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
All those cars, from the days
When automobiles flashed
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
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.
I could die like a hero, like James Dean
With a genuine American Yeehah
Over a cliff, off the railing