Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Chest Fever

I gunned my 1959 Ford F-150 with
it’s ring shot FE V-8 engine, burning
oil, belching fire, crank thrumming,

setting off a deep vibration
that radiated out and engulfed
the quiet Catskill morning, through

West Saugerties, New York.  Overlook
Mountain lolled off to the north,
humped and blue behind the white cube

of the Esso station, two pumps
and one filthy bathroom.  I set the brake
and palmed the key chained to a piston

that hung just inside the repair bay
while the truck idled rough shod
through rising octaves.  For the record,

I washed my hands when I was
finished then revved the engine to a
crescendo and drove away.  It was only

later that I recalled the thin man
with the bushy beard, head huge
under a flying widows peak, buying

cigarettes and a Coke, lingering
near my Ford, summer 1968, absorbed
in the racket exploding under the hood. 

I was listening to Music From Big Pink,
not for the first time, when it hit
me, the V-8 sound of the greasy Lowrey

organ that drives Chest Fever, grateful
for my part, however small, in
Garth Hudson’s opus.   

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