Daily Archives: February 13, 2010

Stock Car Race

My life’s such a mess
right now that all I can do
is watch a stock car race. 

Stock cars
tell me I’m OK right now,
that it’s far more than left turns
from start to finish
that gets you a win,
that taking the line
you can drive is a good strategy
unless something obvious presents itself,
that wrecks are survivable
though they can change the course
of the rest of the field,
that the win eludes you
more often than not, but that
finishing the race
is always a source of honor
and peace. 

My life is such a mess
right now that even if
I jump from my seat and cheer
for the number and the color scheme
I’ve chosen to support,
it will affect nothing once it’s over.
But I’ll do it anyway, to spite
my fuckups and betrayals
and as a way of praying,
hands gripping the wheel
and muscling through,
doing what I need to do
to finish, to stay clear,
to convince myself
that even if I cut a tire
and slide up the track
into the barrier, even though
my barriers aren’t safer
I’ll be able to walk away
and come back next time.

My life is such a mess
right now.  Bills and damage,
haunting unfinished business
and the scent
of what’s in the drain I’m circling
hang all around.
There’s nothing else to do
but watch a stock car race
and pretend I’m in control,
pretend it doesn’t take a team
to get me back on the track
and a spotter to say, “stay high,
stay high, you’ve got it, caution’s out…”

There’s not much to say
that can’t be said with a ton of steel
and eight hundred horsepower
tuned to run flat out
that is then manacled to finesse
and a chess master’s logic.  I wish
I understood the combination,
that I had bothered to learn something
about it before I got this far down
a slowing, excuse filled, clogged road.
There’s not much to say about that

except that if I ever get off this couch
I’ll know something about my rotten self
before I get behind the wheel.  I’ll try
something different.  Maybe ask for help,
maybe build a team, maybe
race cleaner, smarter,
find a groove that moves me forward,
stop cursing when I’m sucked back
because I screwed up my choice.

But today, my life is such a mess
that I’m just going to watch
a stock car race.
Maybe a couple. 
Maybe more.

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Publication notice…

“Current Events Roundup,” a recent poem, was published today in New Verse News.

This is a journal devoted to featuring topical, politically progressive work on a daily basis.  I’ve published here before,  and always like to take the time to highlight the work James Penha is doing there.

Please take a moment to check it out, and visit it often if you like what you see.