deepundergroundpoetry.com

smoke, dust, blood

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800 miles from here, across a unloving winter-whipped ocean, sitting in a shed, covered in dust and boredom, sits my shit-hot hot-rod car. Brought her home with me when the call came to come back. Shipped her across the Tasman sea from wide red Australia, my long-legged desert crosser, my red-blooded, blood red, black heart hemi coupe. †  
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I didnít bring a woman back, didnít even bring the dog, but brought the car. Couldnít ship her all the way to the new worksite though, not all the way to the island where weíre making money from rock and concrete, not going to be the man who brought a show-pony to a salt-sprayed island, where rust is enemy one, a terrible lusty thing, taking steel back in to the dirt. †  
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So she sits in a shed on the mainland, in the big city, sits pigeon-shit covered, left rear tyre going soft, battery probably fucked, and I donít get off the island much, work eating up my dayís, diesel dust and cigarettes, pub trouble, island women, island life. †  
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Tomorrow I fly out, going out to the mainland, back to my boat for a few days, my home. The boat is waiting too, the boat and the car are the ones who suffer for my money-sins. I feel bad for the boat tied to the land. Boats hate the land, the ropes hard things to keep them away from what must be their joy, but the car, that I feel the hardest for. The car is like me; too old for all the modern shit, too hard on life, to loud, too hard on tires and fuel, treads a fine line between legal and not, but mostly not, but worst, she goes nowhere, does nothing, silenced.
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Itís no place for her, that shed, her fine red lines dust-and-shit hid, her eyed by any man who walks by her, unworthy types, dreamers and fools, the kind of men whoíd send her to a mechanic to get worked on, cold hands and cash-jobs, no love in it, no honour, no care. †  
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The storage shed is filled with broken dreams, other old cars, divorce-lots of house goods, and all the junk men buy to never use but canít let go. Itís an embarrassment to have her there, her knowing that all her gear and tools are in there too, in a lock-up in the same building, everything she needs to step back on the road and burn again. †  
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Last time back, two months ago, didnít go to that place, couldnít do it. Went sailing, drank rum and sailed, gave all my love to the boat. Grew my beard and swam naked, drowning in sunsets, played blues, played up, carved my name in a woman who came and went. †  
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This time I will though, will go to the shed, will sit in her, say ďhello-babyĒ talking low, jump the battery, fire her up. Will take her out in the carpark where cops canít put tickets on a goddamn living thing, and warm her up, leave her idling while I clean her, run my hands over those fine fine lines, soap her down, hose her off while the motor boom-boom-booms, then when the oil temp is up and she has settled to the rough lump of an idle that is her best version of smooth Iíll get behind the wheel, pull the chrome-pistol shifter in to low, stomp hard on the gas and let all hell break free. †  
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Once the tyres are screaming let loose the brake pedal and punch for second gear, let her howl, that small block hemi hell, raising all kinds of blood and guts as she gathers herself, moves her weight and loads the diff up and Iíll spin the wheel, going nowhere, flick her arse and dance the dance, make the carpark my own, just joy and noise and all the trouble in the world, get her lined up still spitting smoke and bang shift her in to top, 100 miles an hour in the old money, sulphur hiss and snake hurl, spin my way across the carpark, hang her on the edge of crash-shit-fuck, eat the carpark, burn every bit of rubber she can take, then hard-stop her at the fence, back up a bit, open the door, let all the smoke and guts spill out. †  
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The Manager will be out there by then, workaday type, to say something about The Rules. I wonít hear him over her straight-pipe idle, even if he megaphoned bad blood in my ear. A man and his love making, moment of freedom, behind-bars lies, trapped, while out there the road is waiting for the day I get back to land long enough to make her road-legal, to give us what we really need. †  
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Then it will be over. Iíll slip her back in to reverse, mumble ďyeah, yeah man, just making sure thereís still oil in the headsĒ, back her up in to the shed again, switch her off, sit quiet ears ringing, maybe run a hand over the black black dash, make a promise said out loud, the same old promise about the day Iíll get home for enough time to make the world good. †  
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Get out, lock her up, walk away, break the one rule worth keeping and take a look back over my shoulder, then Iíll get in my shit-box gutless rental car, drive away chest-hurt and fire-eyed, an honest kind of thing.
Written by hemihead (hemi)
Published | Edited 6th Jun 2016
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