Tuesday, September 15, 2015


(pt. 4)
I may have been dreaming yes, but because I couldn't
tell, I knew it was real. In those days, the ones I'm
talking about, there were different ways of thinking  -
my father's old car, for instance, the one he'd switched 
engines by himself in, at the top of the driveway at home, 
with a self-constructed engine hoist he'd made from
steel tubing, set up with three-legs of steel, and an
overlapping chain-pull he ran with a lever. I was
awed, just watching that loosened engine, freed of its
motor-mountings and loose of the transmission, all that
work done by him too, slowly being lifted out, straight
up, out of the engine compartment and right up past
the car and above, hanging their like a Thanksgiving 
frozen turkey or something. That big, old car, sitting
there now, emptied of its guts, looked unlike anything
else I'd ever seen. My father swung the old engine out
of the way somehow, and by two days later, going back 
the reverse fashion of how the other one had come out,
the new engine he'd bought and chained up on the ground,
was also lifted, swung into its place, and slowly, lever pull
by lever pull and click by click, was dropped into its new 
place as, by another week's end, the connections and tightenings 
were all made, and the transmission too bolted into its properly
torques place at the rear of the engine housing. I didn't say
much, but I watched. All up and down my block, I now knew
that entire Inman Avenue crowd, all those guys coming and
going each day, fathers just like mine, they all drove the same
sort of rigged contraption  -  a car that, like anything else, if
broken down to its most minute components one step at a
time, could be deconstructed, altered, fixed, parts replaced, and
all the rest. The entire 'one-unit' mystique of automobile  -  and,
for that matter  -  everything else, was gone. Universe, machines,
buildings, trains, the entire concept of the world I lived in, I sensed,
was a creation, at one level, of man  -  tinker-point by tinker-point, 
the infinitesimal meeting of hard object and fixed object, piece 
by structured piece, was an almost clockwork-like amalgam of world 
and time. It could all be done, and re-done, worked over and changed. 
A seven-year-old street brat like me takes note : everything is up 
for grabs. This life could never be the same.

No comments: