July 28, 2007

Car show

My whole family liked cars, including my mother who claimed, after her big crash in the late fifties, to hate driving, but still loved her mustang. I used to listen, rapt, to my brother and his friends rhapsodize over such mysterious and alluring automotive esoterica like "candy flake" and "bubble skirts." My dad had great taste in cars. He was always bringing home some stylish rarity that he found in his travels. One year it was a two-toned finned Plymouth whose automatic transmission was accessed with deep chunky buttons, located in the center of the steering column... the kind of buttons you used to press on the tabletop juke boxes at diners, only these buttons shifted the car instead of selecting a tune. My favorite car was the vintage 1956 black Cadillac, pristine and portentous, which I drove to the junior prom. That was back in the days when gas was 39 cents a gallon, and chrome was the coin of the realm.

Here I am with my 1999 pony. When it died, I thought I'd get another. But I got a truck instead.

Over the years, I've covered a number of classic car shows for the local paper. Whenever I arrived at one, I always sought out first and foremost the inevitable 1956/57 Chevy Belair - the non-plus-ultra of halcyon collectibles. There's usually at least one - either the robin's egg or the coral two-tone. They make me feel good all over again.

July 10, 2007

Haiku from the mall / 1 - 9

Christmas in July
but amid the twinkling lights
the usual throngs

Rhaphis palms flutter
in the fountain’s drafty rush
It’s cool as a cave

While his mother shops
the child in the red stroller
calmly picks his nose

Three teen-age girls laugh
The boys in Wendy’s take it
as a compliment

Snatches of music
lurking in ubiquitous
‘cellos: Manilow

The aged couple
holding hands on the oak bench
filled with burning grace

A wren has slipped in
and swoops down to the fountain
she’s afraid to land

A Wiemaramer
sleeps in the pet shop window
I think of Snow White

She shuts the car door
and leaves dangling outside
a swatch of green skirt

July 2, 2007

Swept away

With the wildfire now doused and dissolved, clear skies have returned to the Cape.

The Florida peninsula, its ribald sea-lapped profile laid supine like the beachgoers it draws, is ever swept by airs both absolving and calamitous. As resilient as it is ravaged, this ancient pile of shells is once again basking in errant showers under hot blue skies.

And that's the charm and danger of this tropical tabula rasa. It is as dazed and forgetful of yesterday's brushfires and tomorrow's hurricanes, as are the sandpipers on the shore of the alligators in the reeds. But my little beach is still a bike ride away.