Tuesday Poem: Car troubles – for Raymond Carver.

Car troubles: for Raymond Carver.

Everybody has car troubles:

my first, that emerald green 1937 Vauxhall DX
with lustrous chromium tears along the foldup bonnet
and a motor so stuffed it turned the city blue
each time I put my foot down, traded-in on
grey ‘47 Austin 10 so I could skip
town and drop out of university
ending up six months later on its side
in ditch near Pahiatua, result of a failed
experiment in controlled skids on gravel

the ‘52 Chev I had to sell to pay the engine bill

that two-tone blue and white PA Velox I boiled dry
near Kojonup, West Australia, cracking the piston
rings; two smashed windscreens later, a wedge-tailed
eagle taking off, lift destroyed as I came up on him over
the rise almost sucked through the window in with me
staggering over the cab and up

the draughty Austin van you died in on black ice

a Rover 100 that jumped out of gear but left us feeling
sleek as royalty with its Jesus Cares sticker
& no, my kids could not forgive me: a lime green
1974 Skoda boiling its poor little Czech guts to billy-O
hauling a trailer up the Wairau to Blenheim in December’s haze

Hillman Avenger auto taught me terror on the M25
and died in an engine blaze at the supermarket carpark

near new Fiat Uno, Azzuro Blue, rammed in Hackney
by unlicensed uninsured Kurdish refugee with poor English
slammed in the arse by a BMW as we gave way to pedestrians
but still alive 100,000 plus kilometres

and now this thirsty 180B with the duff fuel gauge that keeps
dying on me, and Zack, the mechanic telling me, “Don’t let
the tank get under a quarter!”, and how his wife’s
just had to go in for a biopsy

Tuesday Poem


About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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3 Responses to Tuesday Poem: Car troubles – for Raymond Carver.

  1. Belinda says:

    I absolutely love this poem! It is such a NZ one – all those old cranky cars needing to be jollied along, all with personalities and quirks, and all remembered. (I still remember the old Fiat I learned to drive on, must be 40 years ago: you needed to double-de-clutch in it, a lost art.) Thanks!

  2. Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says:

    You’re welcome Belinda. I wrote this years ago, just being affectionate towards those metal friends that shaped my driving days. Three more cars since the last here: Mitsubishi Galant VX-R, Toyota Carib and now, a Honda Fit. Quite a range of age and technology: 1937 (pre-WW2) until 2006. Almost 70 years of automotive history.

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review | Paparoa's Blog

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