This poem is the finale to my late car saga.
Little Ford and his boys hated all joy,
As chiding children, they made a new toy,
For they loathed legs, and knees, and feet,
Instead of lawns, they’d sit in the street,
As lecherous goats, they grazed and gobbled grass,
Giants came, bulldozing hills, plains en masse,
But horrors are justified by such lies,
When we’re told we’ll fly, we ought to sigh.
Concrete is poured across all this land,
It’s ugly, but Independence is grand,
To zip around town in a new red car,
Who cares if there’s smoke, and smog, and tar?
What does it matter that we’re blotting the sun,
To Phoenix and back in a day, what fun!
Our fathers had more adventures per inch,
But could they make Boston in a tight pinch?
Our father’s sons, well they had a plan,
To kill space, time, contract them in a span.
“The horse,” they said, “is all too tame a beast,
He does not sputter or leak or overheat,
He—like our living feet—is a fetter,
We need something faster, something better,
We need to make the fair plains in an hour,
Just like those babblers needed their tower,
Texas and Maine can talk, that’s fine,
But for them to be one, that is divine,
Let’s create a machine that crosses town,
Let’s create a devil that will break down.
Our sons will honor us, they’ll build statues,
Those men without cars they’ll nobly rue,
Men to come will pay parking fees,
But they’ll take comfort in knowing they’re free,
Free to be forever vexed, chafed, and irked,
Free to nearly die when driving to work,
But those ignorant few, using feet like old,
Don’t have a heater, get stuck in the cold,
They’ll be forced to buy our new gods,
They’ll be dependent on these new frauds.”
Freedoms, for a few who can pay the repairs,
Are chains for the many who own but mares,
If Ford and Sons saw the monsters they made,
That they came to destroy the world, yet won’t fade,
They should start a revolt, take to the streets,
With their feet, hit their drum to a new beat,
Declare themselves free from the automobile,
To roam this world, to touch concrete and feel,
Then they, by their own devils will be hit,
In their coffins, they’ll all coil up and sit,
Since they hated joy, time, life, ambling, space,
The grave’s a fine and private place.
Why not creep into your coffin at once?
There is little enough space there for runts.
Written at the Desert Schooner,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Late October 2015
Painting: “Dunlop, Early Motorist Asking a Cyclist for Directions”
By Gerry Fruin,
Oil on board, n.d.