2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 24

The April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge is designed to help poets do one thing and one thing only: Write more poems! The process of revision may go on for weeks, months, and years later, but this challenge is all about getting that first draft. Please poem along with us–either in the comments below or silently at home.

For today’s prompt, write an auto poem. Auto could mean automobile, automatic, automaton, or any number of possibilities.

Here’s my attempt at an auto poem:

“auto correct”

i meant to type a lowercase i
& i wanted to leave out all my

punctuation marks & use poem
as a verb & pen the words show ’em

without making ’em them & until
should be ’til & please spell check be still


Workshop Your Poetry!

Writing poetry is exciting, but the revision process can be too, especially when you’re revising with a group of dedicated poets and an experienced mentor. As luck would have it, that can be accomplished with the Writer’s Digest online course, Advanced Poetry Writing.


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Want some more poeming fun? Check out these previous Poetic Asides posts:

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193 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Day 24

  1. Margot Suydam

    Guy Sort Madam on Automatic

    What you know
    about me is not just
    the words in type,
    enclosed in my
    resume. For one,

    I have strived long,
    showing off my
    business acumen
    to your executive
    mettle. I’ve

    relished in taking
    long manly strides,
    talking in a low
    voice, and chewing
    on all your big

    plans. One Christmas,
    you bought us
    snow shoes. While
    the white piled up
    outside, we couldn’t

    wait to try them.
    In the black
    and white woods,
    we attached plastic
    and tin to our boots,

    and ventured, comrades,
    into the dark. I also
    used to strut,
    for you, feminine
    dresses; wear spiky

    heals to play for
    your interest; flaunt
    myself to make sure
    you didn’t forget
    I liked your reaction.

  2. priyajane

    Autograph Book

    The faded writing stares rudely at her
    with razor like edges
    and mages of school yard yesterdays
    float in the peripheral vision
    and, she is thirteen again.
    A bulldozer that turns the soil
    spills loosely out of the autographed pages
    crushing her tender spirit
    once again.
    She slams the drawer shut, automatically
    and drives away on autopilot.

  3. JWLaviguer


    He wants to be alive
    I have to die
    We hate each other
    Although he doesn’t feel hate
    I can see it in his eyes
    He doesn’t sleep
    I just can’t
    watching him
    watching me
    the mimic in him
    matching me move for move
    he is a mirror image of myself
    throwing himself into reality
    shattering my hope
    like so many shards of broken dreams
    dragging bloody memories from room to room
    searching for the one who used to heal me
    as he mocks me
    dragging his metal soul
    from hell to hell.

  4. Nancy Posey

    In the Parking Lot

    Monday after the time change
    they still arrive early, in time
    to see the sunrise, jockeying
    for the best spots in the lot,
    backing pickups into spaces
    for a quick exit hours away.
    No classes until eight or nine,
    some plug in their ear buds
    or crank up the volume, bass
    vibrating the body of cars
    on either side; others read
    the story assigned weeks ago,
    due today or the horoscope
    in the local paper, finding
    little else of interest, A-list
    celebrities giving birth
    or leaving rehab. A few
    nap, catching up on sleep
    they miss back at home,
    where children or spouses
    don’t even understand
    why they are back at school.
    Ten minutes later arrival
    means two or three rows
    farther away from class,
    a longer walk. Once inside,
    they’ll wait for the elevator
    rather than take the stairs
    up or down. For now,
    they’ll sit in their steel
    cocoons, breathe a prayer,
    smoke one last cigarette,
    check the phone for emails
    and then emerge smugly,
    eying latecomers circling
    coveting their spaces.

  5. Domino

    Past Unwritten
    (A sonnet about autobiographies, or lack thereof)

    I imagine the lives my ancestors lived.
    I try to picture what their lives were like
    by looking at things I do know about them,
    like where they lived, when they were born or died.

    All the small details that make life complete.
    How I wish they’d shared their words, had written
    their thoughts, their lives, the way I’m compelled to.
    Surely compulsion is passed from the past.

    It seems I’ve chosen a futile quest, though.
    Yesterday is gone and so are they, yet
    I do see my great-grandmother’s nose in
    my youngest son, her curiosity in me.
    And that secret to the past, the knowledge
    I crave? It’s been before me all along.

    Diana Terrill Clark

        1. PressOn

          That’s kind of you to say; I don’t think of myself as particularly skilled. In fact, I’m learning a lot from many in this forum, yourself included. But thanks for saying that.

  6. Jane Shlensky

    His and Hers

    He is automobiles; she is plants.
    They know this of one another and try
    not to trespass into one another’s zones.

    What kind of car did you buy?
    He’ll hear one of her friends ask her
    intrigued, as most folks are by motored things.

    She smiles, rewarding them for interest.
    It’s blue! She says. I always like blue ones.
    He wants to scream Toyota, Chrysler, Ford!

    For God’s sake, you know they’re not all the same.
    But he can see she’s left this all to him.
    And so he grits and bears it, shakes his head.

    She hears his golf friends compliment the lawn.
    How lovely are the blooms and decorative trees.
    What is this beauty, pointing, What are these?

    He flushes thinking how to make it end.
    Roses, he says, before he sees their look.
    That’s not a rose, they say. It’s not a bush.

    If you know everything, why do you ask?
    They stare incredulously as he squirms.
    It’s yellow, damn it all, and that one’s red.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Thanks for the constanza form today, Walt and Marie.


    The class discusses sacrifice.
    For what would you give up your life?
    Are martyrs always pushed by strife?

    For all you love, what is the price?
    You have to think your loves have done
    more with their lives than anyone.

    You make a trade, pass on a slice
    of time to someone, something true.
    The world is made better by you.

    One boy is moved by a caprice
    and swears by all the saints that are
    that he would die for his old car.

    The class makes him repeat it twice
    You know machines don’t live? they say.
    Foolishness gives your life away.

    Is volunteering for death a vice
    like blood thrown into howling winds,
    life made so cheap, we relish ends?

    Do martyrs get to live life twice?
    Reincarnation could change choice—
    throw ten away, let one rejoice.

    When we debate if fire or ice
    will end the world, we overlook
    stupidity and avarice, run amok.

    1. PressOn

      Your passion is palpable. The last stanza recalls Frost, for me anyway, and I think it is powerful. Well, the whole thing is, but the ending is like a punch line, almost literally.

  8. Angie5804

    I Blink

    I blink the dust from my eyes
    as I write my name in the dust of the coffee table.
    I blink the dewy fog from my eyes,
    but can’t seem to shake this fog from my mind.
    I blink the smoke from my eyes,
    While memories blaze a hole in my heart.
    I blink against the sun in my eyes,
    Yet no light illuminates to tell me why.
    I try to blink back tears,
    Still they fall on the empty page.

  9. Melanie

    Autograph hunter

    She walks two miles
    to the edge of the village
    The hotel is perched
    by the side of the M1
    A source close to her
    (her sister who is a chamber maid)
    reveals that Cliff Richard
    Is in Room 205
    Rain pours in torrents
    but she’s not daunted
    She’d like to be his
    Devil Woman
    but she hasn’t left school yet
    She’d like him to be her
    Bachelor Boy
    but he is probably too old
    She shivers and drips
    in front of Room 205
    She cannot find
    the courage to knock
    Her autograph book remains
    unopened in her back pocket
    as she heads back into the rain

  10. Connie Peters


    The auto that the old man drives
    A 1950 Cadillac
    Red interior, satin black

    Most people gawk when it arrives
    It floats like a luxury ship
    From rounded nose to taillight tip

    It looks as sharp as diamond knives
    With large tailfins and shiny chrome
    And crowned with classy rounded dome

    It has outlived almost three wives
    Inspired by war time aircraft
    So smartly engineered to last

    It must have had at least nine lives
    To make it through these many years
    It has outlasted most its peers

    He tinkers, polishes and strives
    Just out when weather’s very mild
    And treasured like an only child

    So through his nurture it survives
    Who knows what future is in store
    As owner goes on ninety-four

  11. DanielAri

    Been following “silently at home,” but here’s today’s:


    Xylophone hammers
    vibrate the pillow.
    The merry-go-round
    ostriches go still—
    unveiling glimmers

    on the windowsill
    that make the blankets
    caterpillar off
    the dog—who stretches
    and licks the merchant’s

    nose ‘til the merchant’s
    lungs need tongue-free skies.
    The music switches
    to the news. He sighs
    and collects his cells.

    Rhythm reprise.
    The body rises.

  12. EbenAt


    At the dawning of my
    auto consciousness,
    a Rambler wagon at dawn,
    (Rear facing back seat!)
    At noon, a Super Beetle,
    then a Mercedes 180
    (Cream with red leather interior)
    in slanting evening light.

    In My time;
    a Datsun 510,
    (Pea soup green,
    dual points,
    died lonely
    in a Port Angeles junkyard.)
    A Cressida followed,
    (Faded yellow, big primer spots,
    died in the Painted Desert.)
    a ’78 Hi-Lux,
    (257,000 miles,
    1 clutch,
    much oil)
    ended the Way Used Era.

    The long Toyota Epoch
    followed, broken by
    a minor Chevy Ice Age.

    Finally, the Anthropocene,
    one Smart convertible,
    (bitchin’ stereo)
    to a Prius C
    (All the
    bells and whistles.)
    It is,
    after all,

    1. EbenAt

      Dang, not good – revised:

      Auto Ages

      Awakened to
      auto consciousness by
      a Rambler wagon at dawn,
      (Rear facing back seat!)
      At noon, a Super Beetle,
      then a Mercedes 180
      (Cream with red leather interior)
      in slanting evening light.

      In My time;
      a Datsun 510,
      (Pea soup green,
      dual points,
      died lonely in a
      Port Angeles junkyard.)
      A Cressida followed,
      (Faded yellow,
      big primer spots,
      died in
      the Painted Desert)
      a ’78 Hi-Lux,
      (257,000 miles,
      1 clutch,
      much oil)
      ended the Way Used Era.

      The long Toyota Epoch
      followed, broken by
      a minor Chevy Ice Age.

      Finally, the Anthropocene,
      one Smart convertible,
      (bitchin’ stereo)
      to a Prius C
      (All the
      bells and whistles.)
      It is,
      after all,

  13. priyajane

    Tuk tuk autos, resting on wheels
    An indoor-outdoor flying wheel
    Taking you from here to there
    An Alice-in-Wonderland, adventure dare
    A common respite, in many worlds
    Weaving traffic with bumpy swirls
    A classic bike, with a mower’s heart
    Each a story of enriching folk art
    A nightmare effect, or, a fairy tale feel
    As you cruise along expanding your reel—

    1. ewdupler

      I’ve seen them, but never knew they were called tuk tuck autos until after reading your poem and looking them up. The description was wonderfully done. I particularly liked “an indoor-outdoor flying wheel”, and smiled at the nightmare effect as I could only imagine how crazy it would be.

  14. ewdupler

    Irritable Illness

    Autonomous action of anatomy,
    Brings bellowing breathing, so blustery.
    Cantankerous cold – encourage coughing –
    Deluge of draining, drastically daunting.

    Everything, everywhere, exceptional
    Fragile. Fidget in fits, feeling so final,
    Grandly Gesticulate. Guttural groans
    Heed healing, holistic, from hands he hones.

  15. Jezzie

    On Automatic Pilot

    My alarm went off at its usual pace
    and I rubbed my tired eyes and washed my face,
    as I grudgingly got up from my bed
    to prepare myself for the day ahead.
    A bowl of cereal I was needing,
    and my dog, she also needed feeding.
    Soon my dog had eaten my Weetabix
    and there were her dog biscuits in my dish!
    I showered, got dressed and drove off to work,
    but before too long I felt such a jerk.
    I’d wondered where all the cars were that day –
    when I got to work, it was Saturday!
    I had been on automatic pilot.
    Drink again on Friday night? I will not!

  16. Larry

    Three hours, line after line
    Letter by letter. I type and I type
    My fingers are numb. They want my address
    They want my digits, etc, etc, etc.
    Why did I delete Auto populate?

  17. taylor graham


    I step outside and
    from the east whoosh! no
    autos whizzing off the hill, sizzling
    the flag and whipping
    my hair, automatic buzz machine
    harmonic to the constant
    spin-whirring in my ears

    this morning
    only the overhead V of wild geese
    is louder,
    honking wing-against-wind
    on the long flight north
    to summer.

  18. nessajay

    auto means self

    the automobile took me
    two kids & dirty laundry
    up north to be free

    the autobiography has a section break
    where I decided not to take
    the deeds he did & words he spake

  19. dextrousdigits


    A new day has begun
    Use to hot brew
    To get me going then
    Open the shower door
    Pulsating water and luffa scrub
    Ice water rinse
    Leap me to alertness
    OH NO, its Saturday
    To bed I return.

    1. PressOn

      This is nice and fun. Of all things, it recalls Lee Hayes, of the Weavers. In his last performance, from his wheelchair, he sang these lyrics to My Get Up and Go Has Got up and Went:
      I get up each morning and dust off my wits;
      open the paper and read the obits,
      and if I’m not there, I know I’m not dead,
      so I eat a good breakfast and roll back to bed.

      1. dextrousdigits

        Good memory of the Weavers.
        sometimes when I write, I surprise myself
        not having any idea where the writing will go,
        which certainly is fun when it goes in a totally
        different direction.

  20. Bruce Niedt

    I didn’t use today’s NaPoWriMo prompt (at least not yet) because it was to write a poem based on anagrams of your own name. I did that right here a few years ago, in response to Salvatore Butacci’s invented form called the “aragman”. Instead, I used their prompt from yesterday and wrote another triolet:

    Last Repair

    I’ve had enough of you, old car.
    For many years you carried us
    to destinations near and far.
    You’ve had enough. Of you, old car,
    I’ll say you used to be a star,
    but now I’ll need to take the bus.
    I’ve had enough of you. Old car,
    thanks for the years you carried us.

    1. PressOn

      What a wonderful, pithy piece. I have to try this piku, even though, like haiku, I suspect it takes lots of work to0 do well. I had to look it up; I thought a piku was a little rodent.

      1. pmwanken

        PO: Thank you…I do lean toward the short, pithy pieces in my writing. The weekly prompts at The Sunday Whirl (a list of 12 words to be used in a poem) force my hand to write more words. The shadorma and piku are two of my favorites.

        A hint regarding piku…make good use of your title as you can add a lot of syllables there! 🙂

  21. Beth Rodgers


    Relatively obscure
    He spends his time
    Obliviously anonymous.

    Fishing for independency
    He symbolizes strength
    And agility of character
    Despite his own insecurities.

    The systematic nature
    Of the automaticity he embodies
    Steers him away from
    Engaging interactions, thereby
    Furthering his autonomy.

  22. Cin5456

    Auto Trouble

    Attuned to the smallest change in performance,
    the mechanic leaned beneath the raised red hood.
    He tweaked a bolt here, tightened a belt there;
    he added oil, drained the radiator
    and filled it full again with coolant.
    He used a flashing light to time the chain,
    installed new wires and plugs. And then he checked
    the brake fluid, and tranny fluid, and then
    he checked the power steering fluid too.
    He handed me the keys. I paid the bill,
    and drove away, happy with my car.
    That engine hummed sweetly for a while,
    but two miles down the road I head a horrid
    Clank, then the tortured squeal of something dragging.
    Steam fogged up the windshield, and smoke burned
    my eyes. I pulled onto the shoulder while
    something clanged beneath the car, then finally
    broke off. The tranny shuddered, and it shook the frame,
    and then that powerful engine wheezed and died.
    I grabbed the fire extinguisher and opened
    the hood. No fire, just steam, and acrid smoke
    billowed in my face. I stared, dismayed.
    my classy ride was nothing now, a heap
    an eyesore, a tow. While calling Triple A
    I paced. Fifty feet behind the car
    I found it, deep in the weeds, twisted and scraped,
    my oil pan with a single broken bolt.

    1. PressOn

      Ouch. Reminds me of a friend who had to force-land his plane because a mechanic’s failure to tighten everything properly caused oil loss and seizure.

      1. Cin5456

        I had to adjust this to meter, but actually, my mechanic forgot to put the tranny fluid dip stick back back. It got in his way while working on something else. The tranny quit working during my thrice weekly 70 mile drive through the mountains to school in a larger city. I needed a 30 mile tow to a garage. The engine got so hot from lack of tranny fluid during frequent automatic gear shifts up and down the mountain roads that the radiator could not keep it cool, so I had frequent overheating issues for two weeks before we figured out the problem. On my way up a hill the tranny went into first gear and would not budge after that. Going 15 mph the for the next 40 miles did not appeal to me, so I pulled over on a mountain roadside. Once it stopped, it would not go again. At the transmission shop, they noticed the dip stick was gone. I had not looked under the hood since he worked on it, so it had to be that mechanic. I had to replace the transmission, but never got the mechanic to admit neglect or pay me a dime.

  23. PowerUnit

    They want to give me a new device
    One promised to make my life nice
    An artificial pancreas

    They have invested a lot of time and money
    To help me manage my toast and honey
    Sounds encouraging

    Have they calculated the work I do?
    All the hardship I have to go through?
    Cause and effect is a simple science

    It can mimic all my body’s reactions
    All my compliance and all my infractions
    It can even look into the future

    Im reminded of the man with the RV
    Who put it on cruise and went for a pee
    But who am I to question educated people

  24. Earl Parsons


    A fully-automatic rifle
    Is not a semi-automatic
    Yet some seem to think so
    Politically charged static

    My Jeep’s an automatic
    My V-Star has a clutch
    So it ain’t an automatic
    Thank you very much

    The automatic carwash
    Ten bucks for wash and wax
    Then vacuum out the sand
    Go home, sit down, relax

    Putting on the 14th green
    A gurgle caught my ear
    The automatic sprinklers raised
    Better get away from here

    I closed the door to start it
    The motor strained to spin
    My automatic dishwasher
    Would need my help again

    We react automatically
    Automatically we speak
    We live in an automatic world
    Without it, would we freak?

  25. happys

    ~Red Panther~

    Can’t forget the first auto I had
    Clothed with my favorite color red

    Car was new and off to church for blessing
    Safe journey to be prayed on christening

    A lovely name for her I have been thinking
    Bewildering wide range of choices in naming

    Prayers said with blessed water sprinkling
    Good priest looked at me and long been waiting

    Hard to think of a beautiful name for her
    Priest recommended she be named Red Panther

    Since then she has been my loyal road partner
    Making my travel life marvelously easier

  26. PressOn


    Folks who run on automatic
    aren’t emphatic;
    they share no joy
    nor can deploy

    warm wisdom laced with weal and wit.
    This, I submit
    is no surprise:
    phlegmatic guys

    oft cruise along, directionless,
    held by a mess
    of silted streams
    bereft of dreams.

  27. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Auto-Destruct Engaged

    they burnt all the old trees
    and cut down the new ones
    the caught all the big fish
    and poisoned all the small ones
    the ice caps dwindled
    and the seas rose up
    the coast lines disappeared
    but the rabid greed didn’t
    the oil prices soared
    the planes were grounded
    they talked and talked
    they never ever acted
    just a few good people
    against an untold mass
    much too little far too late
    panic stricken measures
    the stable doors bolted
    the suns heat reduces
    as the earth heats up
    time still remains to act
    to save this precious jewel
    but protocol demands
    that all parties must agree…
    auto-destruct engaged:
    enter simultaneous codes to deactivate…


  28. Andrew Kreider

    Don’t-Ask Babe

    I’d been sitting in the street with my hand up the
    left front wheel well of the van like some large
    animal veterinarian checking the cervix
    of a past-due rhinocerous.  Been there for at
    least half an hour, effing and blinding about
    why Chrysler can’t put the turn signal bulb
    in a place accessible to normal sized hands

    and I look up and there’s Don’t-Ask Babe
    coming down the sidewalk towing his entire
    forty-two-inch Craftsman rolling tool chest, 
    with twenty ball-bearing drawers, black.
    (Don’t-Ask Babe, you wonder?  His dad was
    a huge Yankee fan back in the old country,
    and it’s a bit of a touchy subject.  So… you know).

    I look up and he says, That’s a ’97 isn’t it?
    Think I got what you need somewhere in here,
    and he starts pulling open drawers like he’s 
    playing whack-a-mole with a socket set.  No, Babe,
    I’m good, I say.  He wheels around.  What?  
    You think just cause I’m some stupid Mexican
    I can’t fix your sh*tty van?  Then he flashes
    his trademark smile and hands me a wrench.

    Anyway, I’m from the Dominican.

  29. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Can you believe it? Rear-ended
    by a gypsy at some lights in the Village!
    Listen I don’t care where these guys come
    from. Ain’t but one of us, ‘cept Big Joe in
    the auto-shop, from here – we all came
    from somewhere else. All I’m saying is:
    get the license; pay your dues and your
    taxes like any other working stiff and I’ll
    say fine – ply yer cab! So speaking of the
    the auto- shop – that’s where my black &
    yellow is! Big Joe works magic but not on
    the same day! Like he said to me – he’s
    Lakota- Sioux not Superman (he whispered
    something about that being close enough
    for most folks). Anyway I’m busted for today
    so I’m kicking back, taking it easy… Let’s see
    if we can close the series with a win tonight.
    We left those Rays wriggling on the hook last
    night & I wanna see me some grilled fish steaks
    for dinner. Pick me up at 6 – bring yer bill fold.

    Yours unintentionally auto-free and easy,

    Ringo the Howler

  30. Rachel Blake


    rub stroke
    prod poke
    not likely
    stare into space
    don’t listen
    heart beat
    jump run
    not fight
    ( temporarily )
    these things

  31. burrhead

    Carl F.W. Borgward
    Must have understood
    His name on the automobile
    Was no good
    What do you drive?
    A Borgward
    A Borgward?
    Sounds like a benign growth
    To be removed

    That must be why
    He named the car I drive
    The Borgward Isabella

      1. burrhead

        I think they were homely and strange; unique. Mine had a back seat 4 inches higher than the front so the backseat riders could see where they were going. It had wing windows that rolled down, as well as a four-speed column stick shift. The floor pan was sealed top and bottom, so there was no access to the driveline. The most interesting feature was the cigar lighter, which had a large coil element (as big as the diameter of fat cigar) that faced out. To activate the lighter you pressed down on a little button on the outside radius of the lighter, when the element glowed red you pulled it straight out towards you. People were fascinated to see it operate but they tended to forget how it worked. Needless to say most of my high school buddies ended up with spiral brands seared on their thumbs from attempting to push the still hot lighter like the lighters in their ’58 Chevrolet’s.

        1. PressOn

          Thanks for that great little story. I have a couple of friends who own vintage cars; I’m going to share this with them. I only recall seeing the cars a couple of times; they WERE homely, but unforgettable.

  32. foodpoet

    Metro Blues Redux

    On auto pilot each day
    words may flow with metro vibes
    another round of musical seats
    doors closing the rush for seats
    the slowest standing at Vienna.

    A seat?! can write on Auto pilot…

  33. PressOn


    As I look at my congregation,
    I sense no sense of elation;
    perhaps I’ve induced sedation
    or else they’re on automation.

    A sermon’s supposed to enlighten;
    it certainly ought not to frighten;
    but to proffer a cause to see right in,
    there are phrases, perhaps, I should brighten.

  34. PKP


    I wake
    as a petulant child
    stirring with sand
    papered unease
    irritated toes hanging
    on the cusp of
    irritating others
    the sun too bright
    the birds annoying
    cackle grate
    words coalesce
    from the sharp shards
    falling gently together
    over tense shoulders
    I am embraced in
    the golden shimmer
    the warble and wiggle
    of a new day reconfigured
    by automatic grace
    gratefully savored
    as a sigh releases
    a smile and from
    whirling head to
    clenched toes
    words springing
    flow, tickle

      1. PKP

        Aw thanks my third grade straight-backed blue-haired elegant teacher-inspiration Mrs Doyle, who impressed me with her talk of “picture-words” would smile, as do I, at your comment. My college profs would cringe as they did back then at the foregoing sentence structure 🙂 Thankee …. Back later kitchen being gutted today waiting for the work to begin momentarily.

  35. PressOn

    (melody: “Singin’ in the Rain”)

    I’m drivin’ in the rain,
    just flyin’ in the rain
    what a glorious feelin’
    to hydroplane.

    I’m laughin’ at spray
    from tall rooster tails;
    I’m grinnin’ in glee
    as my old racer sails.

    Let the stormy clouds chase
    ev’ry one from the race;
    I’ll thrive in the rain
    till I fly into space.

    A dry track’s a bane
    and a driver is made
    by drivin’ and flyin’ in the rain.

      1. PressOn

        Thanks. A friend of mine races a vintage car; says he has little power but competes well in the rain because folks with power tend to slip and slide.


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