Larry Brody’s Poetry: ‘Oklahoma Reverie’

The Ford Or damn close to it anyway.

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

From The Return of the Navajo Dog, some memories from Gwen the Beautiful’s late grandmother, Jesse Manns, of her life in Oklahoma, back in the day.  


Oklahoma Reverie

He was a traveler, my husband was. We

Didn’t have much money, but the minute he got

A dime it was, “C’mon, honey, let’s go,”

And off we went in that old Ford. God! You’d

Think a coal miner’d want a day off or two

When he had a chance, but not Jack. He had

To move, even if it meant breakin’ down on old

Route 66. And brother, did we ever break down.

Never in the warm part of the year, no, he was

Workin’ then, down in the earth like a mole,

Coughin’ and cuttin’ and earnin’ his pay. No,

We went West in the winter, just ahead of the

Spring. Twenty inches of snow in April, and Jack

And me pullin’ over to wait it out with no heat.

We’d cuddle together. He was warm, my husband

Was, I’ll give him that. Warm to the touch, and

Warm to the heart. He’d hold me, and laugh,

And tell me not worry. He’d lick the icicles off

My nose, and didn’t care how much colder

I got. After the storm was over, Jack flagged

Down an old Indian in a truck, borrowed his

Shovel to dig us out. That’s when we found

Out we were in a ditch. That’s when the

Front axle snapped like a hen’s neck

When we needed her meat more than

Her eggs. Know what that man did? He laughed

Some more, and wrapped his arms around me

‘Til I stopped my cryin’. One time we was up

North of Flagstaff, I don’t remember the name

Of the town, and a tire blew out. No spare,

Of course, couldn’t have afforded that and

This little trip. I didn’t know what to do,

But he got one of his ideas. A real

Travelin’ idea as a matter of fact. There

Was some railroad tracks nearby, and Jack

Drove us over to ‘em, flubbity flub, flubbity flub.

Took off all the tires, my traveler did, and got that

Ford up on the rails. Well, that was a sight,

Believe you me, us in the old car, zoomin’ up the

Tracks. We didn’t know where we was goin’,

Or if a train was gonna come, or anything like that,

But it didn’t matter to Jack. All that mattered

Was we were on our way!

Nothin’ held us back, no sir. We was always on our way.

I’d tell him and tell him how much I wanted

Some peace, a chance to just enjoy

Where we was. I’d tell him how I didn’t

Want to go out in the cold. But there’d be

That laugh again. From ‘way down deep

Inside him, skinny chest, flat belly, loins, that big laugh

Would come, and he’d lie to me and say

How’d he’d got the Ford all fixed up,

And off we’d go. Jack’s been dead more’n’

Twenty years, but still I go travelin’, California

In the winter, to live with my daughter.

Back home to Oklahoma in May. God, how I

Thought I hated them days. But now

They’re more real than my next old lady pain,

And so warm, just like him.

Them’s memories.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lose your vision, and yourself.” She said it shorter, though, with just a snort.