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(or: The SIE Traffic Report—in homage to the early Mr. Waits)

Over on the No Mercy Churnpike traffic looks to be sluggish

on the eastern and western spurs of my general well being

With an overturned tractor trailer and a major fuel spill

just south of the urge to merge

An accident with possible fatalities with police landing a medevac chopper on the roadway just past where you and I split

And a car fire with police department activity

on the scene where our marital crisis hit

The Altered State Parkway’s backed up all the way to the Mount Hopeless exit, with all 24 southbound lanes shut down due to a jackknifed tractor trailer and major debris spill with all the detritus of our life together scattered all over the state’s highways

Long-term road constriction laid down

till the early part of my next relationship

Continuing problems on the Frantic City Expressway

with a flipped-over car right near the Unpleasant Valley Way exit

The Below the Belt Parkway is backed up with an unauthorized truck that tried landing upside down on the Milky Way

sometime early this morning before dawn

The Don’t Want Us Expressway has an overturned vehicle

by the side of the roadway just east of Disjunction Blvd.

The Nowhere Memorial Bridge has a major redecking project underway from now till my stamina runs out

The Chaim Yankel Bridge is all set for an opening with delays from mid-span all the way back to the love taking its tolls

On the Moishe Kapoyer Bridge we have a ruptured tanker truck with a major chemical spill, with hazmat units on the scene,

blocking off all the major arteries and jugular veins,

and choking off my ability to connect with you

Subways and commuter trains nowhere near being on or close to schedule

And system-wide delays on the No Mercy Coast Line

due to your signal problems and intractability

Two-hour departure and arrival delays at all three area airports

due to my insecurity and your instability

There’s traffic backed up from here until the sorry story ends

‘Cuz ever since you went all trippy and truculent

There’s been nothing but traffic and transit troubles

throughout the tri-state area

With no resolution for the foreseeable future

Till you come back to your senses

And alternate side regulations that were suspended yesterday

are in effect today

(Remember … if it’s on the road, it’s on our report …)

©2023 The Hesh Inc.

"Clogged Arteries" - original AI art by The Hesh Inc.
There’s traffic backed up from here until the sorry story ends.

This was my take on Tom Waits's "Emotional Weather Report," which had been in heavy rotation on my car stereo right around the time of my second divorce. I had relocated from Los Angeles, where I had been living at the time of the divorce, to my old haunts in the New Jersey/New York metro area, where I was barely scratching out a living as I struggled to find my footing after my personal cataclysm. But rather than have a swingy, bantery feel the way Waits delivered it, my traffic rap has a faster tempo and arrangement akin to the "driving songs" I had composed while in college. I had intended for it to become the opening track to a projected album about the crash-and-burn of my marriage and its aftermath, but I decided I'd rather focus on other subjects in terms of my songwriting ... however, I still think this is cool.

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