was in the Yaris! Soon after entering (at the Tillary entrance heading towards Queens), I realized a tire had gone flat. I made it to McGuiness Boulevard and pulled off. Not very poetic unless you consider the tire did get repaired by a soon-to-be famous blogger who writes about the BQE.