“Steady on the Wheel” Poetry by John Tustin

Out there on the parkway
with the subnormals.
That Mercedes behind me
will pass me at ninety
and zoom in front of me.
Here he comes.
There he goes.
I can read the future
maneuvers of cars
like a fortune teller
reads a face.
My brain flaming out
on the Cross Island Parkway.

My desires shrinking.
My life in disarray.
My sanity in doubt.
I need a dozen drinks
and a bed 
and alone.
I get none of it.
It takes my all
to steady my hands 
on the wheel.
One bad moment
and I’m gone.

It takes my all
to steady my hands.
Stuttering heart,
jack hammered head.
Hands shaking,
but, yes,
still steady.
I could easily wipe out
on that curve,
slide the rain-slicked road
into smoky oblivion
or 
fall to pieces on the trees.
But I drive on,
bug-eyed.
Trembling,
but steady.

The weight of the world
on my shoulders,
straining my back.
Life is a bullet
that approaches my head
but never arrives.
Just threatens.
My hands steady
on the wheel.
But slipping.

I get to where I’m supposed to,
but don’t want to,
be.
I sigh,
put away my toys,
bring out my tools,
grit my teeth,
squint as the sun mocks me,
open the door,
and submit to my downfall.

Steady on the wheel,
driving
to oblivion.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.


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