Skip to main content

My Jalopy is Getting Sloppy

Poetry is the food of the soul. It's my greatest contribution to the world and an area I can always grow.

From the Junkyard to the Racetrack, these jalopies would race, get wrecked, and be repaired over and over again

From the Junkyard to the Racetrack, these jalopies would race, get wrecked, and be repaired over and over again

Drip, Drip....A Poem Dedicated to Jalopy Racing and Jalopies Everywhere

My Jalopy is getting sloppy

Between jumpstarts and broken parts

Runs real loud, but leaves a cloud

Her smoking engine, now a local legend

Past her glory, but she has a story

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Bought and paid and American made

It had some show, although long ago

Toys and whistles, flew like a missile

Went to race, from place to place

Paint was cherry, a dark cranberry

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Holly shifter, Johnson lifters

Stroker crank was mighty swank

Running large with a custom Carb

Big old smile, fast quarter mile

That checkered flag was in the bag

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

But then a bad feint, some traded paint

An inevitable crash when I was low on cash

She still was running, just not humming

At zero hour, shed’ lose horsepower

That finish line, no longer mine

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Years went by, I tried and tried

Couldn’t place, a big disgrace

Window missed, now off the list

It hurt my heart as I stripped off parts

Wasn’t funny, but I needed money

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Traded down, painted her brown

Covered the seats with old bedsheets

Primed and patched each scrape and scratch

Each dent and ding, oh how they sting

Turned the page as she showed her age

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Now the oil is leaking, springs are squeaking

Buttons worn, seats are torn

And the radio only plays on certain days

Mirror chipped, wires stripped

Carpet frayed, bushings decayed

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Water pump about to dump

Pistons rattle, a constant battle

Temperature rising, but not surprising

Still the

frustration with the hesitation

Burning gas while trying to pass

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Radiator wailing, probably failing

Bouncy shocks, broken locks

I keep hoping, but the trunk won’t open

Chrome strips have broken clips

Headlights shine, just not all the time

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Windshield cracks leave growing tracks

Some parts are lost, like the exhaust

Muffler too, just rusted through

Rear bumper is in a dumpster

No side mirror, another error

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Steering tight, pulls to the right

Chassis bent, but to what extent

Rusted wheels and leaky seals

Tires are bare, and there is no spare

Jack is gone, it’s at the Pawn

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

When it rains, she’s such a pain

Water leaks, brakes squeak

Windows fog, and it smells like dog

Defroster fan does what it can

Which is very little and non-committal

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Transmission fluid looks like sewage

Dirty brown, dripping on the ground

Leaking gasket, broken bracket

Hard to shift, if you get the drift

Sounds absurd, but first to third

Drip…

Drip, Drip…

Every part is broken, and she’s always smoking

Her quarter mile now takes a while

Almost required that she gets retired

Maybe find a copy of this old jalopy

Don’t know where or when, but maybe I could race again…

Wilbur “Willie” Berger of Newton, Kansas is shown here receiving the trophy that he was presented for winning the trophy dash at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, Labor Day 1957.

Wilbur “Willie” Berger of Newton, Kansas is shown here receiving the trophy that he was presented for winning the trophy dash at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, Labor Day 1957.

What Exactly is a Jalopy?

The term jalopy was first heard in the 1920's, a time when cheap transportation was in high demand. The Roaring Twenties were good times and automobile production was high in America. Yet due to the Great Depression, demand dropped and car manufacturers began shipping excess inventory to Canada or Mexico. Many of these cars ended up in Mexico’s port in the state of Veracruz, then transported to the capital of the state, Jalapa, to be sold in the Mexican market. With so many arrivals, the dockworkers began calling these cars Jalapas, which later morphed in Jalopies.

© 2021 Ralph Schwartz

Related Articles