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Hey Mister, Your Lincoln Is Stinkin'


I have been writing off and on for many years. Now that I'm retired from the work force, I'm dedicating more time to the craft I enjoy.

Hey Mister

Your Lincoln

Is stinkin’

Smells like gas

Out your

Back end

And your front end is dented

Is that car rented?

You don’t drive it like it’s yours

More like you stole it

It looks wrecked

All to heck

And it seems like you’re driving really close to the curb

So I can’t be on the right side of the road

Which is my right

On the bike

And I’m not obnoxious about it

Like some guys I know

Who take the lane

Just because the law says they can

Even when they shouldn’t

Because it’s not prudent

I once had a guy

After a big bike buy

Tell me to ride it like I stole it

So I did

And it was fast

Like new tennis shoes

When you’re a kid

And you think you can run faster

Then you do run faster

Because Mom got you some Keds

Or Winners or the Winners II

Because she couldn’t afford All-Stars

But Winners were made by Converse, too

A decent shoe

Just not the best

Sold at JC’s Place

Penney’s, you know

Or was it Sears?

Probably the latter

Like it matters

But Mom had credit cards for both

And what did matter

Was they were ‘Cons

They were good enough

Which was important in 7th grade

And 8th grade, too

Because what they would do

Your buddies in Montgomery

They would call your shoes “Buddies”

And your buddies were ruthless, too


If your shoes

Weren’t good enough

Weren’t Converse

Were buddies

And your pants were flooding one day

And you went home crying

Felt like dying

For the fun they made of you

And your mom cried, too

Or at least mine did

She was like that, you know

Her emotions would go

Where mine went

Like a sympathetic cough

Or a yawn

I once read that if you yawn

And the person you’re with doesn’t

They’re a psychopath

No empathy

You see

But it turns out to be

Something different

More like, Do I know ya?

‘Cuz if I know ya

I might show ya

That I feel ya

When you oscitate

Ain’t that great?

To know you’re not a psychopath

At least not by one person’s definition?

You’re not

A really long shot

If you are

And anyway

We’ve gone a long way

From when I started to say

Your car

That Lincoln

Is stinkin’

Smells like gas

Coming out of your

Tail pipe

The air is ripe

With the fumes of


I can’t grade it

85 or 87

Or maybe it’s premium

I’m pretty sure it’s unleaded

Not by my nose

But because the dreaded

The leaded

Poisoned the air

For far too long

It was wrong

And we righted that ship

Set sail another way

So today

We only use gas that doesn’t have


Or Pb

As it be

We use the other stuff

And the ozone

Pays the price

Instead of

Our own eyes

And lungs

And nostrils

And nose hairs

I’m not scared

Maybe concerned

I believe

The change is real

Check the records

It’s warmer

And it’s changed


Might sound strange

It’s called warming

But some storming

Is in winter

And it’s colder

So the denier

Can fan the fire

And hide the real desire

To keep John D.’s


And their descendants


On the market

Put their money there and park it

Those companies will stay

For many a day

And anyway

Might as well get something from the bad

My dad

Always wished

He’d bought Winnebago

During the oil embargo

Back in ‘73

He said one day there’d be

A Winnie

That was mini

And efficient with the petrol

It was a goal

Many vehicle makers had anyway

Then one day

The prices went down again

And then

The 40 MPG Subaru

Was not the road’s guru


The real puzzler

Was that the guzzlers

Grew even more popular

And then came to be

Even bigger


With so many cylinders

Not six

Not four

Twice more

Than four

At eight

The power was great

The MPG would devastate

If oil prices increased

Which they did

When I was a kid

And an adult

But then

They dropped again

And John D’s


Or the ones that came from Standard

Became the standard

With names like BP

Which stands for “butt picker”

My wife used to say

When she would play

With our daughter

And call her one

Just for fun

Still a stock to keep eyes on

Despite Deepwater Horizon

And the kill of marine life

And the pain and strife

Caused for folks

On the coast

Who saw things die

With their own eyes

Almost like a disease

And like Exxon Valdez

But things happen

When man moves ahead

But instead

Of saying

We shouldn’t develop

And grow and innovate

Leave ourselves prostrate

We should say

Let’s be thoughtful

As we do

Because move forward we must

That’s the way it is

They were here first

But we are here, too

So the right thing to do

Is coexist

Not raise a fist

And say

No way

No how

Because there is a way

Especially now

As intelligent as we are

We can make cars

That don’t use gas

And smell like

Behind parts

The science

Can drive compliance

If we choose

And decide whose

Side we are on

It should be the side of everyone

And everything

Mother Earth

Every creature

Every being

Including those who live but don’t care about money

And those who do

Like me and you

Who need it

To live

Including the critters

Who’ve seen us litter

And do other stuff

And survive

Even thrive

But some didn’t make it

They couldn’t take it

Let’s call it a mistake

It’s one we made

Give ourselves a below-average grade

And do better next time

Let’s sublime

In the archaic sense

Raise our game

Add a different fame

To this strange period in history

Create a millennia-long mystery

Something that Yoda might ask

As he’s holding up a mask

I mean, if he was real:

Think of that I wonder how they did

In the era of that crazy Covid

How’d they excel

How’d they do so well

To expel

To get rid of that smell

That smell of gas

That’s coming from your


Or actually

It no longer is

Gee whiz

Ain’t that grand?

Grand it sure is

With us The Force is

Old Yoda could verbalize

And then roll his big eyes

And twitch his long ears

Intervened by too many have the years

Know we will not

How it is that they got

To this wonderful spot

Where we all thrive

Are alive

Because they considered us

Without even knowing us

One day

Way back when




greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Jason - indeed, it really is amazing. And yet it's also not all that surprising when you begin to understand how power is brokered in the world. One can and should hope that we will do better as days and years pass on. I wish it to be so for my kids and their kids...and their kids, too. Good weekend, my friend.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Ann - well, that's now on my reading list. I've not heard of it. Last time I read Bradbury, I believe, it was Fahrenheit 41. I am now interested in this Dandelion Wine book.

And, yes, ain't it so? There's something it does to the brain, the psyche, the way you look at and feel about life.

Good weekend, Miss Ann!

Jason Nicolosi from AZ on September 11, 2020:

Cool poem Greg. I really enjoyed it. It is truly amazing we are still burning fossil fuels. They are harmful to our planet and its inhabitants. It's greed that has prevented us from moving forward from these types of harmful fuels. There are better technologies. We just need to move towards them and away from the gas-guzzling beast.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. Definitely wish more of us would get "the message," too. Be well and have a good weekend.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 11, 2020:

Your thing about the tennis shoes reminds me of 'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury, a charming story about growing up, and a similar thing was related.

We all have this idea that fresh and new means it looks and works better!

Liz Westwood from UK on September 11, 2020:

This is a fascinating train of thought with a powerful message.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Lora - thanks to you for the kind words, too. I can remember that the first time I really understood how bad pollution in the air can be is when I was a young man driving solo across country from South Dakota to Washington, DC to go pick up my sister and bring her home to SD. Interstate 90 through SD, Minnesota, Wisconsin and so forth is one beautiful drive, and it was really pretty and isolated back in the day (circa 1983). But what was really striking way back then was when you got in the vicinity of Flint, Michigan...you could see the air, the dark particles in the air, and you could smell it. It was really, really striking, and as I said, particularly so for a young me who'd never really seen or experienced that first hand.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Flourish - the flooding pants story is, of course, also a true one. Kids are ruthless, you know, and so when my blue jeans shrunk up after being washed because they fit when they came out of the store but they were made of not-pre-shrunk-cotton and who knew? Anyway, I didn't know and I put them on to go to school in 7th grade and I was horrified. I tried to conceal just how very short they were by pulling them down a bit, undoing the button and zipper enough so they'd come down to cover at least a part of my shoes, leaving my shirt untucked to cover the arrangement. Well...when the first guy noticed that the butt of my pants was practically down to the back of my knees (hey, this would have been stylish today, I'm telling ya!), the whole gang never let up the rest of the day. "Flooded pants, flooded pants! Ooh ooh! Hoo!" Mom was always supportive and empathetic. Too empathetic, I think, because she felt it as bad as (or worse than!) I did.

The polar bears, the ice cap, the other undeniable evidence to support the change...it's there, it's real, we need to not just acknowledge that but also do something about it. I'm no activist, mind you, but I absolutely and completely believe in doing my part, our part. If we don't talk about it, no progress will ever be made.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Ann - it was a little bit of stream-of-consciousness, but it almost linearly represents what I was thinking about in the minutes and hours after I encountered that vehicle on my bike ride that day. The first line came to me as I was muttering to myself over the really strong, strong odor of fuel oil. Definitely something wrong with that dude's ride. Free association after that. I tell you, every time I get that care free feeling, going fast with the wind in my hair and face, I think of my mom buying me tennis shoes when I was very young. When I got them I used to think I'd be able to run faster, so I would go race everyone that would race me, running all through the neighborhood in our small little on-base housing area at Eielson AFB near Fairbanks, Alaska. Anyway...

Thanks again for stopping by, Ann.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 11, 2020:

Sha - I did actually read it aloud a few times before publishing it. It is hard to get going and stay going! Haha! I don't think I could do it with nary, but perhaps some well-timed breaths instead. A '62 Caddy sounds like a great car to learn in! I think I learned in a '72 Ford station wagon, which had like a 400 motor in it, something huge. It had so much power! Anyway, the parallel parking was pretty easy for me because the only place we could find to do it was on a completely empty street. Perfect!

The school I went to, George Washington Carver Jr. High, got us a deal on Converse All-Star high tops when I was on the 7th grade basketball team. They were able to secure the rejects/imperfects at a discounted rate so we got them for a little bit of nothing. And, of course, the defects were not anywhere to be found. Those were the only high top Cons I ever owned. But now, as an old man, I own a pair of black low quarter Converse All-Stars. I couldn't help myself.

Lora Hollings on September 10, 2020:

What an imaginative romp you've taken us on, Greg. You've given us a lot to think about in this poem, as you've addressed this Mister in his Lincoln. Your poem takes on some serious issues about our fossil fuel consuming society and all of its consequences. A wonderful write!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 10, 2020:

The mom crying left a lump in my throat then the sad pollution reminder about the ozone layer made me think of the dying polar bears.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 10, 2020:

What a romp this one is! You fire so many things at us but it still fits the rhythm and keeps us on our toes in more ways than one. A quick-fire train of thought which gave us much to peruse. Thanks for the entertaining ride, Greg!


Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 10, 2020:

Whew! I'm out of breath keeping up with your pace, Box! You're all over the place with this one but you always reel us back into the theme of the damage we've done, strides we've made, and regressions, too.

I would love to hear you recite this piece. It would have to be rapid fire with nary a breath from start to finish. You up for it?

By the way, I learned how to drive in our family car, a '62 Cadillac. Parallel parking that baby for the test was a bugger. Than goodness the instructor gave me two tries. I don't think I've ever parallel parked since that day back in '73.

Oh, and yeah. Converse all the way. High tops. That's all I'd wear when I played basketball in school. Still own a pair, as a matter of fact.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 10, 2020:

Haha! Right, I never did own one, either, Bill. Nothing nearly that big in a car. I have owned and still own a truck because it is super convenient. I wish it made 100 mpg but it’s just a tad over 20, and better than that on the highway. It could be better still if they’d build ‘em that way...

And as for the sun and what not...eastern Washington nearby my home here is also suffering like you read about right now. Bad deal, and lots of it going on all around.

Thanks again for giving this a look see.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 10, 2020:

A brilliant ride, my friend. As a matter of record, I never owned a Lincoln. Don't think I've ever even ridden in one. No Caddies either. I feel bad riding in anything that gets under 20 mpg. Man, you took us all over the place with this one...climate change...look no further than the sky above us here in western Washington. The sun ain't supposed to be orange, is it???

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 10, 2020:

Lorna - how true it is. This piece was inspired by a bike ride I took the other day...the Lincoln in front of me for approximately three stop signs had a strong smell of raw fuel coming out the back of it. Something was obviously wrong with the car, of course, but the phrase “hey Mister, you’re Lincoln is stinkin’” popped into my head and stayed with me for the next couple hours on my bike. I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed the work, Lorna. Thanks again.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on September 10, 2020:

Thanks, Eric. Kind of a trip down the lane of old. It was a fun write, for sure. Happy Thursday!

Lorna Lamon on September 10, 2020:

You took me on a journey Gregg and thankfully it wasn't in that Lincoln. The ozone layer does suffer because of all this pollution and sadly we pay the price. Great poem.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 09, 2020:

I surely did like this, from Converse to road hogs to gas hogs.