Monday, 10 September 2018

Detours to Atlantic Avenue

Posted by Cliff Fyman

In which the night-time driver of a Manhattan cab transforms overheard conversations with his passengers into a collection of poems ...


When she first spotted my cab I had been starting to park on a snowy side street
          at 2 a.m. to buy a cup of coffee
and she surprised me opening the door
and said I could still buy that coffee
she’d wait but I said that’s okay
and we mapped a course to Gowanus
then skimmed across a conversation of the world’s religions
and how her parents down south wanted her to remain a Baptist but she wanted
          to explore Buddhism
as the snow fell and how a bad thing sometimes is a detour that helps us escape
          something worse
till we find our way
which was just like this detour
she said through the side streets till we came into the clear at Atlantic Avenue.

4 comments:

Tessa den Uyl said...

Dear Cliff,
Thank you for this poem.

To me it seems to have a very female aspect to it which is not that common for male writers. (This is a compliment!)

'Till we find our way' ... I wonder if that way is like an eternal detour?

Thomas Scarborough said...

This prose blends two themes so smoothly that one hardly notices it. A useful reminder that many things in life, while provisional, have an important place. Intriguing art work.

Martin Cohen said...

I've read it several times, and it really grows on you! Is there something special about the blending of the random with the selected - the intuitive?

Thanks, Cliff.

Keith said...

I too enjoyed the poem, Cliff, the more often I reread it — my discovering some new nuance each time. I particularly like the ‘but-what-if’ nature of the poem, and the uncertainty of tracing life’s (best) path: Might a detour not ‘help us escape something worse’, but unforeseen steer us away from something better? Might we sometimes ‘come into the clear’ despite detours, not because of them?

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