“Cupholder: A Road Buddy Romance” by Chuck Von Nordheim

Under a sulfur streetlamp, your crisscrossed polymer
strips that carve berths for beverages from empty
air reminded me of the elastic and steel
rigs worn to hike stockings tight across the female
flab offered to unsung heroes with vacant laps.
Like many, dear cup holder, the internet let us
find each other during a drunken website search
ruled by erotic first-glance urges and the fact
OKCupid has more letters than Amazon.

Hydration facilitation earned my affection.

Sloughing off the accrued dust of Calimesa
hardpan and obsolete concrete that jackhammers
lofted past OHSA approved safety masks with fizzing
floods of Yeti-chilled cane sugar Mexi-Cola.
Holding a cab-zin blend for a Beaumont hookup
convinced kohl eye paint coved her crow’s feet.
Tumbling sorrows for rent cash plucked by Morongo
poker tables with rockslide chugs poured from a ten-
buck bottle named for an avalanche, bawdy booze
posing as virgin water to fake out highway cops.

Silent acceptance cemented our alliance.

Sobbed claims of ear pain never erupted from your
shoulder-high perch, the obligation of heavy
metal priests to disturb the earth with infernal
guitar feedback being understood without words.
No nasal declarations of doubt regarding
possession of hell-granted, behind-the-wheel skills
sent waves of contempt from your wall-mounted hangout.
Nor did any entreaty for immediate
exit ever echo from your vicinity.

For no reason, a Cal Trans pole jumped in my way.

Rock star swerves which wrote autographs in 4XS
smears down the 30B off-ramp of the eastbound
Pomona nixed car and driver body shop dates.
But with you, dear cup holder, physics played far less fair.
Rebel momentum abetted by an open
window and my cowardly compulsion to stomp
full force on reluctant brakes pitched you from your throne.
Aerodynamic as a brick, your rise reversed,
ending with the smack of impact that crashing into
ill-tempered orange traffic drums often produces.

Knowing how you cared for me, I left your busted
body there, driving off before any pesky
patrolmen arrived with hard questions and handcuffs.

 


A northern Los Angeles County denizen, Chuck Von Nordheim lives where the land shifts from chaparral to desert. An Honorable discharge recipient, he marches with Iraq Veterans Against the War. A Grateful Dead devotee, he endorses the healing power of tie-dye. An MFA graduate, his work appears in San Pedro River Review, November Bees,and Former People.

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