The Road to a Safer Future
That the road to a safer future . . .
Is not paved with pretentious pronouncements.
is it laid by the passing of new laws—
Nor the skyscraping of highways of "new" leaders
cemented in public pretences.
That we have spent centuries cruising along the sidewalk
to the road that leads to a safer future—
pulverizing innocent pebbles,
capsizing free-thinking flower-pots—
yelling antagonistic apologies for the dirt
That on the road to a safer future . . .
it is ironic, increasingly so,
that we focus the majority of our energy
on the external commotion of traffic
—the “colors” of the paints that “color” each vehicle—
continuously choosing to disregard the blatant fact we all
the exact same fuel.
That the lone pedestrians
trudging along at the edge
of the road to the safer future, are judged by their
and seldom by the vehicles that we rob from them:
by our reluctance to offer a ride.
That we religiously regard the tracks of white and yellow marks
positioned strategically along the road—
Not recalling, it seems,
to erase the umbilical blueprints from past constructors
and trace into the road
are the century old propensities . . .
that protect the erroneous allegation of the unattainability . . .
Of a safer future.
It shows that the issue in fact . . .
is not inconsistency but precisely its exact opposite—
A repeated repetition of the exact same
concession along the road.
with utmost conviction,
that the renovation of our routine-sensitive mind-sets
is the only avenue to gaining ground . . .
On the road to a safer future.
We address the carelessness of the drivers and seldom
the stained windshields from which they look through–
Mind you: on a day to day basis,
generations of mentalities are
pre-moulded and marred in advance
as per fault
of the routine-based confines of the past.
The road to a safer future . . .
That we mis-interpret
At its sides.
The ones that read 'Stop'—
we completely crop out of our vision,
because we automatically associate ‘Stop’ with the direction
for permanent delay when all it really is:
is a prompt for a moment of reflection—
so that we can learn from our ways.
That we readily embrace the word, ‘shortcut’
because we refuse to grasp that it’s
just an illusion—non-existent and directly deceiving.
And in the end, when we finally see it for what it really is,
we take no blame
and incriminate an innocent road
for the dismal products of our own poor decision-making.
That the accidents and collisions that we get into
along the road to a safer future . . .f
are too hastily cleaned up—
preventing us from absorbing the implications of the
acts of speeding
That the thousands of tragedies occurring at roundabouts
aren’t mere coincidences;
Because it’s at these roundabouts that
we all exit from varying backgrounds and experiences and
and we've never been sufficiently taught
to exhibit patience and understanding
at such intimate intersections.
That we seldom adhere to the rules of the road
because no one ever sat us down
and imbedded the
magnitude of the fines issued—
as a result of rebellion
That we crash into lampposts
and tumble into traffic lights
Because we harbour the innate toddler-like tendency
to topple off course—
even in the presence of light and clear direction.
That the most glaring and underrated sources of lights
are the lampposts located at the very beginning
of the road to a safer future
—in the form of innocence and curiosity and hope.
That these lights are the lights
that we shield our eyes to
because we’ve all been darkened by the tar coating this road
and the introduction of light to darkness now
scary and unfamiliar and . . .
That the real reason we fly nuclear obscenities
out through the windows of our vehicles,
is not because we harbor hate for our fellow drivers—
but because we aim to conceal
the insecurity and lack of control we feel
over the wheel.
That the real reason we wind our windows down
to patronize passing drivers,
is not because they have persecuted us in any way—
but because we all have this quiet imbedded fear
that by the time, we find the safer future . . .
our engines will be empty
and our tanks bare.
That we each grow up promising
to change things when we’re old enough to reach the wheel
and that finally, when we are old enough,
we forget those past dreams.
That the scratches and nicks we receive
taint us more than we can see;
and that no amount of paint can erase them . . .
but at least,
we can still believe.
That on this road—
on this journey to safety.
we are never going to unanimously agree.
I believe . . .
That we will all always drive at different speeds.
But I believe . . .
That the ratio
irrespective of individual belief
OR hierarchal seat
OR driving speed
. . . is eternally equivalent . . .
That the way we process the tickets we receive mentally
is the key to driving more patiently in the future.
Most of all: that we can't all expect to fit into one lane.
Logically, it’s impossible.
all individual lanes will lead to one junction called . . .
A safer future.
That the road to a safer future . . .
cannot solely be paved with noble intentions:
by the construction of new mindsets
and the skyscraping of high—ways of "new" thinkers.
Khadijah Hallidayis a high school senior from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean—the birth place of Sir Derek Walcott. She is a writer and spoken word artist and was a nominee for the 2017 Saint Lucia Youth Literary Award. Khadijah was awarded Gold Awards in both the 2018 and 2019 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competitions and she is an alumni of the Kenyon Review Young Writers’ Workshop 2019. While her main passion is writing, she plays the guitar and is into photography. Khadijah plans to major in English Literature/Creative Writing at college in 2020.