Saturday, April 2, 2011

"the trouble with poetry is ... it leads to more poetry."

April is National Poetry Month and I am once again participating in the challenges to write a new poem (rough is better than nothing) every day this month. So far, I have not totally gotten into the mind of it. In past April challenges, I have found myself steeped in poetry all day long...thinking, reading and viewing all the world through the window of poetry. So, on this overcast and somewhat wintery day, I will embark upon my journey to create something new every day. Here is yesterday's poem.


Our Chrysler New Yorker,
a behemoth car of the seventies,
would barely clear the sides of the garage.
The bumpers rusted off, twice I think
the driver’s bench seat locked in place
so far back from the steering wheel
that Mom had to drive with a pillow
just to reach the gas pedal.
The ignition lock broke and it would start
with no keys dangling from the gear shift.
But the car never surrendered to its faults,
never gave way to the defective parts
that refused to do their job.

Maybe I spoke too quickly,
comparing Katie to that car.
But when Katie complained of being old,
of knees that did not do what she asked.
I began to think of defective parts,
of objects old before their time
and before I knew it
Katie and Chrysler were together in a sentence
like the answer to a practice test:
sore knees are to rusty bumpers
as Katie is to …
(c) a 1970s Chrysler New Yorker.

Perhaps my imagination is too vivid.
but I still remember that yellow car.
We drove it all over town
from the library to the cemetery
where gravestones read like books.

That Chrysler was with us all the way through
the heartbreak of high school romances,
our brother’s wedding,
the death of a best friend,
vacations across the country,
the blizzard of 1979, high school graduations
and arguments with each other.

It should have fallen apart,
its rusty bumpers falling off,
but at the end of the day
it sat in the garage, waiting
for us to start its heart of an engine.

Of course I could be too sentimental,
but the Chrysler could never help
that it was constructed with defective parts.

Even still, it never failed us,
and just like Katie,
it was quirky, steadfast, and loyal to the end.