Monday, October 1, 2012

Driving the Get-away Car
















I like this Juan Bernal fellow, the man with the plan. I like his ... panache. In the end he was, in so many ways that matter, driving his own "get-away car."

Dedicated to Juan Bernal, died September 9, 2001, at age 41

I write a letter for my client today.
I sit with him on the deck
of the skilled nursing facility.
He eats breakfast, smokes cigarettes.
He wants me to write to his baby brother
                                  in jail doing time.
He dictates: "I love you
I need a thousand dollars
I will drive the get-away car."
He has these plans
he needs to convey—tells me
his little brother will tote the gun.

He dictates: "The doctor told me today
I am dying, but he doesn't know
how long it will take.
"

It is doubtful he will be able to drive
the get-away car when his legs are paralyzed
and two people have to transfer him
from his bed to his wheelchair and back.
He has a direct line morphine drip
he presses every ten minutes.

It is doubtful he will make it
home again, but he wants to go home.
He drifts in and out of sleep, nodding-out
his thoughts stop in mid-sentence,
he loses track of his message to his brother.

He asks if they'll read the letter.
The jail will, I say. He edits out the question
about whether his brother killed someone.
He thinks he did. I suggest he
take out the part about robbing a bank
but he doesn't. He thinks it's a good plan.

~ Julene Tripp Weaver





Ms. Weaver is an American poet living in Seattle where she works in HIV/AIDS services. She believes, as do I, "Time is more valuable than money."

Photograph by Jeff Barron, Moab, Utah.

31 comments:

  1. Time IS more valuable than money... but, in the end, we will all be in the last place that we allowed a decision to be made (for us). Unless we choose to leave on our own.
    It's too late for this man. How sad... although he does have a plan.
    I hope that I get to drive my own "getaway car."
    Good post with something to think about.

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    1. It's that allowing "a decision to be made for us," that I'm having trouble with. I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm rather fond of making my own decisions. :)

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  2. Lo scatto è veramente intrigante, ciao

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    1. The questions of life and death are very intriguing, indeed. Thank you, Simo!

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  3. This is the second post I have read in the last hour with a connection to Moab, Utah. Both are deep and thoughtful. I think I am getting some sort of lesson today.

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    1. That sounds like a message, dear lady. :)

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  4. I like the gentle, non-judgmental tone of this, and the optimism of having a plan in dire circumstances.

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    1. and I like the way you describe your reaction. Very nice. Thanks, Nancy.

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  5. A provocative post, Teresa. That we all would be able to drive our own "get away car" of life. Thank you.

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    1. I'm hoping either that or an awfully good driver who knows me well....

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  6. So young! And in such dire circumstances, I'd want a getaway car, too.

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    1. Yeah, me, too. Everyone should have the right to drive their own get-away car.

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  7. But when you're old and dying, and they have taken away your car keys--sure, they told you they would drive you wherever you want to go...

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    1. That's where a "good driver who knows me well" would come in very handy. :)

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  8. Who knows, maybe this was really used a s a get away car in its hey days....

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  9. I'd better start training my driver so they take me to the right place.

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  10. I think we are more humane to our animals than we are to our human kind. We allow our animals not to suffer but when a person wants to go, wants to have someone drive the get-away car for him, it is frowned upon. I think I took this poem in the right way. Wonderful, provocative post Teresa.

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    1. That, and the entire funeral industry should be ashamed. We all deserve better.

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    2. And by better, I mean simpler. But that's just me.

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  11. When we get old I think we all want to drive the getaway car. What a terrific metaphor. Thanks.

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    1. To go out on our own terms is a good thing, methinks.

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  12. Who needs money if one doesn't have time.

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    1. I think it's a question of value. On what do we place true value?

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  13. Hi Teresa,

    You know that a poem is good when you find yourself reading it several times. I really liked this one.

    Time is more valuable than money, but it's easy to forget that while we are living life -- especially if times are hard financially.

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    1. You're absolutely right, Ray, as is Linda. We're living in times when people have too much time perhaps and not nearly enough money to make ends meet, which can make the time seem torturous in its implications. It's how we fill that time that matters most and how we learn to live lives of greater simplicity. We've been indoctrinated into believing we need much more than we actually do.

      Thanks for commenting, Ray.

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  14. I am so grateful that you share these gems with us. Thank you for doing so =)

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    1. Morning, t. Hope your day is a beautiful one.

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  15. Dear Teresa, thank you for introducing me to another fine poet, which is obvious from her poem you shared. I agree with you that the man with the plan--note that rhyme!--had his own "get-away plan." And may we all develop our own! Peace.

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    1. Dee, Yes, I just love this poem. I so appreciate the idea of formulating and being able to put into action our own plan.

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