Ode to a '68 VW Bus
by Dave Oliphant

for Roger & Tom Funnell

high schoolers pedaling their bikes
& college students in their own or
their daddies' sporty late-model cars

give it in passing the V-fingered sign
as now symbolic it putt-putts along
through shaded neighborhood streets

have even seen a camper-style pictured
touring Chile's capital city with a living tree
growing right up through its cut-off roof

at the post office one man asked its year
wanted to know how much would sell it for
said his daughter's MS had gotten worse

& to transport her & her batteried chair
he'd soon be needing a sliding door
like the dented one on this passenger side

would add a ramp he said but turned him down
how ever put a price on or tell its worth
having shifted it since bicentennial '76

steering it up & around the mountain curves
down through the Mexican tropics
valleys deluged by an August monsoon

through humid heat of vast Texas stretches
with their rolling or flat & monotonous plains
their thick pine forests & coastal beaches

had bought it used from an Arlington man
through his ad in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
paid him just seven-fifty & have spent at least

six times as much on upkeep & overhauling
its four-cyclinder air-cooled engine
developed by Adolf's holocaust Nazi regime

though for those remember Woodstock Nixon
& Vietnam it mostly means the hippie movement
with its peace pot-smoking free-love communes

yet to our kids in the '80s just an embarrassment
shamed them so when its unpainted pink-patched
undercoat would appear outside their junior high

carried them & friends to rehearsal or concert
one played bass fiddle another the cello
those their parents couldn't fit into fancy sedans

& when it came time for landscaping the yard
removed its middle seat for flowers & shrubs
shoveled in loam loaded up garden stones

till its hubcaps nearly touched the pavement
& how forget its serving as storage space until
could make room in the house for boxes of books

while the installment-plan still-unpaid-for
4-door lemon would fail to run
depended again on this poor old thing

so maligned by son & daughter who now
fight over who will inherit its rusted floor-
board its banged-up bumpers its flaking

roof its dirver's side stained by
rotten eggs from a passing prankster
its latches unlocking

though it still rolls on
thanks to the mechanics
at Motormania

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