The Heart of the Matter
July 27, 2013
Cruising with Rumi


On a bone cold February afternoon,
23 miles from home,
in a car I leased three months ago,
sky outside turning the color
of old men's teeth,
I listen to Rumi, 800 years gone
from praising everything that breathed,
my heart racing with him
through towns with no name,
everyone love drunk and laughing.

Lights are flashing everywhere,
especially behind me,
not white
like those that lit up Rumi's eyes,
no, more like red,
the kind that signal stop
and oops
and maybe I should slow down and pull over.

Rumi, on the 5 CD changer,
is unconcerned,
his monologue of love making perfect
sense, as I,
poised, tribal, and whole,
anticipate a large man of the law approaching,
and reach for my license,
not the poetic kind I prefer,
but the other one,
the one with the photo
no one will ever show their mother,
even as the uniformed man
standing tall by my door
beckons me slowly to roll down my window
and announces, like a small town accountant
wishing he was home for lunch with his wife,
my speed,
which was 20 over the limit,
Rumi still holding forth
beneath an ancient Persian moon.

He had kind eyes, my sudden companion
in his well-pressed uniform,
kind eyes and a smile that spoke of long winters
keeping roads safe for travelers like me
who, somehow, must have missed the sign
about a mile back,
veiled, as it was, by that old willow tree
and the last few rays of light
finding their way past the steepest hill in town,
the one where all the kids go sledding,
eyes on fire,
kids, as far as I can tell,
who have never heard of Rumi,
the officer of the law,
or me.

(This poem, by the way, cost me $150).

Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 27, 2013 11:19 PM



Posted by: j bhutu-ji [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2012 12:05 PM

'the color of old men's teeth'....??...yikes.. was it worth $150???? would you do something differently next time....?

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2012 02:52 PM

SF Jim: Was it worth $150? Well, that depends on how rich I am feeling at any given moment. Tonight, I am paying bills and I'd prefer to have the money than the poem. But yesterday, I preferred to have the poem than the money. It happened. I made the best out of it. Would I do something differently next time? Yes. I'd pay more attention to the speed limit sign and NOT get a ticket. There's probably a poem in that, too, but I actually like the Cruising With Rumi poem a lot -- so, yes, it was worth it.

Posted by: Mitch Ditkoff [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2012 11:35 PM

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