Dan Thomas-Glass lives in Albany & works in Palo Alto. He is a teacher, communications director, & department chair at a progressive all-girls middle school. He & his wife Kate, along with their almost-three-year-old Sonia, just welcomed baby Alma into the world. He is the author of 880, Seaming, & Total Noise: Language Poetry, Hip Hop, & Urban Collapse. In spare fragments of time he edits With + Stand & The 30 Word Review. You can find recent poetic labor at http://danthomasglass.blogspot.com
[Drive] [to] [Work]
Freeways are our cathedrals. I sit in awe, marvel at the scope, feel the impossible majesty of capitalism’s moving so many bodies through space. I sit in my car, in awe. We bought a new car, one moved through space in a line to assemble, a history of capitalism’s moving so many bodies in the movement down that line to assemble our new car that I sit in, in awe. Our new car is assembled to consume “natural” gas, so I sit in awe in a special lane on the freeway for HOVs PZEVs & ZEVs so I can get home faster. I am in the front row of the cathedral, we bought this proximity, I atone for the 90-mile roundtrip daily sin by buying this indulgence. I sit in awe, in proximity to capital’s glow, thinking of the dead bodies poured into the Great Wall, what bodies under this pitch & gravel. What majesty.
Where I live there are many poets. Where I work there are many venture capitalists. I traverse this distance in awe, daily, so as not to forget this distance. Or this proximity. In awe. Awe comes from an Old Norse word that also meant terror or dread. We retain these meanings in awful. I am in terror & dread. The Old Norse speakers traversed the North Sea in terror & dread to rape & pillage & then live among the Angles & Saxons & Jutes, & because of that traversing Old English lost its gendered nouns & various other trappings & so a car is not a boy car like other European languages because those Vikings spoke the Old Norse/Old English version of Spanglish which in its simplification did not include a gender for a noun like car. So in my genderless car I traverse this distance in awe but my driving is not genderless.
Did you know it is very expensive to live in the Bay Area? It is very expensive. We are waiting for our second daughter to be born & because we have decided it is important to us for one of us to stay home with our young daughters I drive to work. I am a school administrator as well as teacher now so that we can afford to live here at all. We decided my wife would stay home with our young daughters which was an easy decision because it resonated in the echo chamber of our world, in a compound modifier like stay-at-home which was gendered female. This was an easy decision to make because of this resonance. My wife works (when she is not a stay-at-home worker) in non-profit management & development & I am a secondary school teacher/administrator, so our “earning power” is very proximate. The decision for me to drive to work in awe was one we both felt very comfortable about & our feeling comfortable with it was not genderless in the way that my driving is not genderless.
In these gendered decisions in this language on these freeways I sit in awe & marvel & my poems are about these things: movement & family & the yawning proximity of this awe to all of us. What majesty.