I ran after a bus once. I might have been 12 years old.
Turned out it was the wrong bus.
It drove me to a part of town I had never been to before.
On the side of the road there was a car
which had been through a nasty accident.
The driver must have taken a wrong turn.
I wrote my first poem when I came home that day.
It was about wrong turns and burning cars.
It was terrible and I set it on fire.
I swore never to write poetry again.
Then, one day, I had nothing to do.
I might have been 18 by then.
I turned on the TV and heard this poem.
It gave me wrong ideas
all over again.
So I sat down and wrote a poem of my own.
It was terrible, but I wrote two more.
The poem which inspired me had been written by someone
who’d taken a wrong turn one night and found himself in a dark forest.
No one knows what happened there, but he never came out alive.
Maybe it was the forest that Charles Simic writes about.
The one with greasy ropes and baby nooses.
The poem I heard on TV that day was read by an actor
I used to admire a lot back then.
I was only 18, after all.
I trusted people too easily.
The actor drove someone home not so long ago.
The car took a wrong turn and they found themselves in a lonely house.
Something bad happened there.
Or so they say.
Yesterday I turned on my TV again.
Apparently, there was a whole country once
which took a wrong turn and ended locked up in someone’s private safe
while outside monsters took over.
There aren’t a lot of people I admire these days.
Charles Simic might be one of them.
And that poet who died long ago.
I have decided not to watch TV any more.
I will stay indoors for fear of taking a wrong turn.
The world is full of monsters and greasy ropes.
This poem has taken a few wrong turns as well.
If it is ever called upon to bear witness to these times,
I am not sure its testimony should be trusted.
Someone who gets lost this often
can lead everyone else astray.