Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage

Strong Towns member and creator of Streetsblog, Aaron Naparstek, has a secret talent: he's a brilliant poet. It all started with a honking car outside his Brooklyn apartment in 2001. As he writes in the Preface of his book Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage:

Some jerk in a crappy blue sedan had decided to let loose with a continuous, nonstop blast directly beneath my window. I'd never heard anything quite like it. As the honk persisted, I felt my chest tighten and my reptilian fight-or-flight response kick in. I looked outside to see what the problem was. Not only was there no emergency, the traffic light in front of him was red!

Aaron's first response was to egg the car, but in the aftermath of that decision, he realized something:

I had crossed a line. I had soaked up so much honking and road rage that I had become the honking. I had become the rage.

His response to this realization? Poetry. He began writing short "honkus" (haikus about honking) and posting them around his neighborhood. Soon neighbors joined in, writing their own honkus, and a movement was born.

Today we're sharing three of those beautiful poems. May they inspire peace inside your honking, traffic-jammed life and maybe even encourage you to grab a pen and try your hand at writing your own:

Ford, GM, Chrysler
zero-percent financing—
great deal: more traffic
Our urban fabric—
the cheap upholstery of
traffic engineers
Together again
at the stoplight—was it worth
all of the speeding?

Want to read more honkus? Grab a copy of this highly entertaining book, Honku: The Zen Antidote to Road Rage, which, as the dust jacket explains "is the perfect fit for the glove compartment, to be pored over while you're stalled in traffic on the interstate." 

Want to hear more from Aaron Naparstek? He'll be telling a version of the Honku story for The Moth Mainstage, at The Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York on September 14. Get tickets and more info here.