Tony Pena

The dark side of car karaoke

Gene Kelly can get drenched

in the summer rain if he wants,

singing and hoofing

from lamp post to lamp post

as a change in weather

intensifies the drops

of a passing drizzle

to a muggy monsoon.

I’d much rather turn

the volume knob in the dry

cabin of my true blue

Accord as high as can go ,

caterwauling to whatever

classic rock tune comes on

for the millionth time

on a steamy August day.

I bypass Boston to attempt

a Bohemian Rhapsody solo,

multitasking Freddie Mercury

lines like a fucking Vienna

Choirboy strung out on speed

hyperventilating vowels

as the wipers tango

across the windshield

till at the only light in town

some guy in a copper

colored pick up truck ahead

of me rolls down his window

in the pouring rain and waves

a burly arm tattooed

with swastikas and flags

of a southern confederacy.

I figure with the rain and all

maybe the big malcontent

needs directions or something

but then he’s screaming out

faggot this and faggot that,

stomping towards my car

and I knew his GPS was looking

for a face to land a right cross.

Bully pulpits make wild dogs

mad enough to unleash

a hurting of biblical proportions

so the foam drooling out

his toothless mouth and an NRA

bumper sticker gave common

sense a pregnant pause

to consider flight or fight.

I unholstered my only line

of defense of a recording

smart phone to combat

the stupidity of hate as drivers

leaned on their horns ,not

to protect my ninety eight

pound weakling ass, but to get

to wherever the hell they had to go.

A cop came around with sirens

blaring and Anytown’s finest

ushered the heathen back

to the truck and sent him

on his way before pointing

at my cell phone and saying,

“I’m going to have to give you

 a ticket for using that while driving.”

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