The Summer '00 collection is titled Signs in the language of traffic.
A few months ago I started a new job that's a 60-mile commute across L.A. County. It's an interesting drive, and no matter what time of day I come or go, I'm never alone. Looking around at stop lights and in freeway jams, I don't think I've ever seen the same people twice from one day to the next. Even though it's much too easy to think of traffic as a swarm of steel shells on wheels, traffic is people -- whether they pass by on the road, or through our lives.
As I'm getting older I've begun to think how many people have gone in and out of my life. The number grows with the years. Like everyone else, I keep finding new ones to replace those that have gone different ways. I watch others go through the same process, and their stories keep giving me ideas for my writing.
We are the traffic that passes through each others' lives constantly -- sometimes as brief glimpses of mutual unawareness, other times sharing our journeys with one another. And if we are traffic to one another, then we are also each others' signs -- in our expressions, demeanor, the things we do and say, or sometimes fail to do and say to one another. Those signs are often all that those around us have to navigate by, no matter what our thoughts and intentions might have been.
Is it any wonder that in our interpersonal traffic there is so much chance of misdirection, so many accidents, so many people getting lost trying to navigate by what they perceive in us? Traffic means risk, but it'll always be our companion to where we're going. With all the chances for miscommunication, there are still moments when the messages are clear and the signs are banners that help us find our way. Signs in the language of traffic is about messages -- the ones we give to each other, as well as the ones we find around us.
jon_bohrn @ augustpoetry.org