Tales from the Motor Trade

Gary Hardaway

Passive Aggressives

We drag-ass in, each one later than the last.
We share an ugly day’s excuses- traffic on 75.
A pissing rain makes Texas drivers lose their minds.
A southbound accident inspires
northbound rubberneckers to crawl, awed by
the twisted, smoldering Corolla and Cavalier.
None of us wants to be here
but none of us has the where-with-all
to be in any other place.

Trade-in Waiting for the Auctioneers

The ’05 blue Elantra chirps away,
its chip-brained, self-protective, security
system draining the battery dead
in small degrees, the full-throated wail
at every rumbling freeway truck
or incidental gust reduced now
to a small cry not unlike
a hungry baby bird’s waiting
for a mother whose feathers cling
to the muzzle of a feral cat.

Branded

First, the warm weather wear–
a dark blue golf shirt
with company logos stitched
on each short sleeve.

Then, magnetic name tags—
cheesy little plastic laminate
ovals with the logo again,
one’s name, and the phrase
“Since _ _ _ _”, the blanks
filled in with the year one started.

After that, the cool weather shirts–
light blue, buttoned down, the logo
large between the shoulder blades–
rumored to be sold to us, half price,
by our Owner’s friend’s little
uniform start-up.

And now, the zippered, black,
weather-repellent jackets
with the logo just above the heart.

Regarding Your Appraisal

Your ‘03 Kia Rio hatchback
with manual transmission, clutch slip,
and failed air conditioning

is worth much more to you as transportation
than to us as an investment.
Consider the tires

with their faint memory of tread;
the unmistakable clunk and bounce
of worn-out struts and ball joints up front.

Consider, too, the faint stale smell
of spilled beer and dog piss,
the odometer’s 162,372 miles,

the Coca Cola stain on the front seat
that almost resembles a detail from
the Shroud of Turin. Take the generous offer

of 500 dollars. The 2500 to which you feel
entitled isn’t in the turn of Fortune’s Wheel
for you today or any other day.

A Confirmation of Relativity

The quietude is dreadful. Without
the background sonic turbulence
of currently popular songs,

our time here is left without accelerant.
It burns slowly as rust
on an abandoned tractor.

The buzz of Beyonce
or Taylor Swift distracts us from
the measured tick tick tick

of analog watches glanced at,
in the quiet, at every
three or four sips of coffee.

Ah, the speakers wake with a wave
of Daft Punk chorus. Time resumes
benign, indifferent ambience.

———————————————————————————————-

Work by Gary Hardaway has appeared at The Miscreant, Manifold, Camroc Press Review, Connotation Press, The Olentangy Review, and Blue Fifth Review. He currently lives in Texas- his native state-and has earned his living as an urban planner and architect.

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