The Rubber Mallet, #145

The lug-nut wouldn’t
fit onto the stem,
though I turned it
and begged and cursed,
hoped and pleaded
for an odd solution
to the puzzle,
to lay together
the pieces
of all these defunct
and failed attempts.
It must’ve been
a different bolt
it came from.
One from some
Japanese car
where all the parts
are based on science,
mathematics and linguistics,
are metric
and make sense.
I do not make sense,
based on the pound
and the dollar.
So I slammed it with
the rubber mallet
for a good hour
to try and convince
it to fit (though it wouldn’t).

The tire didn’t
stay on, cause the bolts
were bare and bent
and had lost all semblance
of a thread. Only
by their malformed
waves and ripples,
their off angles
left bent over
from the pounding,
by their misshapen
heads did the nuts
hold (even a little).
A mile down
the road, the tire
jettisoned itself
in a shower
of sparks and a twist
of metal threads,
the car spun
in circles while
the rubber ball tire
bounced down
the yellow line
and shards
of well oiled gizmos,
high quality auto parts
flew off in all directions,
brakes on concrete.

The tow truck driver
who picked me up
said I should never
have tried to roll
a busted car
down the street,
that I was worse
than tempting fate
knowing the lug-nuts
wouldn’t hold.
He threatened
to refuse the tow
and told me
I should be
abandoned here
for my tomfoolery,
scolded me
like a father would,
asking what the heck
I was thinking.
And, of course, I had
no answer, could offer
no insight
into the machinations
of my inner mind.
He decided to make me
pay double after
I explained about
the rubber mallet.

The mechanic laughed,
the type of chortle
which only arises
out of an artist
glad to not be facing
a canvas worse
than empty,
one in desperate
need of repair.
He explained my car
wasn’t worth fixing,
that anyone hoping
to save such an abused
and tired child
would end up broke
and disappointed,
what with the bent
frame and busted
axle, the metal
sticking all the way
up into the back seat,
the trunk
and the gas tank
and the entire
rear quarter in need
of replacement, definitely
cheaper to just
junk the darn thing
and start over.

The rubber mallet
was left, accidently
locked in the trunk
of my heap of tears
sent to the junkyard.
When they lowered it
into the crusher,
after stripping out
the radio, the carburetor,
and all the chrome,
I swear I could hear
a whining,
some muffled hum
coming back
from the back end.
Somedays I think about it,
wonder what possessed me
to turn the key and start
down that quarter mile.
Somedays I miss
the wooden handle,
the ability to pound
all the things
that rise up to get
in my way,
all the dumb thugs
who rise to meet me,
the dull thud
of the dense head.



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

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