Friday Poem: Dominion by Tim Jones

Tim Jones explores the power of cars through poetry…

 

 

Dominion

by Tim Jones

 

Take the temperature of the nation from a motorway overbridge,

around half five. Long delays, short spurts of action, a city

detumescing in the pulse of tail lights, fumes aspiring

to join the potent chokehold of the skies. The crepuscular demon

is in his pomp, his domain the disappearing light, the growing queue.

 

This is drivetime country. There is no such thing

as society; it has been atomised into steering wheel and dashboard,

collision avoidance system, crumple zone. Under electronic braking

you nudge forward, seeking the security of bumper to bumper,

the certainty that no other driver can push in front of you.

 

To reach home demands a long unspooling, off-ramp from motorway,

side street from main, the final turn into your Grange or Close

or Drive, its name marking a minor hero of the Napoleonic Wars

or the twelfth longest river in Scotland. Then letterbox, familiar

lights marking the boundary between driveway and rock garden,

 

stertorous garage-door rattle disturbing the winter stillness.

With children on devices, partner engrossed in Dancing with the Stars,

you tiptoe down the forking paths of evening, ask existential questions

of microwave and toaster, hide your head in bath and book and game,

three times deny the clock’s pitiless countdown to tomorrow.

 

Later, in bed, your partner’s soft breathing. Descending aircraft, wind

fingering your weatherboards for weakness. Outside, unheard

beneath the northerly, the car still cools, ticking down

the too-short hours till early rising, hurried breakfast, pale

tribute of your headlights to the newly risen sun.

 

 

From Tim Jones’s latest poetry collection New Sea Land (Mākaro Press, 2016): https://makaropress.co.nz/submarine-books-2/new-sea-land-by-tim-jones/

 

Image credit

Evgeni Tcher, goraydar.com

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