Used Cars in Poetry: My Autos Rolled Through My Life
Cars and Humankind
Truly, owning cars in America is special. Many historians have recognized the introduction of the automobile as a major contributing factor to rapid growth for many countries, especially the United States. In fact, throughout the world, cars are associated with freedom and adventure in literature and poetry. For instance, songs honoring these magnificent machines span every genre of music, and verses about automobiles may be prevalent in lyrics about romance, individuality, and other aspects of human nature. Although the automobile is considered an important source of greenhouse emissions, the symbolic power of the car is still prevalent in our modern civilization.
Currently, used automobiles make up a staggering proportion of these machines. Estimates place the used car market in the U.S. to be nearly half of all sales at over $300 billion dollars. Essentially, the automobile, regardless of the power source, will remain a fixture of our culture for years to come. I thought I would reflect on that point in verse. Enjoy.
Have you ever owned a used car?
Used Cars Have Rolled Through My Life
Fighting the wind facing the sands,
Window portal to the road and shores,
Mere mortal moving portals more than lore.
Wheels of iron wheels of fortune,
Steering and veering this way and that,
Spin, Roll and turn - until I stop,
Rotating my fate while faith my drive,
My seat time machine reminding and binding,
Reversing where I’ve gone before forward.
Were you a rich person's toy?
Did some teenager guide you with joy?
Automatic or stick in the floor,
We ride metal and flesh to open doors.
You were used and battered,
You were battling being misused,
We both need repairs,
Entirety tires require retirement.
Inspections within and wearing without,
Introspection deep inside to engine,
My transition an admission things and ambitions,
Of transmission grinding to move on.
Back to my first kiss,
My first miss of a thrown baseball,
Or was it a basket ball on a journey?
I fail like bad breaks of morality to recall,
But the hood of that Ford truck knows.
I wasn’t a daring Romeo,
Rather akin to pretend superhero,
Let’s face it,
Who wouldn’t have wanted the flying mammal’s car?
Then, the guy made out of aluminum,
Who melted like tin when thinking of home,
Or the journalist he craved,
Or often saved.
All fuzzy at 55 mph,
All relative while I’m sitting still,
Stuck in traffic jamming away,
In my car not some kind of mobile climbing up a hill.
I think about my first rushed visit to a doctor,
Maybe Mom told me about it,
Baby sick with a cold,
Running water for my runny nose,
We took the old dinosaur,
I had the flu but the wagon flew faster,
Winding through streets an ambulance,
And faster still.
Mom and Dad didn’t mind the physician’s bill,
I was safe until I could find steel,
To take a drive to doctors today,
With all their gadgets in a cave.
Groceries, pets, travel,
I take a map to unravel,
The shortcuts and GPS,
Because a superhero is always on time,
Unless he loose his watch,
Then who watches for him?
Probably not an oil and route change,
Waiting to exchange my exhaustion for dashboard,
For a cool liquid pulsing,
Chilled water for my radiator tea for my bones.
My gears are slowing my traction slipping,
My body is wearing down with sun and rain,
My fuel is good but we both work on drive,
Just make it to the healing garage.
I'm not fuming for trouble,
A caring old person (cop) gave me a ticket,
To speed on to my house with a farewell.
But I pay off-ramps no fare,
I’m on rumbling interstate,
I’m free on the freeway,
I’m going on the highway,
Or the back routes to roads recorded or lost.
Yes, U-turns whirl me about,
Forcing detours when I want clear visibility,
Stranded and hitch hiking on the curbs and curves of dirt paths.
But the T-intersection isn’t stalling,
Stop and go my trip never ends,
I feel sorrow used auto,
I grasp understanding my machinery will shine again,
Rats! That leaves me to cruise and dream of comic books.
Do you reflect on life in your car?
Cars and Creative Works
Without question, the presence of automobiles in our daily lives has sparked imagination in creative minds. From the fictional vehicles of the Transformers franchise, ignited in 2007, to works of horror, autos are a constant in modern artistic endeavors. However, aged or fresh off the assembly line, generally the purpose of a car is to provide transportation. Experiences grow and change us as we travel the streets of Earth and human existence. We may build better friendships along the roads of life, exemplified in the 1989 movie, Driving Ms. Daisy.
Below I’ve provided books about our relationship with these machines. There are many other scholarly and fictional books for you to research. Explore what the presence of cars means to you. After all, we are together on an exciting journey known as life.
Books about Cars
- Adler, D. (2000). The art of the automobile: the 100 greatest cars. New York, NY: HarperResource.
- Dusen, C. V. (2008). If I built a car. New York: Scholastic.
- Fleming, I., & Burningham, J. (1964). Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: the magical car. London: Cape.
- Hester, B. L., & Hester, B. L. (2011). Car: the definitive visual history of the automobile. New York: Dorling Kindersley.
- King, S., & Lipska-Nakoniecznik, A. (2019). Christine. Warszawa: Prószyński Media.
- Leffingwell, R. (2017). Porsche 70 years: there is no substitute. Minneapolis: Motorbooks.
- Mueller, M. (2014). The complete book of Corvette: every generation since 1953. Minneapolis, MN: Motorbooks.
- Newton, T. (1999). How cars work. Vallejo, CA: Black Apple Press.
- Setright, L. J. K. (2004). Drive on!: a Social History of the Motor Car. Granta.
- Sutton, N. (2013). The DeLorean story: the car, the people, the scandal. Sparkford, Teovil, Somerset, UK: Haynes Publishing.