August 05, 2007

In Memory of the Nissan Stanza Wagon, 1982-1996

                                   —for Ron Wallace

You hardly ever see one nowadays—
they’re nearly gone. Endangered, anyhow,
because of the intensifying craze
for S.U.V.s, the industry’s cash cow—

but some of us remember how it felt
to climb into that barren, boxy space,
yank and snap the fraying safety belt
and dream of glitz, and speed, and careless grace—

all the things our Stanzas never were,
by any stretch. But as we chugged
along the same old road, year after year
(handicapped, some said, by what we dragged

behind us from an unenlightened time),
we could sense a subtle turnabout:
our Stanzas were acquiring some acclaim
in circles with considerable clout.

Perhaps it was because we knew our beat
so well, the basic letter of the law,
while improvising several ways to cheat
a little, cut some corners, raise the bar

on all the disagreements, groans and whines
about what Stanzas could or couldn't do.
So if one comes your way, check out the lines
and brakes. Make it yours. And make it new.

—Marilyn Taylor
previously published in SUBJECT TO CHANGE (David Robert Books, 2004)

Posted by dwaber at August 5, 2007 01:19 PM