Dark Lady Poetry - Benjamin Neal




Benjamin Neal



Sweat and Steel


Early afternoon at a local garage down on the corner,
And all the boys are there;
I pull my old Chevy up to the door.
“Back it on in,” says Don, nonchalant.
The tools are assembled, the air tank fully charged,
But if you’re a car guy, then you know how it goes;
Everything is easier said than done.
Some broken bolt heads, a missing window motor,
The new door doesn’t latch quite right…
But for every problem, there is a solution – or a shortcut.
Now no handful of guys ever gathered around an automobile,
But that there was a beer in every other hand,
And a stack of empty cans growing steadily taller.
The talk is all testosterone,
All masturbation and American muscle.
The spectators are shouting their encouragements
Between frequent trips to the john –
“Brace your foot right there, and give it hell!”
After much cussing and grunting, and a few busted knuckles,
The project nears completion;
The final screws are screwed in place.
The floor is swept, the tools put away,
Everyone lifts their drink in celebration of a job well done.
The topic of conversation quickly shifts from horsepower to pussy
As loose talk is further loosened by the steady flow of booze.
We pass the hours ‘til closing time
Telling stories and laughing at dirty jokes.
We shout and sing along as Elvis croons
“Polk Salad Annie.”
And later, when Dave decides its time to close up shop,
I glimpse them in my rearview mirror as I drive away,
And I smile.
Gray and greasy, in all their half-drunken glory,
Swaggering like sailors across the lot,
No men anywhere, anytime, were ever so honest –
And none were ever so full of shit.
They are like the earth itself, all crude and dirty,
All rough edges, raw and unpolished.
They are the remnants of a proud and ancient tribe,
A brotherhood forged of sweat and steel.
Beneath their banner, engineers and ex-cons,
Hippies and hillbillies, addicts and alcoholics,
Are bound together, denying no one
Who comes with wrench in hand and willingness to work.





Benjamin Neal is from Kansas City, MO, born and raised. He fell in love with literature and poetry in high school, and has been actively writing and reading his poems for about two years. His inspirations are diverse, ranging from life and relationships to works by other artists, to private reveries and revelations. He is a musician, a father, a brother, a son, and most of all, a human being; with all the beauty and madness that comes along with it.