Monday, October 01, 2007

The Parking Lot

Sedan de Ville

Oliver Kingman wheels regal his shimmering stretch
into its place of honor by the door, eyes
the Bug at the foot of the lot with something akin to fear:
all these years of running his place he's always been first,
and now some flextime freakshow comes before
the sun is up, burning the lights, as if he cared
about the flow of work or man from day to night,
or rituals of keys. Mister Kingman pushes home
the magnificent door and savors the solid thunk
of his enameled dreams, squints against the sun
rising in his chrome, thinks of Cadillacs to come
as he heads into the place he built with his hands, a man
with places to go, a man with appointments to keep.


Bloody with morning,
low in the red eye of sun,
squadrons of Nissans.

Electra 225

Caught like a fly in the amber of morning
the janitor eases his deuce and a quarter
to rest in the first of the unreserved spaces,
sits with his radio, drinking the last
of his breakfast of beer. In back of his mind
is a certain unease with the ghost of the previous
owner (a soldier more hopeful than wise,
who’d bought the impeccable ride for a woman
more trying than true) whispering mile
after mile of adulteries into his ear
from a government grave in the wintery earth
of Detroit. At the start it seemed fortunate past
all his dreams: a woman with money to burn
with a car that was everything rolled into one.
But of late he'd begun to have certain misgivings
at how it appeared to betray his intentions
whenever the voice in his ear became lulling
or frightened him more than he usually was,
how it reached for the shoulders or hungered for speed
or was simply so smooth that he found himself drifting
to sleep at the wheel. He poured his libation,
went to his duties, with only a glance
at the glittering thing he'd escaped, saw only
its blank and implacable beauty returned.


In black ten-gallon,
blue jeans, hand tooled boots, ambling
from trusted Honda
to his opulent corral
in the Xerox room,
a faithful reproduction
of the golden west,
riding an eastern pony.
He is a vision
of some lost nobility,
a hint of mislaid
character, backbone, poise. Then,
in grey ten-gallon,
grey jeans, boots, another one,
from another Honda, grey.


Driven madly through the dawn
from condominium to panic,
the junior salesman pushes in
between desire and consummation,
sweeper and boss. Dashboard strewn
with foiled antacid, he sees in Kingman's
lacquer Kingman's lackey, unaware,
despite his various degrees,
that the space is empty by design,
if unofficially, owned
by Kingman's secretary, Suze,
high school graduate,
who as he sits pulls up behind
and taps the horn of her new Corvette.
Puzzled for a second, finally
he understands, in time to see
her smile dissolve like windshield frost.
Backing out, he smiles across,
a new offense, sees his future
curling from her chromed exhausts.


Minx said...

I was mentality toying with a bumper sticker for each one of those, and trying to ignore all the 'my gear stick is bigger than yours' jokes.

Mine? It says...
"It's a witch thing - you wouldn't understand"

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

And they say people are like their pets... You bring new meaning to these things, Carver

Debi said...

Only you could create something so joyous from a mode of transport.

leslie said...

I like the Bug best, striking fear in Kingman's carburetor.

"...rituals of keys." Brilliant.

John said...

Thank you all, really. I was pretty sure no one would like this one. It's old. I can't be sure of the date, but it was typed on IBM System Six paper, truly paleo. I did tighten it up some...

leslie said...

If it's old, and we like it, that makes it 'classic', yes?