Rest Stop of Babel, a poem by Joseph Mannino at
Afifi Zulkifle

Rest Stop of Babel

Rest Stop of Babel

written by: Joseph Mannino


I set out late this morning
On my daily thought commute
Straight for the superhighway
Down the simple, easy route

I jump right into my newsfeed
And subconsciously commit
My mind to trepidation
To debates, I can not quit

I crank my mind in high gear
Accelerating awake
Turning towards the onramp
I instantly have to brake

The information backup
Stretching on for miles ahead
Appears due in large part to
All the news I had not read

Locked into my current course
No time left to turn and scram
I throw my mind into park
To find the source of the jam

I quickly see the reason
For this bleak futility
It seems that grace has once more
Been snuffed by hostility

Stymied by my urgency
To jump straight into the fray
I inch on slowly forward
Frustrated by the delay

At last, I clear the onramp
Ease my mind into the feed
And find it overflowing
With the policies of greed

Blinded by the glaring hate
I reach quickly for my shades
I have to filter as much
Of these prejudiced tirades

Far too late to turn back now
I join the mental parade
Steering in and out of lanes
My dreams tragically fade

With each fellow commuter
Resigned to familiar fate
We cruise through the feed of life
Enraged with every update

Locked into the rolling feed
Inundated with ennui
I let myself imagine
Some roadside sanctuary

A bright and wooded landscape
Far away from spinning gears
Freed from the insanity
I could face my deepest fears

Like impotence of virtue
And absence of conviction
Scared to stand with my brother
Out of fear of confliction

There I’d let my mind unplug
In briefly silent respite
Before the sounds of traffic
Drag me back into the shit

It may seem quite idyllic
Any break from rush hour speed
But shifting down just one gear
Only further clogs my feed

As tempting as escape is
I’m reminded not to hide
Staying here in this moment
Grants a certain sense of pride

By joining in the discourse
Asking, listening, seeing
I’m given a chance to be
A better human being

So, for now, I’ll stay engaged
Leave my mind locked tight in drive
Skip the rest stop of Babel
Keep the dialogue alive

And though the road is crowded
With disingenuous fools
I’ll keep my eyes wide open
Obey all the traffic rules

So if you find me idling
Along the superhighway
Please join me on my journey
And let’s conquer this dismay

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