Thursday, October 18, 2012


I don’t know anything

About the threads on a

‘63 Ford Falcon  carburetor

Or if there is any such thing.

But seeing an old Falcon

Reminds me of the one

My mother had; second hand

Even then.


All those cars, from the days

When automobiles flashed

Buoyant personalities

And gas was well under a dollar.


The smell of gas!

You think it’s bad now?

The world reeked of it

As in a former age

When the world had an odor

Of horse manure

And  sweaty wool clothes,

In my youth grease and gas

Smelled clean, like progress

The exhaust pipes puttered out

 Blue smoke, like joyous

Muscle-god farts.


We had Mustangs and Thunderbirds

GTOs and Volkswagens

Camaros, El Dorados

Lincolns, and Buicks and Impalas

Magical chariots, which crashed

And smashed and mangled all sorts

Of reckless modern people.

Seatbelt were optional.

Some cars didn’t have them.

My father had a Nash

Sedan with a back seat

That folded into a bed.

The gas cap hid under the taillight.

There was a velvet rope on the backseat

And ashtrays imbedded in it everywhere.

What a car! I loved it so much.

It felt safe and warm and comfy

Because my parents never crashed.


We used to go for rides

In the country, on winding roads.

And I’d get carsick and we’d have to stop

So I could puke on the shoulder.

Mother would pour some coffee

From a plaid Thermos and they’d drink


From the plastic cup on the top,

And they smoked and talked constantly

With the windows all rolled up.

I’d zone out from the Dramamine

And fall into daydreamy sleep.


Then, somewhere in the late 70s

When everything was turning to shit

The cars shrank into soapbars,

And by the 80s they all looked alike.

Now, the ugliest cars get great mileage

And a few don’t use any at all

But, it hardly matters because

They don’t look special.

Any day on the freeway there’s millions

Muttering like cowed, vengeful serfs

As they creep up and down the lanes

Through the cities of fast-dying dreams.

No one dies in cars now

They just crumple and tie up traffic.

Autos are safer and tamer and muted

But there’s hope--

They’re all made in China.

So, perhaps

I could die like a hero, like James Dean

With a genuine American Yeehah

Over a cliff, off the railing

After all.













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