Riding Alone in my Automobile


Girls for me have always been like drivers’ ed class.

I don’t mean the sultry, disheveled quasi-classroom

on 76th and Hampton, during the summer of ’91—

Easy Method Driving School, which we called Sleazy Method.

Crazy Michelle behind the wheel with us

Screaming wildly at innocent mistakes

Drinking coffee to maintain a snatch of sanity,

Chain-smoking cigarettes between rides, and

Smoking-hot babes riding in the backseat; me

Adjusting the rear-view for a clear-view.



No, girls have been more like the street signs:


Pedestrian Crossing—Yeah, about that exciting; like flossing.

No Passing Zone—Hey, it’s a no-anything zone that set the tone.

Two-way Traffic—Heading in opposite directions can be quite tragic.

Dangerous Curves—Too often in all the wrong places, or what I don’t deserve

Stay in Your Lane—All attempts are redirected in vain.

Dangerous Intersection—Avoid getting slapped and use discretion.

Lane Ends—Just when it was getting somewhere, “Let’s be friends.”

No U Turn—Woulda, coulda, shoulda and got burned.

Do Not Enter—I won’t go there, which issue is at the center.

Stop—Every variation I’ve been given, from bottom to top.



And yet I was driven,

Learning to drive so I could have the freedom to

go on dates with all the girls who’d avoided me

and therefore, voided me.

So Mandy could tell me my inherited-from-grandma

grey Cavalier was a “cute” car, the day she took a ride

when her college boyfriend’s Firebird was a no-show.

So I could learn “sensible” isn’t a synonym for “sexy,”

At least not for a high school student who claimed,

“I like my women like I like my cars”—use your imagination for that one

So I could spend exorbitantly, enhancing

The wheels, sound system, and radar detecting abilities,

While forgetting to add oil…ever.

So I could get a job to pay for insurance

To own the car to get to my job

To pay for gas to drive my car to get to my job.

So I could consummate the American love-affair

With my car, someday using the need to fix this or that

As an ironic excuse to escape

My beautiful, loving wife to the garage.