Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Poetry in the Junkyard

This graveyard of forgotten things
is a good place to leave a body

Filled with carcasses of forgotten friends
piled on top of each other
as if washed ashore by a great tidal wave
of human despair,
detritus left by humans
who no longer want to be bothered
their twisted anger and crushing disappointment
almost palpable in the thin fall air.

Once beautiful, now so much unwanted junk
with cryptic notes sketched on the sides of each,
Asedis, Brian, AOD 3.5, Mt Gd
speaking a foreign language known only to a few.

A shiny red Cadillac with its white leather roof
speaks loudly, somehow,
of betrayal and broken dreams.
What a horrible crime it must have committed
a broken transmission,
a bad accident, a popped clutch
to be relegated here, dishonored.

A light blue Chrysler
moving and alive
out of place in this home of dead things
its trunk sprouting orange canisters
and dripping thick and colorful wires
it bounces down the muddy lane
strewn with body parts,
a representation of the kind of strange hybrid vehicle
we’ll need to build after the next world war.

There is poetry here
stanzas heaped upon stanzas:
piles of twisted and rusty steel,
glittering green shards of broken glass
an old shoe, a knitted afghan,
a dark blue sweatshirt tossed idly 
on a broken window frame.

The mud, the junk, the twisted metal
and pieces bent out of true.
And there, lost and forlorn and completely jarring –
a perfect headlight, a shiny hub cap, an unbroken red taillight,
an emblem for a Ford.

Car engines crawling from under hoods
grilles and headlights aiming for the clouds
others pointing low, abandoned and despairing
destined to remain forever earthbound.

An angry bee buzzes around
looking for its lost home somewhere
among the twisted metal and empty seats.

And then –
there, a 19 year old, sweaty and hot
frustrated by the task at hand
swearing and nursing small wounds
and yet
his spatial abilities lead him here, there
and without conscious thought
his fingers know how to shift
and twist the metal to extract it
from its rusty home
his success punctuated by “woohoos!”
and “Oh yeah, I’m the man.”

He is beautiful.

He is poetry in the junkyard.

August 2001