poem - Kick the Can

June 2011, the car died. Panic and it's best friend Terror tore through me like raging bulls in a china shop. "You can't live in LA without a car!" They say. I heard Their fearful, "public transportation is dirty and scary!" And I know I heard, "it's just unreliable," more times than the total number of minutes actually spent waiting for the bus/train.
Well, we'll just see about that.
Six years later, living in Los Angeles purposefully car-free has completely transformed me. Where I once felt overwhelmed, isolated and stuck I now feel a powerful sense of belonging, of ownership. With the aid of our wonderful technology and ever improving apps like Google Maps, it is just so easy to navigate through this city. 

"Ugh, but it takes forever to get anywhere," They whine. Inside I smile as I say, "Welcome to Los Angeles." Traffic is a part of life out here. And then there's parking. A favorite description of L.A. came from a professor at USC who said, "There are two things you'll come to know about Los Angeles: parking and disappointment." Ha.

Another benefit is the freedom and peace from planning ahead, arriving early, and bringing my latest book and journal to ponder and plan. That old habit of waiting until the very last second to leave is a thing of the past - now I schedule in that extra time and enjoy the extra breathing room.

In a surreal way, in all this walking, my life began. Until I stepped out from the life of car-bubble-isolationism, my daily living consisted of familiar, comfortable, pampered pangs. Thinking of buying and using a car again on a daily basis, I mentally gasp for the freshness of life - not only without the hassle and expense - but with the beautiful realization that my resolute will compels me, my body accommodates, and I am transported to new places. 

From these musings came this poem: 

On the EXPO train into DTLA, I took this photograph around the time the poem emerged. 

On the EXPO train into DTLA, I took this photograph around the time the poem emerged. 

Kick the Can
Abandon the poly-aluminum can-on-wheels
and get you onto the roads
Connect with the earth
Use your feet to speak
Gather momentum, strength from within
Without the cage in isolation
Hear the swish of wind pass your own chilled ears
Stretch to share the sun's warm rays
Skip. A Heart beat
-ing in slowly accelerating rhythm
Eyes dance with passers-by
Amble among your people; 
Savor fleeting seconds

~ MB, April 2016


Monika BealComment