“The Candy-Apple Red-Orange 1949 Ford Hot Rod Custom Cruiser Says Goodbye” by Guinotte Wise

Guinotte Wise


We called it a lead sled
low and slow, but it was
only one of those. It would
do 100 with no exertion.
Chopped and lowered
headers and pipes let you know
it was around, like a summer
storm announces itself
not always unwelcome
painted red-orange like an
aging hussy with too much
rouge, but floor that sucker
and it was young again
ready for the night, the 
streets, a show-off drag with
a fancy Ram pickup whose
driver was open-mouthed in
the rearview mirror, or slow
maneuvers around the town
square. A rebuilt ’88 Mercury
under the hood, carbureted.
A kid behind the wheel, a kid
from the fifties who wanted
a do-over, a mulligan, just one
more shot at all of it again. 
The blue-dot taillights said
goodbye as it slowed to turn
the corner to old yesterdays.
Good horses, dogs and hot
rod cars are truly missed.

from Rattle #77, Fall 2022


Guinotte Wise: “I had a ’49 Ford in high school, primered, lowered, heads, carbs, pipes, etc. Very Rebel Without a Cause. But I did well in English class. And I liked poetry. That was 67 years ago. I never gave up writing and I acquired another ’49 Ford along the way, and it underwent a lot of changes, like me. But it got beautiful. I sold it this year, and as the new owner slowed at the corner, the (illegal) bluedot taillights flickered at me. I went in and wrote this poem.” (web)

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