Accident

Thunder comes to earth
when metal shifts against metal
and childhood flashes its inheritance,
swerving vows into curbs.
My breathing stops,
then starts again when
Thyra’s open eyes meet mine.
We survive, forever joined
in this world shrouded in chaos.

The other driver screams his fucking anger
into dusk’s falling face.
Neighborhood men calm him, as two squad cars arrive.

It starts to feel like some sort of Surreality TV,
when out from the darkness,
a tall white haired man rushes the police
delivering F-Bombs,
his chest stuck out, his hands fisted.
He is tazed, and we are dazed.
Thyra, Hopper, and I,
alive on the street
viewing the world through this umbrella
of unreality.

We stand there
watching events unfold as
excuses rub shoulders with lies
that run deeper than light can go.

That evening forms family stories
for all of us
standing on the corner of Fifth and Fourth
when a Stratus sent our Beetle sailing in a circle
through the center of the street
opening up a portal to a strange reality.

Brenda Warren 2012

This accident was the first of two accidents Thyra and I experienced together within 10 days of each other. She was the driver in the second accident, where we were rear-ended in the family van. That accident occurred last Thursday, and had an almost equally bizarre aftermath with the driver and passengers. It feels otherworldly to have experienced two such strange events so closely together. We received a fair price from the insurance company for Gladys, my 2000 Volkswagen Beetle, the one with U ROCK on her license plate. We’ll sink that money into a black Jeep Cherokee. The family van will run until she’s put out to pasture somewhere. Hopper is our beloved family dog.

For readers who aren’t aware, the F-Bomb is the word fuck.  It was overused that night.  I included it in my poem, as it defined both the driver and his father-in-law.  It was his father-in-law who charged the police from out of nowhere.

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21 thoughts on “Accident

  1. Ye gods! I’m not much for swearing but found it really powerful in your poem Brenda. I think anyone who’s been in an accident can totally relate to this. Hope you’re ok and no complications develop with time. It’s great how this bunch of words have become sort of memoir inducing words.

  2. A turning point of stories that will be told and retold. But you have found the words to tell the story perfectly here. I am so glad you are all right. You are all right aren’t you? xoxo teri

  3. An accident takes us to “another world,” of unreality. The mind wanders…it’s a wonder there are not more accidents… must be someone else’s fault… certainly my mind never wanders? It takes awhile to “come down” after an accident.

  4. Wow! That sounds just awful…too often when people are at fault they, instead of simmering down and being humble become well…the exact opposite. How strange indeed. Well written and this stanza really stands out to me:

    “We stand there
    watching events unfold as
    excuses rub shoulders with lies
    that run deeper than light can go.”

    Especially the last line..profound.

  5. Scary stuff – and two in such short order – it’s amazing what people in extreme situations will allow to come out of their mouths … or maybe they can’t help themselves? I have trouble believing that … So glad you are both alright (and Hopper too- animals feel trauma as much or worse than we do, I think …) You did a great job of wordling the incidents – took me right there and took my breath away … well done indeed. I’m glad you’ll keep driving – it’s idealistic to think you might have an alternative but really, most of us don’t …

    http://leapinelephants.blogspot.ca/2012/10/to-become-light.html

  6. There’s something about the line “when a Stratus sent our Beetle sailing in a circle” I just love! Maybe it’s the way it rolls off the tongue when spoken aloud. …a great re-telling wordle-style!!

  7. First of all, Brenda, I am so glad you are doing well after that. Good grief, two accidents in ten days. You wrote about this experience with a lot of strength, like Viv, I forgot it was a wordle. So sad, for the beetle, that was the first car I owned and I still miss it.

    Pamela

  8. Whoa. That close together? That is strange.

    I love the line, “excuses rub shoulders with lies” They are close, aren’t they?

  9. Just returned home from a family wedding in Wisconsin, 300 miles round trip, in the rain and fog. It was a fun time but a LONG drive. I hope to write a wordle poem tonight.

    There is so much rage in people who are behind the wheel. Incredible that the use of f**k defined these strangers. You’ve done an excellent job of telling us the story. Your opening line is spectacular:
    “Thunder comes to earth
    when metal shifts against metal
    and childhood flashes its inheritance,
    swerving vows into curbs.”

  10. I was really caught up in your poem, Brenda. I think one has to use the ‘language’ to give the reader the feel of the situation. How awful to be in two accidents in such a short time, with the same person in the car with you both times. I am glad that you escaped injuries; but sad about the VW Beetle. I do get attached to cars.

  11. You’ve reminded me of two accidents. One in which I was knocked out and had my teeth rearranged by my siblings head…We are fine now, as that was long ago, but I never did get braces. And the second one I missed. A car was swerving…I wasn’t driving – I would almost like to think I willed that wobbling car out of the way…and yet only for a few moments as it did end up hitting another vehicle. As my friend was driving us to dinner…after hearing the crash tried to go back to help…but by then other help had arrived. And we were directed out of the way.

    Thankfully you and yours are OK. It is amazing how easily ‘language is transformed into ugly banter’ especially when in an accident. Hope you can get that mountain retreat get away sometime soon. Thanks for your visit. Calm…calm…calm…remember to breath.

  12. Phew! I am so happy that you all survived intact, albeit with written off Beetle and damaged van. You wrote about it so freely and well that I forgot it was a wordle! I’m not surprised the early words didn’t materialise after all that!

  13. Phew! … Driving is becoming such a scary thing these days. Each driver seems to think they personally own the road. I quit driving in the UK for the road rage that was developing. People were being dragged from cars and beaten to death for being too slow to move away from traffic lights, or driving too slowly or cutting other drivers up. That you saw two accidents in such a short space of time is unusual, sad that you were a part of one of them but, glad no-one was hurt and insurance covered it. Cars seem to have become an extension of our ‘space’ and it is all becoming very, very scary now with so many people seemingly mentally unstable too.
    Gripping read Brenda.

    • We were in both accidents, Bren. It is quite scary to be out there. I’d like to ride the city bus, but it doesn’t start early enough for morning person me. I like time in my classroom each morning before the students arrive. The city bus would give me about 15 minutes. I’ll keep driving. :(

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