In St. Andrew, I lived near a crash hotspot. There was nothing wrong with the road. It was a smooth stretch of road with two lanes going up, two lanes going down, islands in the middle, working traffic signals at the intersection.
What was wrong were the drivers. The ones who would try to beat the red lights. The ones who would excessively rev their engines and jackrabbit start at one, two, three o’clock in the mornings, frightening you out of your sleep. The ones who would be going home from the clubs, perhaps intoxicated, and crash into the light posts or sidewalks.
I wrote this poem with them in mind:
Racing to Death
I wanted people to tell me how criss my car look.
I wanted them to smile in admiration at how I handle my machine.
I wanted them to hear me coming from a mile off yet barely see when I pass.
When I walked into the lot, the sales rep showed me and said, “Is you dat!”
It suited my image.
It made me look like money.
Daytime, nighttime, I wanted people to jump
when they hear me coming down the road and seh, “Maaad!”
She neva hear me.
But I see her.
Face down, body twis’ up,
sticky blood oozing on top of my slick windshield,
making a trail behind her as she slide off my car.
She could be my granny.
I see her.
But I couldn’t stop.
By di time I realize what a gwaan,
So me looking on her.
Everyone looking at me.
She not moving.
I not moving.
Only my heart racing
as I labour to catch my breath.