The Parking Lot

By Nicole Hallengrogg

It wasn't about justice
Or about the fact
I felt
I deserved
A little of what she had.

It wasn't about anger
Or vengeance.

Or because my car
Never starts.

Or the crack in the windshield.

Or because pools of dust
Collect in rusted impressions
Of my 1986 Toyota Celica.
It wasn't
I thought
She hadn't worked for what she had.
Or because
I haven't
Stopped working
Since 14.

I was 26
She must have been 18.
Designer shirt.
Designer shoes.
And a car that goes
from 0 to 70
in 25 mile per hour
School zones.

Maybe it was that silver paint-
Looked like a lottery ticket
Silver and shiny.
Like those coins my grandmother
Kept until she died.

Mercedes Benz,
Brand new
Never saw another like it
...or was it "BMW"?

Etched in
Market decoy emblem.
Those vehicles,
Like big,
Painted Gods.
Row after row;
Neat little patterns of profit
And display.

I ran my key along the pinstripe.
From the bumper to the rear
Left a deep gouge
That ran

Like the dry
River beds
Outside of town
That remind me
So much of
Endless drought.


MrkSms said...


I was young I had to wear the three dollar tennis shoes from Kmart while everyone at my school wore Nikes. I use to get teased about my shoes and that led me to stepping all over their nice new shoes. Sometimes it feels good to let your class frustrations out, eh?

Anonymous said...

My mom use to drive an old blue station wagon. It was HORRIBLE! And when my mom got a new car, my mom gave her old keys to my two sisters. (Boy were they excited!) The car was so embarrassing. They even had a name for the car, her friends called it the "Blue Bomb".

Lucky for me (and for them), one of their friends totaled the big huge piece of metal.

And what did they get in its place?? And old 1970's gray Datsun.


Eric said...

I remember the first time that I found out that I was poor. It wasn't until 8th Grade when I had to bike to a new Jr. High School and I saw people's homes. I remember at first being ashamed and then angry. Somehow even at age 13 I had been falsely taught that if I was poor it must be my fault and something I should be ashamed of.

I wonder what it is like to learn that you don't derserve your wealth and that people think less of you because of it. I wonder if it evokes the same emotions of shame?

Anonymous said...

you say that as if each individual who has some serious dough wakes up each day and says, "let me steal from the poor".

what are you trying to say?

or better yet, are you suggesting that personal agency doesn't exist at all? and if so, are we just robots.

I'm not suggesting that social conditions don't affect our decisions, but don't people have to be responsible for their actions to some extent?

Eric said...

I don't know what "social agency" means but I do know from common sense that a thirteen year-old is not responsible for the poverty that they find themselves in.

I think that someone with "serious dough" probably doesn't have to wake up in the morning saying "let me steal from the poor." Banks, credit card companies, and the corner store will transfer that wealth for them at a very low fee and without the guilt.

I think personal responsbility is important and should come into play by taking the personal responsibility of not feeling guilty because you don't have the same access to wealth as those who have inheritated it.

Now that would be some real personal responsibility that I would like to see.

Noah said...

wow, nice work! i feel the pain so-to-speak -- the question of "why do i want to do this" but the OCD-like desire to act out...a tinge of regret. a tinge of satisfaction. which weighs more? lots of wonderful gray area :-)...more, please!