Once upon a time, Checker cabs darted cross bridges
1969, not the moment for teenyboppers – mini skirted, stoned, on
a midnight local, nervously riding home.
In the cab’s darkness, you were safe and cosseted.
This was in another century.
Before crosstown crawls and Broadway blockage.
Up until 1994 the cabbie patiently waited until
the female inserted her key in the door.
Call it chivalry – safety – street security.
Today, few insouciant waves hail the yellow fleet. Slowly
strangulated by greedy businessmen, taxes, fleets of new cars
that we hail with our ever present phones.
The driver will not – cannot – leave the motor running for a quick
score two flights up
The backseat will never overflow with bodega blooms
bought on a sudden whim
speaking of which, does anyone ever have sex in an Uber?
Thank you lovely NYC cabbie who returned my bag, crammed
with cash, a pearl necklace and a half ounce of weed,
and then refused any reward.
And thank you, pervo cabbie, who drove me to the old navy Yard,
Scared me to hell, but then, unexpectedly, decided not to rape
me, but silently drove me home, through empty Brooklyn streets.
Thank you drivers, poets, immigrants, musicians, druggies,
philosophers, tough guys, students, who offered transport and talk Now our tips are left with an app.
O yellow taxi, killed off by greed and technology
For decades, your presence brightened city streets
First, they turned you green if you dared to leave Manhattan and
now you are going, priced to impossible heights
though none of this lucre reaches the driver.
Soon you will be a nostalgic footnote, like Gimbels, egg creams,
the Village Voice and subway tokens.
We are left with Uber, Via, Lyft, acronyms for anonymity
Still we have the crumbling, bumbling MTA
Lurching though aging tunnels
but eventually will get us there