The drivers on New York arteries are blooded
by the necessity of cut and thrust, but holding
our ground is something we know how to do.
We rant in unison at those that fail to read
the signs. You shun your horn, unlike some,
who play the two-tone shuffle through the toll.
We get the lone finger, the mimed arse-hole
from New Jersey plates, he reads windscreens,
faces, he sees our future in a muscle twitch.
Don’t they understand what bloody yield means?
No answer is required but it settles on the car
with the puddle dirt, the billboard shadows.
I keep trying to master the art of the verb,
how to read it, the road behind us and ahead.
“I specifically chose ‘Yield’ to bridge the first 41 poems in A Season of Small Insanities and the final 17 poems which form the ‘Marrying Richard Harris’ sequence about the fatal accident caused by a drunk driver I was involved in that led to the death of my partner and the subsequent premature birth and death of my twin sons.
‘Yield’ grew out of a road trip I took on the East coast of America with a very old friend. It was triggered by an incident at a toll to get into New York over the river. This poem for me resonates with the final poem in the collection, ‘Crossing’, which is also a sonnet. I find the sonnet in all its forms a wonderful small casket in which to place heightened emotion of any kind as it drives you to exercise a tight discipline, just fourteen lines to say what you want to say. ‘Crossing’ refers to a bridge, a passing over and through something, grief and loss, and ‘Yield’ takes a side long look at what you need to give in to and what you feel cannot be yielded.”
‘Yield’ is published in A Season of Small Insanities (Salt Publishing, 2009).
Read about Andrea and A Season of Small Insanities here.
Read more poems from Andrea’s collection here.
Visit Andrea’s blog, We Liked It but not Quite Enough.
You are invited to the launch of A Season of Small Insanities on
4 June 2009 at The Maypole Pub, Portugal Place, Cambridge, from19h30 to 22h00. The Maypole Pub is next to the Park Street multi storey car park behind the Round Church in central Cambridge.
Help Andrea celebrate, listen to her and other great poets read and generally enjoy yourself.