“Car Radios” by Thomas M. McDade


My reading at an open-mic included poems
of my youthful drive from Pawtucket, Rhode Island
to Boulder, Colorado in a hurting ’55 Ford
and its radio that occasionally squeezed
out a hum between increasingly loud engine knocks.
And no word of a lie, pulling out of the parking lot
it was as if my radio had listened in,
sympathized and empathized
with its long departed faulty brethren.
Without whimper, ear-splitting bang,
or roar, my 2010 Kia Forte sound system
that included both satellite and Bluetooth
just upped and expired, and presto:
I was back on Route 80 in Lincoln, Nebraska,
500 miles away from my destination, and after
an overnight stop at the Rambler Motel in North
Platte, Nebraska I white knuckled it
into Boulder, but no here and now
pale paws driving home,
and I wasn’t broke as at the end
of my journey west.
I bought a junkyard radio and magically
managed to pull the old and install the new
without wrecking dashboard
or electrical.
I wonder often what happened to the Kia
where my recycled radio once lived.
A lemon, victim of despair?
A death car, accident occurring
on Route 80 West?
What song was playing
when the first responders arrived?
Could have been switched off,
the driver filling in the eerie
silences between lines
of a poem perceived as prophetic
in a sparsely attended coffeehouse—
microphone crackling.

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas M. McDade is a former computer programmer / analyst now residing in Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT and RI.  He is a graduate of Fairfield University who did two tours of duty in the U.S. Navy.   He has also been published in Abbreviate Poetry Journal.