Too Many Horses (Why I Don't Drive)

Automobiles owned,
driven and reacted to,
starting with the one
that ran over my dog,
but not limited to,
includes this mortal list
of mechanical turmoil:

One 1965 Ford Mustang,
which my dad owned
as a shiny Great Society driver.
We put ice in the air conditioner
and it melted into cold air
from Texas to Arizona.

One green Oldsmobile stationwagon,
my mom's, which we drove from Dallas
to the far west corner of Wyoming
right at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
into the denouement of a late 70s green bomb,
a handover in high school. Mark Hirte,
my so-called neighborhood friend,
put dog shit on my windshield once,
but I forgave him after he died
in a restaurant robbery.

I pass by all apparently random,
thoughtless acts. Not my job
to write people up for transitional,

One highly efficient blue Toyota Corolla,
four-door, another hand me down,
which I drove to college in Arizona,
then to a grisly death toward a U2 show,
where the real streets have no name,
then got married, went off the edge
of the financial world. Oblivion bound,
oh, the vast emptiness I have found.

One hitchhike out of that desert,
home in somebody else's white truck,
the wind in our hair, grit in our teeth.
In other people's cars I get careless and free.
Though, at times, my century makes me
go for the brake on the passenger's side.

Hard to trust when your are co-commuting
on the drag strip of fools.

One series of turnover cars, gas guzzlers,
four-door, family friendly, snow weary,
lacerated dents over one wheel well,
chains coming apart in a storm,
the motor a drum of pain on the paint.

One red Nissan truck, a mighty steel stead,
drove me from shifty Phoenix to New England,
out of danger I, the rising Phoenix, out of danger,
into trouble, into a world of need.

One silver Datsun, sporty, or so I believed,
kept me well until the ghost in the machine,
the Kachina spirit of my dead mother,
blew a motor for lack of oil. Death to husk,
no oil to very little soil. Sold it for one-hundred
single dollar bills.

All the high-end hijinks
of Porches and Jags,
all rented to deceive me, so I bought
a Volkswagon Rabbit, with plates
that rang, "Live free or die!" May oui!
Part of my mapped-out plan for eternity.
Bought it for two hundred dollars
as an act of rebellion against
the smog-belching stink.

One Taurus, circa '94,
forty miles one way to work,
a lifetime to get back,
the stereo blasting a skin
to shield me from the world,
until the day that I,
a red bull in a colonial china shop,
got too many horses spinning
in my head.

Oh, the little hobbit hole
expectations of me.

One two-thousand dollar Honda Civic,
belching smoke because, truthfully,
I know nothing about engines,
only the high-beam up ahead.

Now I have to fix it. That's my responsibility.
The heart burns fuel, and it's expensive,
the engine wears down with each little decision,
each bump, each turn, cracking the crankcase,
chipping the paint around the chrome,
the crunch of each microbe
cracking the windshield
in a terrifying roar
only mites can hear,
the mirror getting dull,
dislodged, dangerously so.

Then the door handle breaks.

I mean, it's cheap stuff, this flesh,

The tires will eventually go flat, or worse,
and before you are there, here, or anywhere,
this thing, this life is just a shell of scars,
reminders of cautionary tales to tell.

An Official Statement from Rodrigo et Exciso Industries

We most humbly apologize
for the series of unfortunate events
leading to the catastrophic batch
of pancake mix products
used to sanctify your
national rituals

Although, for reasons
beyond our control,
as well as those we can,
we cannot fully divulge, recite,
enunciate or simply explain
those circumstances leading
to the incidents in question,
our hearts got out to the families
of those who experienced
death or discomfort or both
from the clearly overzealous
applications of our potions, mixes
and accessories

We also thank your priesthood
and supporting public officials
for their patience and continued

Those relationships mean everything
to us because Rodrigo et Exciso Industries
is, if nothing else, a people place

We are proud the many denominations
of your faith have chosen our pancake mix
and asundry gifts and necessary toggles,
brushes and rubs are so much a part
of your holy houses

Your worship means the world to us

As you can imagine
those behind the so-called
“pancake plot” have been
severely punished

You can trust us on that score

While, certainly, the regrettable fallout
over the unfortunate event has been
trying for both of our nations,
our methods against the miscreants
were for more painful, and, long-lasting
than those horrors felt, in the last hours
by their victims
We at Rodrigo et Exciso Industries
remain supremely satisfied
with the high quality of our
pancake mixtures, creams
and agents for fast relief

Working closely now
with your priests and personages
of high renown who have paid us,
for your patronage,
we have made great improvements
to our mixtures, creams, fixtures,
accessories and agents for fast belief,
as well as our security measures to ensure
the purity of our products and applications:
The Make-a-Mix Spirit Cleanse causes
no more moaning excess, rapid heart rates,
vomiting, heaves, sores
and so any further anxiety
is no longer necessary

Which means our products
can be used in your rituals
without any more tumult
or torture than is
absolutely necessary

No more stigma
No more stain

Blood is no longer
needed as a substitute
for milk, whiskey, or water
(depending on the denomination):
A graft of skin will do

And when it’s time
to put your ass in the air
to receive our golden spike,
there will be plenty of time
(and advanced notice)
for you to become mortal,
wounded, of plaster and still