Tony Peyser: Traffic Incident

I’ve been known on more than one occasion
Because I find it inviting
To go out in my car with both pen and paper,
Park and do some writing.

I will reluctantly admit something –
I am regularly deriving
A far greater sense of pleasure from
Writing while I’m driving.

That is until this one time when
My teeth began gnashing
As I looked in my rear-view & saw
A cop car’s lights flashing.

The cop who approached my window
Was quite eager to confer
And rhetorically asked a question –
“Is there some problem, sir?”

I said, “Yeah . . . there is a problem
Which comes down to: I’m
Keen to use the word diaspora but
Can’t come up with a rhyme.”

The cop said, “Diaspora . . . manufacturer?”
I said, “That hill I can’t climb.
I like to kick it old school and am loath to
Try and use a slant rhyme.”

He shined his flashlight in my face and
Paused to underscore his timing –
Then he got right down to business. “I’m
Charging you with reckless rhyming.”

I knew I had to try and turn things around
Without having to reveal
What I had been doing, so I boldly lied –
“I never rhyme at the wheel.”

The cop remained unconvinced and this
Was when things got scary.
He looked at the passenger seat and
Saw my rhyming dictionary.

Channelling perps I had seen on “Cops”
My alibi I needed to amend –
“That may be a rhyming dictionary but
It isn’t mine. It belongs to a friend.”

The cop wasn’t buying this either.
I now wasn’t sure what to do.
I blurted out, “OK! I was rhyming!
But just one verse . . . or two.”

I was charged with reckless rhyming
As you may have predicted.
I couldn’t catch a break at my trial
And was easily convicted.

I told my lawyer I wanted to help others:
He agreed and then got right on it.
As part of my parole, I talk to young poets:
I even wrote a public service sonnet.

I no longer rhyme behind the wheel
Careless of prying eyes, or cloaked,
Since that sad day when to my dismay
My poetic license was revoked