The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

on reading keats at the lube express

R.A. Villanueva

i write poetry while
three men dissect my car.
hood agape,
they drape a red shirt across the front lip of the
engine cavity—
one headlight lost.

as a matter of protocol
and consequence
liquids are drained
fluids are replaced
bolts are tightened
in orchestral manoeuvres
i cannot hope to understand

black and brown
and grease
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
as they
speak in code
pointing and assessing,
making notes
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
by himself
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.