For the New Cab Driver After His First Shift

Don’t get too excited
when you make a little dough
in the morning
or whenever your shift starts
because before it’s all through
something’s bound to fuck you

the traffic’s gonna fuck you
a train’s gonna fuck you
the dispatch will fuck you
engine trouble will fuck you
something will
don’t worry

go ahead get all up on high hill
when you think you’re ahead 3 hours in
but careful
because something will surely fuck you

a pothole will fuck you
a cop will fuck you
the no-shows will fuck you good
people won’t answer their phones
people won’t know where they are
people will say they will be waiting
but will be gone by the time you get there
people will fuck you
people love to fuck you

if you have a good day don’t give me advice
because tomorrow you’re gonna get fucked
sure as shit
the rain will fuck you
a country road will fuck you
a funeral procession will fuck you
a school bus will fuck you
a crosswalk will fuck you

30 years of experience won’t help you
age won’t help you
youth won’t help you

you’ll have good days
but don’t come dancing around
like a lucky fuck
because tomorrow will fuck you
sure as I’m standing here

I might even fuck you myself

you stupid lucky
god damned green eared mother fucker

The Street Without a Name

I am spit from a dream like gravel
as the streets of my life lay on me
like a clogged cemetery
or a crossword puzzle with
yesterday’s answers.
The city map is a book written by a crazy man
an inch thick
that opens like a bird with a hundred pairs of wings
with lanes like Calle Sin Nombre
and Yoem Bo Oh
where I’ve tried to lose myself
and couldn’t
where the man sells oranges like the Buddha
dubbed by the copper sun
and the Mexican girls toss their obsidian manes
and flash their dazzling,
Aztec eyes
as their peach shoulders peek
from their thin cotton dresses
and their calves flirt in the syllables
of Rome.

I am spit from a dream like gravel
and spill tequila into my coffee
and sit at the window looking out at the dark desert
where I feel strange and not myself
because I am not in my cab
with the comfort of that machine beneath me,
the power of the tremendous equalizer
and the most familiar mirror
of the rearview
where I recognize myself most
and the neat framed world
of the windshield
that makes sense in its crystal limits
despite its cracks and tiny stars
where rocks hit it
from trucks on the highway
and the tiny supernovas
where birds shit on it
from the cyanine blue skies
of Sonora.

I am spit from a dream like gravel
to another dream
where my pain is nothing
not even a blip
in history
and the sex dance rages
across the stars
and the saguaros stand sentinel
and the cholla twitch
in their endless sleep.

237 North Oracle

I picked him up to take him to his first day of school
for Alzheimer’s patients.
He’s got a fresh haircut,
a new blue shirt
and his tan pants are a little
too short.
He’s 59 years old and he looks scared
and innocent,
He clutches his little bag
and he’s got his name on his
Tod Phelps.
I feel sad for him and yet
I like his company,
he doesn’t talk
and just looks out the
After 6 hours at school
I pick him up to take him
home again.
He seems a little happier.
He’s holding 3 big pieces of paper
which he puts in his lap
and all the way home
he keeps looking at
One paper has a picture of a dog
and underneath the dog
it says:
in big child-like handwriting.
On another paper
there is a picture of a tree
and it says:
and on the other paper
there is a mountain and it says:
He looks at each one over
and over again
and moves his lips
saying the words.
When we get close to his house
he says,
“Oh, turn in there, 237
North Oracle,”
which I already know
of course,
but I say,
“Oh, thanks, I almost
missed it.”
He is so proud to remember his address
and his eyes light up
at the familiarity of home
where his 80-year-old mother
waits for him
with a plateful of warm
chocolate chip cookies.

Rush Hour Fatality

We are all
Death’s puppets,
me in my cab and the guy on the motorcycle
and all the talking heads
and stuffed shirts
driving their cars in this
south, north, east, west,
and the guy on the motorcycle is going
too fucking fast, turns
right into a truck that is
crossing Alvernon,
bites it,
100 feet at least and I watch it
a woman on the sidewalk
her mouth open wide as a Frisbee but I can’t
hear her voice
like a ventriloquist in a
and I grip my wheel and try to keep
it together
the only thing I can
the man crumpled on the road
like broken sticks inside his clothes,
the woman on the sidewalk
with Death’s hand up her
and you can’t even see
his lips move.