We go so fast

What are we paying for?
There is traffic that halves
a man’s life,
that puts a boy in a vise.
There is convenience,
convenience stores of
storied convenience,
inconvenient continental breakfasts
in the lobbies of multi-storied antiseptic hotels.
Expensive motels.
Are we paying for the malls?
Those castles I never enter.
Are we paying for the highways?
That speed us toward the unnecessary,
or at least the nearest
gas station.
I would forfeit them.
I would roll the freeways up
like carpets,
and bury every road sign
in an unmarked grave.

A man on a bicycle kicks
over signs
to an open house
just over there…
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Every one along the avenue.

Are we paying for the mattress stores?
Are we paying for the car dealerships?
Are we paying
and interest
for these hills like white elephants?

Are we paying for fast food
at every block?
Who gave these things to us?

I can only say
I see Einstein
on the back of a green chair.

Are we paying
for the office buildings
that sit unoccupied?
Or incomplete?
A block’s worth
of gray Swiss cheese
cultured in the sun.
Are we paying for the steel beams
that hold up their heavy backs?
For the concrete that
shuts them off from the world.

Stay a while and listen.

Are we paying for these houses?
Graveyards have more life in them.

Slick city streets seek revenge
for our evils.
We who once laid down the roads
will be laid into our graves by them.

For what are the streets
but the culmination of our travels?
When we may fly a thousand miles
and yet find ourselves home?
We may scream down freeways
and busy boulevards
under overpasses
and over bridges formed like stony
interlaced and arched hands
and see nothing.

Are we living to hurtle ourselves
toward death?

We may drive to escape and to forget,
but the roads are clovers,
curves that inevitably resend us
to the center.

Are we living to die
beneath a metal door,
under the feet of trembling others
looking for a deal to validate
their day?

The cities have killed more than they’ve ever saved.

About allisunknown

26 year-old student, tutor, and writer. Write for http://www.spectrumculture.com. Also nascent pedestrian advocate. Twitter handles: twitter.com/joeclinkenbeard twitter.com/PedInPDX
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