Sunday, September 14, 2008

Steel & Chrome Parade
a poem by Peter Menkin

The parade of town & county people
and painted cars with chrome
tailpipes was a glee on old Grant
street--miles long parade.

A testimony to American
history, 55 Chevy Station Wagon
with red back lights
like a jet plane nose.
Sculpted Shelby Cobra,
a coveted car from Hollywood
amidst the rolling thunder
patrolled by local police
in their late model fast pursuit
vehicles, complete with air scoops.

The girls sit close to the guys
on the bench seats, though
a Ford Mustang (worth $20,000)
has buckets--edge thigh to thigh,
hers against the stick shift.
A tuneful race of piston sounds,
clouds of dark exhaust after
sunset to crowds who stand, sit,
call out and gawk at industrial

promises and the freedom that
auto brings. Sex, steel, paint
is a hot combination on a June
evening, for county excitement.
Mating calls to drag and thump,
teenage postures, and adult
moments with some families attuned
to their social position in a
maroon 48 Plymouth coupe. What
now, a festive undertaking
like a community dance in thunder
and success. Glory, excitement!

Summertime summertime stars a
song of parade in car colors
brought out for show and bravado.
A cultural dance on wheels into
the night, and tomorrow, too
on the regular roads and driveways.

This is an endless parade
of favored and polished pets;
even the Chevrolet 409,
will ride around seeking
a Woody Wagon or something sleek.
We have met the 21st Century
and it is still us, again, on parade.

Audio reading of the poem is here, read by the writer, aspiring poet Peter Menkin:

This poem from 2000 recently posted on the Academy of American Poets writers workshop received few comments, I am sorry to say. But I like the work, and here it is from its almost original version eight years ago when the car parade took place in Novato, California (Marin County), north of San Francisco.

This note to a fellow poet was posted on the writers workshop by me:

I had an idea that not everyone knows about car parades. This one was held in Novato, California (about 45,000), and there people fix up older and even old cars. They are stunning! So many people line the street for this popular event, it is like a town fair.

Novato is in Marin County, north of San Francisco by about 30 or so miles. I believe they hold the parade yearly. That year I did go to the car parade, and I was impressed by it and remembered there is in America such a thing as "car culture." So the poem.

Notes on photograph: The Reverend Richard Helmer, Rector of Church of Our Saviour, Mill Valley, California USA took this snapshot and gave permission to use it on my blog. The blog is mainly spiritual and religious poetry, and though the poem posted today is about Chrome & Steel Parade, I thought Father Richard's snapshot a good choice since it shows flowers and has chrome. Readers of this blog will have noted that most photographs accompanying the poetry shows a flower or flowers.

So here is another flower shot, location of snapshot unknown.

As a P.S., Peter Menkin attends Church of Our Saviour, Mill Valley, California USA, located in Marin County, north of San Francisco. By the way, the man at the piano also illustrating the poem shows The Reverend Richard Helmer at work. The title is "Richard at Piano."

"Prokofiev: Sonata No. 3 in a, Op. 28
Liszt: La Campanella
Chopin: Etudes Op. 10, Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5; Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53, Prelude in G
Debussy: Estampes"

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