The Breakdown

Bonnet up, heads down and bottoms peeping
Out of the engine in friendly banter
As one blames carburettor, another the plugs;
Voices rising in shared solutions
But none forthcoming, so retreat is beat
To put all hands on deck with a push and a shove
For a kick-start that still doesn’t work.
Until a light-flashing computerised mechanic
Dons his overalls to do the check-up,
In twenty-first century diagnosis,
But still no solution ­– and no-one to blame ­–
So the crane cranks up the car for tow-away,
And they shake the dust off hands and feet
For a farewell handshake, and a parting smile.
October 2012
Thoughts of breakdowns in India and England.

Photo: By courtesy Michael Noel -
Joel Oleson at the side of an Ambassador in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India