A beer in the car is a good thing,
sweet and cool after a day in the office,
tart, sour, an end to tension,
an invitation to the coming party.
(Don’t crush the cans on your forehead
because your cheeks get wet
and your eyelashes stick.)
So I was wiping my face at the front door,
five cans of a six-pack dangling by a plastic ring
-- and no one answered my knock.
After another beer, I kicked, impatient, walked in,
wandered around the green carpet, hand on hip.
“Hey!” Noise. I followed it, descended into a smoky pit
down the stairs carpeted by candy wrappers and spare change.
Halfway to the bottom, I heard laughter
billowing out of the nimbus cloud.
Sweaty, big-bellied friends in t-shirts
are good to have when your pack is heavy;
they lighten the load without being asked.
“Where are we headed?” I said,
because that's always our problem,
and threw the empty ring-tab
onto the overflow of trash.
A committee is a good way to reach decisions,
four mouths moving in unison,
eight arms rising high with the passion of the moment,
feet tapping with energy,
eyes watering from second-hand smoke
until everyone agrees it's been a hard day
and we all need more beer.
So into the car, me in the back,
kicking the suicide passenger in his ass,
making wishes on the change at my feet.
“Why don't you clean this heap?”
someone asks, and the driver explains
floor change is a family tradition.
“This way, I'm never broke.”
At the beer store, we have not quite enough
for a case, so the driver goes back
and scrapes the floor for quarters.
We get another six-pack
and everyone is impressed by his wisdom.
“Love,” the suicide passenger snorts.
“What is it, anyway?”
No one answers. We crack open the case,
start the engine, and fall into thought.
And I think, This is sort of like love.
I mean, I have no idea where we're going
and neither does anyone else in the car
and really, it doesn't matter.
If I could stop time, I'd stop it in the car,
with this beer to my lips
and we'd never have to get anywhere
because for us, man, that’s the problem.
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