According to Ivan Illich
the siren of one ambulance
can destroy Samaritan attitudes
in a whole Chilean town.
He was a passenger and knew
next to nothing of cars except
sit tight and hold on around corners.
Saturday was his Sabbath
and the pool-hall was his temple
until a swerve to miss a mangy dog
sent his algebra flying at angles;
he felt the thwack of white upon black -
the longest kiss of his life.
He wondered which Chilean town was that?
Does the contention hold good for all?
Did Ivan Illich really witness
the indifferent crossing the road?
How many ambulance sirens
might rid a whole country of Samaritans?
Such questions made him dizzy and sick -
he remembered Illich also said this:
If you add the time spent working to earn
the money to buy the automobile
to the time spent in the automobile
(including the traffic jams, of course)
to the time spent in the hospital
following the automobile crash
to the time spent discovering oil
to fuel every automobile
and divide it into the number of miles
driven in a single year
then the speed of each automobile
is just 3.7 miles per hour.
A light shone in his eyes
and people wanted to know his name.
At this rate he would never reach South America