This is a poem that represents a defining moment. Once it was clear to me that traveling to New York on a regular basis was part of my future, I purchased a car that was up to the task. My 1995 Dodge Intrepid and I became fast friends, and he was a tireless chariot that carried me there each month. You can read more in depth info about the numerous trips and the history of the Bat-Taxi in another blog post on this site entitled “Eulogy for a Friend.”
I would finish the 12-8 shift on Friday morning, which began my one weekend off a month. I would grab a nap until that afternoon, have dinner with my son, get myself packed, and generally be on the road by 10 or 11pm. The overnight drive had the advantage of light traffic, and I could usually make it to Staten Island by 6am.
The poem mentions the “Arch of Triumph” and the “bridge marking lights” which were indicators that I had once again reached my destination. Anyone who has traveled north on the Jersey Turnpike at night has probably seen the lights that outline the Goethals Bridge as you reach exit 13. Seeing those lights in the distance was akin to a finish line at the end of the home stretch, and after leaving the speed of the turnpike, the actual crossing of the bridge with its lacework of steel girders was a welcoming sight.
As our relationship grew, Trish would ask me about what it meant to be a car guy. I suppose it was an effort to get to know me better, and since she was already enjoying the poetry, she encouraged me to write about it. This poem represents my first effort to capture in words the mythical relationship of man and his machine. It also showcases how strong emotional forces motivate us to use those machines for a higher purpose.
The distance between us at that time could have been a deal-breaker for many other people, but a love-struck car guy races ahead where others might hesitate. Miles are just another number, and exactly how many I rolled up in the two years before we got married I truly dont know, but whatever that number might be, it was well worth the reward.
This poem also graced our wedding program as a fitting tribute to the odds we overcame, and the means that brought us together so many times.
“Heart on Wheels”
In the dark of night
The headlights brightly shine
The wheels steady rolling
Following this heart of mine
The roads are no stranger
You see we’ve done this before
But we’re never ready to stop
Til we’re parked at her door
It’s a run we look forward to
The “taxi” and I
But it’s never as much fun
When we have to say goodbye
So when we get to go back
We eagerly await
To make familiar scenery fly by
Along the asphalt so straight
‘Til we reach the long turnpike
Like a greyhound we take flight
And run without tiring
Aiming for the bridge marking lights
It feels like the Arch of Triumph
As we cross over to your Island home
I want to wave the checkered flag
To let everybody know
That once again we’ve run the course
To see my love in this chariot of steel
I’ll not let this distance keep us apart
As long as my heart has wheels.
© Timmy Green – 10/12/2000