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Diane Hine

(25 July 1956)

Cars


My toddler grandson squats beside a parked
car to examine the wheels and undercarriage.
I know more about cars than he does
(temporarily) , so I tell him what an axle is.
“Brmm…..brmm…, ” he replies. He gets it.

Satisfied, he stands up and points to the door handle.
He wants me to open the door, but it’s not my car.
“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that, ” I say.
My grandson’s name is not Dave, but I’m bored
so I’m doing my impression of HAL 9000 when
Dave says, “Open the pod bay doors please HAL”
and HAL answers, “I’m sorry Dave……….”

We walk home. We watch cars go by.
Wheels spin so fast, it’s like trying to watch the
legs of a galloping animal without the benefit
of slow motion replay. My grandson knows that
herds of cars follow well-established trails. He
can pick out several species of car already:
“reh….car”,
“boo….car”,
“yeh...woe...car.”

If only his Dad wasn’t irreversibly civilized, my
grandson might have someday learnt to hunt cars:
Prowl the fringes of the herd, pick out the old and lame,
distract the car by throwing rocks and attack its most
vulnerable part, the soft rubber feet. Or, separate the
babies - the bicycles. They’re all legs and no muscle.
Maybe join a band of boys to tackle a bus
or truck for the manhood initiation rite.
Afterwards, all the men could put on car skins
and pretend to be the cars themselves.

Submitted: Monday, October 14, 2013
Edited: Friday, October 25, 2013

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Comments about this poem (Cars by Diane Hine )

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  • Douglas Scotney (11/20/2013 6:36:00 PM)

    It's not only his dad stopping him hunting. I'd go 'If only for civilization'.
    I picked up that '2001' ref. before reading your explanation and thought a version for the cognoscenti without those 4 lines would bring a snide to their mouths.
    Great thoughts and expression. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Patrick (11/10/2013 11:03:00 PM)

    Its funny that some young children can spot the difference between different models of cars, Mazda, Aston Marten, Lamborguni (or whatever that monstrosities name) , Ferrari and any other petrol eater, but most could probably not tell you a robin from a chickadee, its also sad. I see a little bid of Freudianism their Dian especially in your last lines, I'll have you know I do not consider the car to be an extension of my penis, I reserve that for my model spaceship collection. (Report) Reply

  • Dinesh Nair (10/20/2013 2:57:00 AM)

    This is an enticing account of an episode that seems to be personal but even more than that.
    This poem speaks about your wide range of perceptions, Daine Haine. (Report) Reply

  • Danny Draper (10/18/2013 6:35:00 PM)

    A fine story but error in that young men ultimately court old cars and while to attract a mate and mates tribally, adore them with gifts and adornments beyond the old vehicles nett worth with no chance of recouping an equitable return... except experience, like that of sexual and social maturity through a journey, a rites of passage with rusty worn out jalopies and their declining components until ultimately successive car plans and wreckers are exhausted of components, but forever romanced as symbols of freedom. Although often reviewed within the sage safety of advanced maturity and the experiences of better cars and fulfilling relationships with people after learning nurturing skills in youth of old devices, unreliable, but cherished to realise liberty and society. Yes Hal we will open the pod bay door (metaphoric garage) closing it ever after will be the problem. :) (Report) Reply

  • Valsa George (10/15/2013 10:25:00 AM)

    Boys have an irresistible fascination for cars and it develops at the very tender age! Your toddler grandson is no exception! ! His classification and naming of the cars is so natural and sound so very interesting! You are perfectly right.... All men can put on car skins and pretend to be cars themselves! Novelty of theme and novel approach! Enjoyed! ! (Report) Reply

  • Thomas A Robinson (10/15/2013 2:18:00 AM)

    Much as dinosaurs added to a giant greenhouse effect cars are too.
    The similarities between cars and dinosaurs is staggering.
    They dominate mankind and his world.
    Without cars the demand for oil would collapse.
    Man's economy would suffer and eventual return to a pre-oil society would be inevitable. (Report) Reply

  • Lyn Paul (10/14/2013 8:44:00 PM)

    You are such a story teller. Well done. funny idea about the car skins ` Lycra? (Report) Reply

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