February 2007

Philip Dacey


Philip Dacey's eighth, most recent book is The Mystery of Max Schmitt: Poems on the Life and Work of Thomas Eakins (WordTech, 2004). His latest chapbook is Three Shades of Green: Poems of Fatherhood. The winner of three Pushcart Prizes, he moved in 2004 from Minnesota to New York City.

Driver: Where are you going?
Hitchhiker: I don't care.
Driver: I'm not going there.

I'm not going where you don't care.
I'm going where I care.
I'm going where caring where is the destination.
I'm already there
but have to keep arriving
or else who cares?

I don't care where you're not going.
I used to go there, where I'm not
taking you in my car, nor in my care,
but I got tired of not caring where
I was or was not going.
Are you still here? Do you care?

For years, driver after driver
did not care where I was going
and drove me precisely there.
I now can give me a big scare
to think of the speed with which
one can get to where one does not care.

If I drove you, I'd take you
somewhere you'd be happy
not to care to be,
which is nowhere, and then where
would I be but at sea,
no place for any car.

Anyway, since you don't care
where you're going, you might as well
just stay right here, put away
that thumb you've got stuck in the air
as if it were sore,
and try to arrive at where you already are.

But, hey, I've got to go. Take my advice
and drive yourself. Just beware
of all hitchhikers, especially if they're you.
I know you don't have a car.
You don't need one to get
from here to where you are.

Maybe someday I'll see you there.



Philip Dacey: Poetry
Copyright ©2007 The Cortland Review Issue 34The Cortland Review