In the Direction of the Slide

A new Doug Hoekstra poem, “In the Direction of the Slide,” just out at Edify Fiction.  Edify’s mission is to “offer positive and uplifting fiction content by new and established authors. For our readers, it is all things good or true or romantic or beautiful or lovely.”   There can be a fair amount of post-modern hip in the art world, so it’s nice to see that unabashed sentiment – go Edify and thanks for running it (and to you for reading it)

In the Direction of the Slide

In driver’s education,
we watched grainy training films,
sitting in simulators,
which we called stimulators
because we thought it was funny
and we were fifteen

In the stimulators,
a kid on a bicycle would dart
suddenly into the street
we’d hit the fake accelerator
instead of the brake, laugh
and see our score go down

Our distracted gym teacher
was going to pass us anyways,
providing daily advice on IPDA
Identify Predict, Decide, and Act, and
if we hit a slick spot, we should
turn in the direction of the slide

Easier said than done, since
the tendency is to turn the wheel
to the place you want to be
instead of going with the flow
everyone wants something unattainable
especially at fifteen

In the greater Chicagoland area, we had
long gray depressing winters,
sharp cutting winds and mountainous
snow drifts appearing out of nowhere,
clogging city streets before melting into
treacherous slush and ice

So, driving became sliding and
sliding became spinning your wheels,
getting out of the car to push until
someone got out of their car to help
and eventually, together, movement.
Breaking free

It was common to see that same driver
another mile or two down the road,
fighting their own battles, until you pulled over
and helped push, both of you, all of us,
struggling, not learning, not turning,
In the direction of the slide

I used to think my gym teacher was past it,
square, stuck in a job he didn’t like,
as he would leave the room, walk outside
and watch birds landing on the football field
but, who knows how to turn the wheel
when you’re only fifteen

You can find “In the Direction of The Slide” on page 42 of the Christmas Issue.  Right here.

Published by Doug Hoekstra

Father, wordsmith, musician, creative.

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