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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

402. Ode on a Great Autoshop

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2008 at 4:53 PM

THOU still unravish’d bride of great savings,

Thou foster-child of Dealerships and Junkyards,

Sylvan mechanics, who canst thus express

A greasy tale more slick than our rhyme:

What gasket-fringed legend haunts about thy shape

Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Metairie or the dales of Jeff Parish?

What men or gods are these? What vehicles loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and exhaust? What wild combustion?

Heard engines are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,

Pipe to the cylinder ditties of no tone:

Fair Keith’s Auto, beneath the Earhnhardt banners, thou canst not leave

Thy work, nor ever can those walls be bare;

Bold auto techs, never, never canst thou race,

Though winning near the goal — yet, do not grieve;

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy speed,

For ever wilt thou fix, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy wires! that cannot shed

Your sparks, nor ever bid the Engine adieu;

And, happy specialist, unwearied,

For ever 4-stroke songs for ever new;

More happy valves! more happy, happy plugs!

For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,

For ever combusting, and for ever clean;

All breathing carbon passion far above,

That leaves a ’99 Saturn high-sorrowful and cloy’d,

A burning head, and a parching radiator.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

To what rubber altar, O mysterious Keith’s,

Lead’st thou that engine block lowing at the skies,

And all her silken parts with belts, chains drest?

What little parish by river or sea-shore,

Or basin-built with peaceful Faubourg,

Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?

And, little parish, thy streets for evermore

Will busy be; with lots more souls, to tell

How thou didn’t rip them off.

O little shop! fair attitude! with brede

Of metal nuts and bolts overwrought,

With viscous fluids and myriad tools,

Thou, loud banging form! dost tease us out of thought

As doth taking the bus: Cold City Life!

When clean air shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,

‘You are truth, truth you are, — that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know!

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