Down the 210: A poem

Illustration of a car speeding down a freeway at night, with the moon in the background
Elaine Chung/Staff

Driving down the 210 tastes bittersweet when the moon takes the stage,

and the stars are floating, hanging on invisible strings like puppets,

peppering the dark universe with false semblance of light and hope.

 

One foot on the gas, the other on the ground.

One eye on the road, the other on the rearview mirror.

 

So runs the world away from you,

and it does not say goodbye.  

 

Your rambling heart says it cannot stay quiet the way it always has.

Your rambling heart says it will pick the lock on its blood cage of veins,

and the prison break will go down in the depths of history book pages.

 

One hand on the wheel, the other on the past.

One hand on your heart, the other on your grave.

 

So runs the world away from you,

and it does not say goodbye.

 

Driving down the 210 gives you wings if you play your cards right;

it gives you the freedom of pretending to escape those inland landscapes.

 

The worst sort of torture in our universe is growing up near an ocean,

but never being able to see it, never being able to touch it,

never being able to drift to your own desperate semblance of a New World,

and never being able to keep the runaway culprit in your cold grasp.

 

The speed limit signs are reminders, bloodshot and screaming stand still.

They do not understand you never learned how to do that back in grade school,

and you’re still learning how to sing soliloquies instead of forcing monologues.

 

You want the world to know why you are yelling,

why you speak nonsense to the world and nothing to yourself.

 

This is the only route you know:

The route holding you back.

 

So runs the world away from you,

and it does not say goodbye.

 

You never got it into your head that there can be anything other than this,

that there can be anything besides this moment and what will come of it:

Endless persistence and tireless nights and driving down the 210 at 2 a.m.

 

You never got it into your head that you deserve something, anything,

a form of compensation for the reckless restlessness living in your head,

the reckless restlessness that keeps you driving forever and still pays no rent.

 

It perches on the corner of your heart,

The unspoken age-old adage:

Who will save the hero?

 

So you run away from the world,

and you do not say goodbye.

Contact Alex Jiménez at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @alexluceli.

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