October 4, 2012

Terry Phelan

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A T-BIRD

I

In a thousand TV commercials
The only moving thing
Was the hubcap of the T-bird.

II

I was of three opinions
Like a forked road
On which there are three T-birds.

III

The T-bird slid on the black ice.
It was a matter of one degree.

IV

A man and his dog
Are one.
A man and his dog and his T-bird
Are one.

V

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of V-6
Or the beauty of power steering,
The T-bird topless
Or just after.

VI

Sunlight filled the windshield
With blinding glass.
The visor of the T-bird
Blocked it, to and fro.
The reflection
Traced in the visor
An indecipherable glare.

VII

O ad men of New York,
Why do you imagine silver Porsche?
Do you not see how the T-bird
Drives under the skirts
Of the women about you?

VIII

I know Palmer penmanship
And how to diagram sentences;
But I know, too
That the T-bird is involved
In what I know.

IX

When the T-bird drove out of sight,
It marked the end
Of many youths.

X

At the sight of T-birds
Cruising a downtown strip,
Even the grandmothers
Would whistle appreciatively.

XI

He rode over Detroit
In a horse-less carriage.
Once, an inspiration overtook him,
In that he foresaw
The shadow of an assembly line
For T-birds.

XII

The radio is on.
The T-bird must by flying.

XIII

It was the end of the world all our lives.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The T-bird sat
In the last row at the drive-in.

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005