tagNon-Erotic PoetryAn Ode to American Cars

An Ode to American Cars


As a kid I used to ride with my folks
in a battered old green Dodge pickup
as weathered and dented as it was solid,
up craggy Oregon mountains
and down pot-holed red dirt roads
carrying loads of fire-wood for our home,
to keep me warm as I studied the land of Narnia
and then ancient Greece and Rome

Then as a young man,
I'd roam our town in a sleek but weathered Chryler LeBaron
(which I artistically insisted be brown)
and it ran as smooth as Bogart in Casablanca
and was as comfortable at the Running Y country club
as it was at the Mad Dog pub

As an off-to-college gift,
I got a newer white Ford Taurus
and a leopard-print steering wheel cover
and zooming way too fast down the free-way
she'd really start to purr;

Once, after drinking one too many
I had to leave her behind Cowgirls:
"thanks for calling,"
was all my old man said to me
Then there was my friend Peter Avagianos
with his shiny purple Cadillac:
we'd drive throughout the Rogue Valley
he selling frozen steaks door-to-door
my reading Kerouac and wondering what for,
but that cat could charm one like a cobra
with stories of his childhood on Greece's shore
and his wild life on America's roads

After graduating from S.O.U.,
I took a position teaching English
in The Kingdom of Thailand,
a place awash in bizzare sights like
six-foot monitor lizards,
sparrows bluer than Paul Newman's eyes,
and wealthy men with finger-nails like sordid knives

You'll see many stars-and-stripes kites
on this or that beach,
and enterpreuners work extra hard
knowing that Focus or Malibu is truly
within their reach

Upon returning to my homeland
I wandered here and there
running down the American dream
in its real rather than materialistic sense

When I think of things I've yet to do:
one comes to mind the most,
I'd like to fall in love again
on the magic Oregon Coast,
driving from tidepool to tidepool,
glorying in the bright anemones
and tranquilly clinging starfish...

And I wish to do so
in a car made with care
by union workers
earning family wages
(not worrying that the next illness
will leave them dirt poor)
but pursuing the American dreams
which we all came here for

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