I Brake for Poetry

Can you think of a more boring and uncomfortable place to spend a couple of hours than an auto repair shop waiting room? The room smells like rubber and fumes. The coffee tastes like rubber and fumes. The television, usually set to the news channel I love to hate, makes me fume. To my mind, there’s nothing pleasant about an auto repair shop waiting room … but wait. Could it be an opportunity for creativity?

I wondered that one Saturday afternoon in 2011, while sitting on a hard plastic chair in a Brake Master’s waiting room, sandwiched between the coffee pot and a rubber tire display. Desperate to escape this situation but unable to do so, since my only method of transportation was currently up on a lift, I did something rarely done in an auto repair shop waiting room: I wrote poetry.

Specifically, I challenged myself to write three-line poems about random objects that I saw while sitting there. Here’s what I came up with. They might not be very good, but they passed the time. You might want to try this method of escape next time you’re in an uncomfortable situation. (Brake) drum roll, please!

I walk through life as if there is a floor
and a ceiling
and something of substance in between.

The woman in the box prattles on, oblivious
thinking she's all that matters in this room
I accept this, knowing it is true.

Fans are useful in the tropics
where orchids spring from steamy earth
and bodies cling to gauzy shirts.

She slipped off her sandals and left them by the door
hoping they'd still be there when it was time to leave the cage.
You never knew about a hungry lion.

If a kitchen had a double agent, it would be the coffee pot
keeping things lively
while watching your every morning move.

Bathrooms should be outrageous spaces.
A woman I know has the best one.
It's purple and is decorated with boobs.

The glossy magazine calls to me
with parted lips and false eyelashes
but I resist and choose reality, reluctantly.

I sit here and await the verdict
when all I asked for was an oil change
and some honesty.



4 thoughts on “I Brake for Poetry

  1. Motorcycle Shop
    (and a tip of the hat to Marc, Frances, and the OCD family)

    Someone forgot the heat shield
    So there I sat, waiting for the gas to cool down
    Looking across a wide field
    The mountain road a lost cause, a frown

    Men in smocks with bikes on lifts
    Pistons and parts, those inventive industrial gifts
    That get us down the road at speeds that blur
    Pirsig has passed on, but his ghost is somewhere in this room
    Is there Quality here, Phaedrus, or is my bike doomed?

    An ancient R60 sits nearby, its pinstripe lines on black and chrome still alluring
    Sometimes old girls are sexier and more real than the young ones
    This history book is still sitting where I left it
    Everything about this oil-tinged place recommends it


  2. These are terrific, I laughed at them all. I enjoy the zen in them and the honesty is hilarious. I was not expecting the end line in ‘Bathroom’ and it gets funnier every time I read it 🙂 I really should follow your example and if I find myself waiting somewhere, I should take inspiration from your perfectly formed little vignettes on display here 😉


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