Commuter Buddhist

by Jeffrey Harrison

Feature image: Alfred Stieglitz. Car 2F-77-77, 1935. The Art Institute of Chicago.

I’m learning to be a Buddhist in my car,
listening to a book on tape. One problem
is that, before I’ve gotten very far,

my mind gradually becomes aware
that it has stopped listening, straying from
the task of becoming a Buddhist in my car.

I’m also worried that listening will impair
my driving, as the package label cautions,
but I haven’t noticed that, at least so far.

In fact, I may be driving with more care.
There’s a sensation of attentive calm
that’s part of becoming a Buddhist in your car.

A soothing voice drones on until the car
is transformed into a capsule of wisdom
traveling at high speed, and you feel far

from anywhere but where you really are . . .
which is nowhere, really. The biggest problem
is getting the Buddhism out of your car
and into your life. I’ve failed at that so far.


Jeffrey Harrison is the author of six full-length books of poetry, including, most recently, Between Lakes, which was published by Four Way Books in 2020, and Into Daylight, which won the Dorset Prize and was published by Tupelo Press in 2014. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, among other honors. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and journals, as well as in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize volumes, and other anthologies.

http://www.jeffreyharrisonpoet.com

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