Sixty-Six, #122

White like a knight,
all scratched and imperfect,
it’s leather ripped
and replaced, engine
torn down and rebuilt,
gone through a divorce
and bitter custody
battle, an unloved
child told to go play
in the garage and wait
for someone to call you
back in for dinner. The man
who owned it, looking
to make a fast buck
and be done with it,
symbol of broken heart
and an awkward phase,
like my pimpled face,
like the causes we champion.

Clean slate lines gone
all the way back to before
I was born, back
to an America
we must trust existed,
because we are told
(and told again) how
wonderful was the music,
and the benevolence,
and the businesses
who would make an effort
to cater to the whims
of customers, who spent
capital on creating products
that could be afforded
to rebellious teens.

Her form went
all the way back
to days when the product,
the bare bones and paint,
scoop out the side,
the spacious back seat
and bucket front
allowing youths
to neck and pet
each other against
the better wishes
of parents who’d rather
have had the cramped
cars of today, separated
by cup holders
and parking brake, kept
in by shoulder belts,
and no room in the back
for a night of sex
that could surpass
the hype and madness.

When commercials claim
we’ve made great strides,
label a new stereo system,
paid for electronic service,
two miles more a gallon
An American Revolution,
Driving Innovation, Shift.

I’m left with the thoughts
of old dying empires,
Napoleon and Rome
convinced by their pride
of how gullible
they think the masses,
and untouchable
they feel themselves
from the masses,
and how most of the time
we prove them right.

I applaud the marketers
for doing their research
and coming up with
the worst products
the most money can buy.

l’m left with thoughts
of my old rusted bucket
of bolts, still new thirty years
old, handwashed
and being strapped in
ready to roll down
the windows, roll down
the street believing
in a time painted
as picture perfect
and willing, for the brief
minute to forget
her scratches,
her dents and rebuilds,

the dead kids laid
at the feet of pride,
the poor black south,
the sad truths of racism,
the deadlier truths
of the approaching tide.

I feel myself slung
in the front seat,
taken in by the lie
and thinking if I roll
up the windows
and breathe deep
I could make that world
roll back off the assembly
line, rather than do
the hard work ahead,
of paying off a new
machine, paying
off my parents debt,
or majoring in marketing
so that I may join the club,
of well payed hoodlums
who convince the eyes
that their thin coat of paint
is worth what we’ve paid.

I think back to that dream
machine feeling like a dovetail thug,
a lucky goose of a suitor,
like a knight or a king.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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