“Bright Blue Muscle Car” by Mike Good

Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2018: Editor’s Choice


Nine Lives by Jeff Doleman

Image: “Nine Lives” by Jeff Doleman. “Bright Blue Muscle Car” was written by Mike Good for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, February 2018, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Mike Good


My father once owned a bright blue muscle car.
He sold it to buy my mother a ring.
I wanted to bring him back a bright blue muscle car.

Instead I stole a bright blue poem. In his driveway I parked
it until exhaust flooded the lawn. I left the idle on. Clouding
the spot where my father once kept his bright blue muscle car,

the smoke was gray and black and charred,
as if clouds cobbled the yard. I found it startling—
this urge to buy my father a bright blue muscle car.

He is asking, if a black cat crosses your path how far
from your way do you walk to avoid bad luck? The cat hissing,
“My father was crushed by your father’s bright blue muscle car.”

Like stepping in mud we felt the brakes in mother’s car.
Her car red and out of frame. Would you believe, I am thinking
it is time to buy my dad a bright blue muscle car.

What paint paves over mangy fur, the driveway scars?
Some men will not reciprocate your love though given everything.
My father once owned a bright blue muscle car.
I wanted to bring him back a bright blue muscle car.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
February 2018, Editor’s Choice

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Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “Maybe it’s because it made me think of my own father, but this poem moves me personally as it explores that hopeless desire to please that is so stereotypical of the father-son dynamic. The figure of the father haunts this poem in the same way that it haunts the photograph, always out of frame, but still owning it, the ringing refrain a lasting shadow that never leaves.”

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