Friday, May 15, 2009

My cabbies

The forthcoming issue of Yellow Medicine Review will be featuring three of my poems based generally on the theme of education, including one about my international cab drivers--they're immigrant men about 99% of the time--and we share fascinating conversations as they drive me to my destination. As we all know, "it's the journey, not the..." I learn so much from these men, as they are often well-educated with colorful histories which are encapsulated in six minutes (or so) of time talking together. I often--especially in the past three months--begin to feel a particular kinship with these men, as if these drivers are long-lost brothers who need to hurriedly catch me up on the lives they've been living.

In some cases, I have tracked their journeys, before even knowing them personally: A Nepali driver seemed to appreciate that I exhibited more than a passing awareness of the current political situation in Nepal. And, when my driver this past Wednesday told me that he'd been born in Cuba and hoped to travel there someday--his parents were from Sudan--I put two and two together and realized that this young man was of "diplomat family stock". He confirmed what I'd thought, telling me that his parents were only briefly based in Cuba, and thereafter returned to Sudan where this man was raised. He told me that he could not now return to Sudan, for he is a "wanted man" and I chimed in, "like one of those 'Lost Boys' of Sudan", to which he smiled--not every Fort Worthian is gonna have a clue, after all--and nodded, "yes I am like them."

There are many "lost boys" wandering our streets as taxicab drivers in the night. I hope that they at least occasionally meet other passengers who care to hear their stories and arrive, full stop, at heartening and enlightening conclusions together.

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