Cars


It was in New Orleans East

and was a job i didn’t like

amongst other jobs i didn’t like.

It was an enormous parking lot;

 i was to inspect rental cars

before they went to auction,

make a note of damage;

cigarette burns on the upholstery

dents in the fenders

etc.

New Orleans is hot and

this was the hottest place in New Orleans.

The tarmac reflected the sun

onto the cars and

the cars were made of steel.

Everything burned to the touch,

but the routine was simple;

open the door, burn my fingers,

turn both engine and air conditioning on

then close the door;

stand in the sun for five minutes, then

climb in and shut the door.

Inside was wonderful;

cool air blowing on my face,

watching the heat shimmer off the hood.

I would take my cap off,

smooth my hair and close my eyes,

the ring of sweat and the red line on my forehead

slowly disappearing.

It took about fifteen minutes per car, this inspecting,

and required me to hold my breath between cars

to prevent my throat from burning.

I remember, it was a black Cadillac:

open

burn

close

wait

in…

I sat waiting for the cool air to kick in

in my maroon leather world,

listening to the sound of the fan,

as the backs of my legs stuck to the seats.

My partner, Harry, was three rows down

and to the right,

i could see him kicking a tyre.

I rolled a reefer;

a twig pierced the paper;

i cursed and started again.

I turned the air conditioner down

and the radio on.

“Kurt Cobain was found dead today

above the garage of his

Seattle, Washington home,

he was twenty-seven”,

they announced on WRNO.

I turned the radio down

and the air conditioning up and

listened to the fan.

My world-view instantly altered;

i felt alone

again,

and i cried from my gut.

I have only ever cried this way once before,

in December 1980.

It was 1994 and i was twenty-three years old.

Later that year i moved to San Francisco

with my wife.

I am now forty years old and

no longer married.

I no longer remember what

my ex-wife sounds like,

nor

why i married her.

But i do remember

that lot in New Orleans East

with

the cars,

and Harry

and

Kurt.

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7 Responses to “Cars”

  1. Bitter, sweet memories :/ xxx.

  2. I was 20 when Lennon past hearing the news spoiled that evenings viewing of The Empire Strikes Back.
    At 34 when Kurt past I feel I was more mature in my acceptance of death and just found I uttered the word “Dick”

  3. Love the blog. Was more affected by Lennon’s death (I was 14 and Lennon’s death was my first “celebrity death”, followed five months later by my father’s death). Cobain’s death didn’t affect me that much, maybe because I never identified with him. I remember being more upset when Stevie Ray Vaughan died in 1990 and Jerry Garcia died in 1995. Just my experience..

  4. could physically feel this one. thx.

  5. michael w Says:

    Is Cobain death a moment in our generation we remember where we were .21 years old bosnia Nevermind on MTV all night,the JFK of the MTV generation

  6. Hope this long silence is due to a book deal and not writers block

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