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Hey Mister, Your Lincoln Is Stinkin'


I’ve enjoyed writing for many years. I'm dedicating more time to the craft in my retirement days.

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
You think you can run faster
Then you do
Because Mom got you 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?
It’s been years
But 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”
The word was a poison jab
Into an adolescent heart
And your buddies were ruthless, too
If your shoes
Weren’t good enough
Weren’t Converse
Were buddies
See, you know
'Cuz 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 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 just 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 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
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 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
Eh, Mister?

© 2020 greg cain


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.

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