How can a poem concerning Haworth, England, Yorkshire be about driving taxi in Seattle? The answer is simple because if I hadn't been driving a cab, hadn't been depressed and in a general "quite-out-of-it" state of mind, not for a moment would I have found myself walking in Haworth with the woman I reference in the poem. The poem is also inspired by something cabbies are always doing: reading the newspaper while waiting for the next call, two Sundays ago a travel article in the SeattleTimes featured Haworth and the Bronte sisters, taking me back to England and July 2001.
Many things from that era remain memorable and true, including the sad fact that if she hadn't been completely nuts I would now have a teenage daughter or son to be complaining about. And as implied, if I too hadn't been nuts I wouldn't have allowed myself to be pursued by a waitress working at a 24 hour restaurant where "steak and eggs, rye toast" was my usual order, eating out late and avoiding inappropriate relationships of various kinds inherent to the known taxi experience. Such is taxi as I knew it then and know it now, not much changing other than Uber continues to bedevil us, making taxi harder than I want it to be.
What was I doing? I didn't know what I was doing
but there I was, walking down the street with you in
Nothing you now did or say was surprising because
you stopped making sense from our very beginning
but that not dissuading me from avoiding the obvious,
not acknowledging what was evidently clear:
just how troubled you were.
Now over a year later walking down lovely Yorkshire
lanes you tell me once you were one of the Bronte sisters,
which one I can't remember but whether it was Charlotte,
Emily or Anne truly not mattering
given the woman walking beside me has completely
failed knowing herself, and not so surprisingly,
not recognizing the man walking next to her,
someone suddenly a stranger and totally unknown,
puzzling her to just why he was holding her hand?