Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in Confederacy’s Capitol Richmond, Virginia in 1960. By the 1970’s my family had moved to Petersburg, Virginia. I metal detected at Battlefield Park near a grown over ditch that was “The Crater.” Every so often some fool in Walnut Hill would put a parrot round they’d found detecting in his vice at home an start in with a hand held drill. Boom. We kids would wander in at night past the police tape and check out the demolished garage high on Panama Red. Later I got into street racing, survived that, and went on to college just when Petersburg started to unravel due to Brown and Williamson Tobacco shutting down, and the arrival of crack cocaine.
An Ode to Rebel Anthony of Rebco Machine Shop, Petersburg, Virginia
Consider all Rebel’s done, and ask not
“Wherefore and in what oil
shall our main bearings be clothed?”
Consider instead the flowers of the field
that push piebald crowns
through rusted floorboards of Plymouth,
Ford, and Olds, Chevy, Desoto, Lincoln,
Pontiac, Opel, and Saab.
Consider the wondrous clamor of color
drawn from tendrils and root hairs
slaked by Prestone Antifreeze,
Brake Fluid, and Type III ATF;
then consider the source from which you flow.
Late night cold sweats with pink Bolivian flakes
urging him ever onward to new tweaks.
Sending his shadow-self inside your combustion chambers,
Dervish diving down your connecting rods
and whirling around crank bearings
chanting and dispelling the friction demons, vibration demons,
oil emulsifying demons
licking their chops at your crank clearances.
The cost! Oh, the cost.
Rebel has sacrificed the very heart that beats
beneath his ribs for your horsepower.
Repeatedly he paralyzed his uvula,
and gleefully dissolved sinus in freshly chopped yayo
for an inch pound of your precious torque.
When will you toss off the pathos of substandard rpm,
and invite Rebel to loaf unfettered on your cam lobes:
magnaflux your four-bolt main splayed cap block
and mic your piston ring gap.
His sufferings, his loneliness and agony
dwell in the throes of your 12 bolt Positraction rear.
Rebel careens you…he dreams of screaming sleepers,
whispers oaths at low octane fuckwads, all for your sake.
He has forsaken all
except what makes you faster.
Don’t destroy the shaman’s tweaks with a lousy ratchet twist.
Exalt him with gears, smoldering sulfur dioxide,
squeal of tire tread, heat of clutch.
Lurch and hurl sheet metal,
and tempered windshield glass
knowing his vouchsafed cries
attend your quarter mile wonderment.
Skin it back
then let it bleed.
Let it bleed as an offering to your Reb-powered top end cruiser.
Let it bleed as a gauntlet thrown at European/Japanese production muscle.
Let it bleed on windshields of carnivorous street rods.
Let it bleed for Chip, Wes, L.B., Dib, Kevin, and John :
for them your connecting rod clearances
were more familiar than wifely ass.
Let it bleed for Reb’s long suffering
Sikh cardiologist Ravinder Kohli.
When congestive heart failure
finally kills Reb
let VCU’s organ harvesting docs
collect the core charge
on his coke-broke ticker,
part out a retina or two
and shit can the rest.
Let all that remains
be your bucket seat
kicking your fool butt blue
when you drop the hammer at eight grand,
and make the smoke enveloped rodder
staged in the lane next to you