on reading keats at the lube express
i write poetry while
three men dissect my car.
they drape a red shirt across the front lip of the
one headlight lost.
as a matter of protocol
liquids are drained
fluids are replaced
bolts are tightened
in orchestral manoeuvres
i cannot hope to understand
black and brown
and oil and
i sit on a flourescent yellow curb
in front of an arrow pointing to the highway.
crankshafts and converters are exchanged
in a smoky pas de deux
speak in code
pointing and assessing,
with a closing of eyes, a shaking of heads.
they play jumprope with my belts.
i cannot see the man in the bay below
but i hear his disembodied voice ricochet
with a metallic ping
off of exhaustpipes and the sharpened tips of variable-speed power tools.
they call him robin;
and i wonder if he has ever sung in the shower
as he scrapes the smell of gasoline from beneath his fingernails
the men call him beneath my car to
add attention to the underside,
commanding him to nurse my filters and
to tourniquet leakage as
leaves skitter across the asphalt as
i wear a pink shirt
and black cotton trousers.