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The Romance of the Automobile by David Bromige

July 10, 1988

It's dark. But there's a moon. You're lonely. You've got me. You can't stay where you are. You don't give me a thought, & climb inside, turn me on, & off we go, me all around you, moving you while you sit still, up & down the ground I keep you lifted from, across the distance that your friends call you.

Though I can't see with these things much like eyes I let you find the way. Let you see what you might hit & miss. Let you feel you're in control. Let you make me go so fast you can't control me quite as well, Or maybe not at all. So I get you where you go.

And if it's where you planned, I've sheltered you from what came down, proved useful, helped save a life maybe, unless someone like you got in our way.

You've felt a strength, obeying me while free to think of things along the way. An irritation or anxiety, if something's wrong with me, that is, if I need fixing.

And here we are. You can get out, and stretch, as though to throw me off, as though I were around you, yet I'm evidently not. You've turned me off, locked me up, pocketed the key and left me in the dark. You've got me where you want me. As if I were a car.

From "Desire: Selected Poems 1963-1987" (Black Sparrow Press: $20, cloth; $10, paper; 230 pp.). Bromige was born in London in 1933, educated at the University of British Columbia and at the University of California, Berkeley, and now lives in Sebastopol, Calif. He is the author of several books of poetry. "Desire" is the winner of the 1988 Western States Book Award for poetry. 1988, David Bromige, by permission.

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