Carol Bennett © 2010 All Rights Reserved
Of course, you heard it early & you heard it often,
how the old man was making time, but time was
the distance traveled in his green, two-door Ford sedan
going somewhere & back then this so-called time had also to
do with hours spent driving dangerously narrow, two-lane
highways behind cattle or chicken trucks bound for market
as your family headed up to the northlands with
a sack of hardboiled eggs & mayonnaise on
for an early morning backseat breakfast. Mother,
you learned long before, was always making
do while she kept an eye on your father who kept right on
making time. Not until high school did you learn how making
time also had a lot to do with chances, remote as they obviously were,
of making out, “scoring” as the boys in the locker room called it
which was the exact opposite of making an obvious “out”
what you usually managed in the back seat of our car
when you were able & lucky enough to get the keys,
but then there were the looming worries about making
a decent living which wasn’t just about making
the almighty dollar as your Auntie Loretta, bless her
long-departed heart, persisted in reminding you
at each of the family Thanksgiving dinners.
“You’re a bright enough boy, not just good for making
money.” What she was really saying was to make the grade
you had to make a fortune doing something, anything, anything at all.
“You’re a bright boy,” she’d repeat her refrain as if the entire family hadn’t
already begun choking on the biggest & toughest thirty-two pound tom-
bird your mother could locate, “& bright boys should figure out how
to make a killing so long as no one gets hurt & blows the whistle.
Don’t be such a nitwit, Nephew. Figure it out. Use your brain.
It’s not so tough to do.” Auntie, family seer, unmarried
tarot reader with golden, three-tiered wedding-cake
hair piled high, was the family repository of sound advice.
So, out the window for the time being went making time.
By now you had little, if any, time left over to worry about,
carrying more than a full evening load of classes each semester
at city college & working as the garbage engineer third shift,
stoking the fire, burning other people’s waste & garbage.
Then along came the Vietnam War draft, & you were
more into making love rather than war & making art
& making the occasional war protests on free afternoons
as long as everything stayed on the up & up, a theoretical high
plateau so to speak, which was just exactly where you hoped to
rest a spell until you fell in love & really figured out just what
making love, making a living & making do all at the same time
were all about. Making war, yes, sometimes that too, although
you stuck around long enough to discover how much fun making
out was when the two of you began concentrating on making up.
Now you’re stuck here trying to make some real good time
like the old man did who died last year because he was
never quite able to make enough time, no matter how
hard he tried & how many times he wet the tip
of his pencil & went back figuring & figuring, trying
his best to make his overtime hours at the plant balance
so that everything would finally, finally just add up.
T. Savoie has published in more than a hundred and fifty literary journals, anthologies, and small press publications, including American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, the Northwest Review, Black Warrior Review and the Iowa Review. Recent or forthcoming work appears in North American Review, Pearl, Visions-International, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Tar River and Rosebud.
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