In her piece, $20 Taxi Ride, Senior Olivia Vande Woude invites us into the cab with her protagonist so that we really feel like we’re along for the ride. Thank you Olivia for this wonderful poem!


$20 Taxi Ride


Wears a Nike hat

Scar on his left wrist

3 centimeters long.


Inserts the key

on a chain with a yellow pig dangling

among other carefully serrated pieces of gold.


We are a lot of people in this country,


I am from the Northern port.


Likes the quiet

of Alexandria

says it’s good for old people.


Told him I do too.


Thats good, thats a great feature.


Yellow wool lined teeth

Sweater vest

Camel colored shirt, striped

Coffee and cigarette breath


Receipts lie


on the floor.


Clock says 5:15



My wife works at a school for grown people,

student loans.


Has lived here 7 years

his mustache informs

and eyebrows tell.


“Morning Fresh”

pink car

freshener sways.


Unfolds glasses

with a plastic rim

to gently rest on dark ears.


Sits on a throne of 2 pillows

worn, sun faded

one of taupe

other of cheetah,

still comfortable.


Car cuts in front of us on Whitehurst Ave.


Complicated, no?


He chuckles.



City traffic bad, I go around

you see


I know the streets

more or less,


Parking problem? I inquire.


Youre right, it can happen that way.




Pass homeless under bridges

Easter Egg baskets

roll on their sides

in the bit of wind

Winter exhaust.


One time I got lost with a passenger

You miss exit, 

Im telling you, Im telling you,


youre lost.


Didnt charge her the whole cost on the meter

when I went the wrong way.


Its better like that

You have to be human, yeah.


Bad destination otherwise.


I live my life like that, its fine


Thank you God.


One man, he decepts me,

gave me $20,

made me give him $10 later,


I say, honest,

straight is better.


Dont worry about others, they must change



I agree.


Thank you, thank you.


Folds and puts down glasses

Pats finger on the crinkled spine of the map

Reassurance of our arrival.


Thats good, Thats good,


Whispers quickly.


Shall I stop here?



*Photograph: Marie Ungar