Deborah Gorlin

awarded the May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize (2014) for Life of the Garment  


The Sorrow of Cars


Cars sorrow too, their glittering
surfaces, metal wigs on wheels,
just shams.

Like puppets, they need us to animate them,
steer their wheels, accelerate, brake, turn.

Dependent on a tiny key,
homunculus, the god that blossoms them.

their motors run,
follow our every cue,
witless without us.

Poor brooders, parked
insomniacs, alone in their garages,
cattle in lots.

Chronic movement or stasis
means a bipolar soullessness.

Dopes, they desire impossibly:
vehicles that yearn to be tenors,
pant for their own expressways.

They dream of teapots and fireplaces
centered in their engines, a mobile Jerusalem,
where their tires caress the road, where

a pristine soul, despite the grease,
could live in their machine—headlights for eyes—
and no longer disconsolate, they at last can stop

their performance, their fiery march, up down, up down,
becoming stilled wind when they want, or free transport.

from Life of the Garment (Bauhan Publishing)