November 30th marks the 1st anniversary of “Car Poems.” Congrats to contributors and readers, and especially to fellow editors and production managers. Your poetic vehicles and visions helped us complete this long haul. Installment 37 rings in a melancholy new year. Felicia Sanzari Chernesky’s poems inhabit the sadder undersides of upscale New Jersey. Her speakers drive slowly, stubbornly noticing life’s petty cruelties and profound silences.
Standing wide and grey and tall and flanked
by wild onion and preening daffodil,
the median safeguards rushing soccer mommy
vans and returning Lexus SUVs
from colliding on the busy street that divides
the length of luxury condos from the strip mall
peddling the finest Chinese take-out in town.
On our way to and from, we pass the fellow
with the talking hands for the third time today.
You know, the one who wears a weathered leather
Jersey Devils jacket on his all-day
march? His eyes are empty suitcases.
He seems to favor Belgian block to the cracked
and tumbling Main Street sidewalks wandered by
the fragile youth who wears a dainty backpack
or the gravel paths that lead to off-street parking
the flabby guy plugged deep into his headphones
staggers down while rocking out on air drums.
Weaving through the car-jammed lot he disappears
into the crowded house he shares with Talking
Hands and Backpack Boy that’s hidden from
the hardened stares of those who haunt our charmed
and sparsely furnished Hunterdon County McMansions.
Better scatter like rabbits and hatters, lads.
The Flemington Women’s Club is after your hides.
No need to fret about crossing dotted lines.
You’ll never be welcomed on the other side.
Today, when ugly things alone are lovely,
when we are joyful only when we’re livid,
I confess I notice first the deer
sprawled out in vivid roadside death beside
a glowing crowd of carefree daffodils.
Poor thing. It has met its doom in spring
while we’re just heading home after a checkup.
That row of cherry blossom trees like teeth
calls back to mind the orthodontist bill,
the stubborn tooth that will not drop. Until
it does, Dr. Riley can’t proceed—
while what I need is hiding in these boughs
in fits of blooming burst. First things first.
Yet dreary sky says only rain. Umbrella
thoughts cover from the neck up—but what about
our roots? It’s tears that lead to warm green shoots.
What gives? What grows? What will sustain? Not
the angry daffodil. It must laugh—
even when the road is soiled with stain.
Main Street has been freed of roving hormones.
The quiet shops offer deep discounts,
but an even better deal is beckoning
at the busy four-way stop at Main and Church,
where Flemington American Baptist advertises
free trips to Heaven: Details inside.
This morning I waved to the kindergarten bus.
The sky clouded over. Black-eyed Susans
commiserated with the potted mums
on the porch as I wandered into the tranquil