Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Inspector Kane: Thank you boys.
                        Where will you be when I need you?
Police Driver:     Right here.
Inspector Kane: Okay.
                                 — The Stolen Jools, 1931.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Oh, you pretty
absolutely worn out Ford,
warm back of a Renault,
the 1911 Grät and Stiff Double Phaeton,
a Lincoln Continental,
the 1934 Fordor Sedan from Topeka,
Count Louis Zborowski race car,
caught at the forever palindrome.
Oliver Hardy, Leopold Lojka, Bill Greer,
young Barrow, do they know where they are?
They make appearances
in our minds.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
is an old song.
Officers take Renault taxis
of the Marne back to Paris
chit for the weekend
fun with the ladies
they are being led up stairs.
My engine runs
I am the Renault
a ten year old
watch a trailer rock in the dust
blue and white car going away
back seat comes alive
with smells.
Or do I make that up
being or not being the trapped one?
The back window
is a place for flies
thin lines on glass
it’s becoming a container
a detector holds lives
all up in the air.
You turn everybody’s head today.
Trailer bounces -
you turn everybody's head today.
Trailer bounces -
blue and white
in me forever.
The day breaks
everything out of place -
the woman I love is up in the air,
empty shoe stands on the pebbles.
Feel knees on the back seat 
rise ten and a half inches,
drop to the ground.
Your seats are a feather bed
Laurel and Hardy caper,
the hierophany
of car energy 
bouncing out
across the dead auto-body parts.
Across the leaver of Gräf and Stift,
Lojka seems to have trouble getting into reverse.
A young man steps into the street,
the street Mary Ann steps on
to take a picture of the Lincoln
finds herself in a new place
Bill puts his foot on the gas.
Why are the cars
kept in museums?
They are something
we can walk away from
with our sandwich.
Parker and Barrow
drive on a ‘Z’ road.
They know the broken down truck,
it lures them to pull up
before you can say anything
stink and zing of bullets.
The truck doesn't become anything
like the death car,
people come to the roadside
handle the car roughly
some say
they take pieces away.
Will you come to the wreck
of the Renault?
Take me piece by piece?
Everybody has a car.
See them on google:
two parked at each house.
Stable objects on the road
the beginning of films
say the cars
if cars can say anything
which they can’t
their AI has not reached that far
but one day?
Your childhood is spent in us
going here going there
chitty chitty bang bang we love you
One day going home
you are surprised
pheasants walk across the road
suddenly the swerve
and the killing
a hen pheasant lying there…
car door open -
the car engine heated
motor runs.
That is the start,
a car used as a weapon
changes everything.
Ploughing in to crowds…
and bollards are put up
in western cities
big blocks of concrete,
or giant plant pots.
Our fine four fendered friend.
30,000 parts to a car
a bit more than a model T Ford in 1931.
Stan don’t pull the switch
come and sit with me
outside the house
in the time before the accident
look in my side mirrors
see the past road
in the future
going another way
because I already laugh
with you
at the whole thing.
Give all of us a minute
there driver
to let the dust clear
and the screaming begin.


[Mark Lawlor is a visual artist and writes short fiction and poems. Recently his work has appeared in Cyphers, Skylight 47, the moth, Magma and Chasing Shadows.]



Copyright © 2022 by Mark Lawlor, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.