Friday, June 5, 2009

Poetry Friday: Alternate Side of the Street Parking

This week, here in Gotham, I had a horrible run-in with a fellow New Yorker. The reason for the altercation was alternate side of the street parking. I won't go into it, except to say that it made me realize how lucky we are in this town not to have to rely on a car. And in honor of my 1999 Subaru Outback Wagon, and of the four winters I spent at college in Maine, here is a poem for a cold Friday:

Starting the Subaru at Five Below

Ater 6 Maine winters and 100,000 miles,
when I take it to be inspected

I search for gas stations where they
just say beep the horn and don't ask me to

put it on the lift, exposing its soft
rusted underbelly. Inside is the record

of commuting: apple cores, a bag from
McDonald's, crushed Dunkin Donuts cups,

a flashlight that doesn't work and one
that does, gas receipts blurred beyond

recognition. Finger tips numb, nose
hair frozen, I pump the accelerator

and turn the key. The battery cranks,
the engine gives 2 or 3 low groans and

starts. My God it starts. And unlike
my family in the house, the job I'm

headed towards, the poems in my briefcase,
the dreams I had last night, there is

no question about what makes sense.
White exhaust billowing from the tail pipe,

heater blowing, this car is going to
move me, it's going to take me places.

-- Stuart Kestenbaum
Pilgrimage, (c) 1990, Coyote Love Press


Susan said...

What a thing to think of in June!
You know, this winter I discovered a dismaying flaw in my Suby (an 04 Forester which I love). The car's thermometer doesn't go any lower than -14! It was 32 below at our house -- really -- and I know it was colder down in the village, but I can't say how much.

Guess it doesn't get that cold in Japan.

brattcat said...

Love the poem. Sorry to hear about the alternate side of kindness. Hope your little Subaru survived unscathed.

Brenda Bowen said...

Thanks, Brattcat. The Subaru was fine, and after deep breathing, so was I.