Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"under the hood" by John Reinhart, Frequent Contributor

under the hood
John Reinhart

a mallet, a screwdriver,
hose clamps, a pencil -
mighty enough to keep the car running,

keep humanity engaged -
nostalgic already for life
throbbing under the hood

little yellow Datsun
with a stripe, I remember
never speeding

watching our Volvo drive away,
stunted by multiple strokes, blind
and paralyzed down the driver's side

Subaru hatchback suffered asthma,
the wheezing cleared with a pencil
down the throat

1980 Toyota Carolla only died
on me once, in rush hour, in the middle of five lanes,
but climbed the Continental Divide, steadily

1989 GMC Sierra 1500, dirt cheap, slowed down
really well, 1983 Volkswagen Quantum Turbo, soft touch,
heavy drinker, pinnacle of poise, the 1981 Mercedes diesel tank

when we arrived late from the snow, my son
said, Papa took the long way so we could hit every light
to stop and clear the windshield

in their check engines light innocence, I wonder
if my children will ever feel the palpitating heart
under the hood that keeps the plates spinning


Poet's Notes:  I have never had a car payment, which might say something about my financial conservatism, or it might say something about the cars I've owned. Dismantling the naïveté of modern existence where every problem is solved for a price, I work to keep my hands dirty. Human ingenuity goes to bed. And sleeps. Landfills full of broken bits praying for mending in a divided, divisive world separated by chasms not even the rope bridge of San Luis Rey might span. Unless we let it. Unless we weave those damn ropes ourselves. Ink stained palms, oil on new pants, mud caked onto shoes. Calluses cracked as sweat runs in steams in dry gullies of $9.95 replacement parts.

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